August 6, 2010

Chicken Shock

So today, AMP and I experienced a touch of culture shock. You would think
at this point in this summer, when we are in our sixth foreign country
between the two of us, that we would fine. That is not to sound conceited,
and this is not to complain. But today we got our butts kicked by Foreign
Country. It isn't Colombia, which is extremely more developed than Ethiopia
was. It is just Foreign.

We have been dealing with a money issue for several days-apparently here you must have only a four digit PIN for the ATM. Of course we have "extremely strong", much longer pins, so the ATM was out as a means of getting cash. Our translator sweetly took us took Bancolombia, and an hour later, we had cash. And two hours later Bank of America had declared our card stolen and turned it off - and we could only turn it back on a Bank of America branch. The nice lady on the phone couldn't seem to understand why we couldn't get to one in the next few days. Just as a note, we had called and let them know we were leaving the country for Colombia. So access to money, which I have never had trouble with outside the US (not even when my wallet was stolen in China) has been extremely complicated. We have also had issues with food - and not how the food tastes, or what is available, because the food is awesome (barbecue meat and rice - hello perfect diet!) and is plentifully available. It is not, however, very cheap. We have been alternating between the hotel food, and the mall food court, and for example, our meal at McDonalds two days ago was $50 US! A little confusing.

With that background, we get to today. AMP went to the supermarket, and the food court to get lunch while I watched the kiddos. The youngest two were sleeping peacefully, and Chicken Little and I were doing hair (her hair of course) and that process can be slightly nervewracking for both of us. Then her favorite DVD, Peter Pan, got stuck and apparently
is quite scratched. I start feeling a strange tickling in the back of my throat, and then a dull headache. hmmm. Then AMP appears banging on the door, with several bags of food and supplies tennis shoes on? His new flip flops that we bought last weekend at Marshall's (not a good advertisement for my company's quality) had broken mid-walk to the mall. There was laughing in the streets apparently at the Gringo with Broken Shoe. Unfortunately in the mall, there were no size 11 shoes. So AMP walked home with the diapers, yogurt and our $52 US lunch (3 hotdogs, 2 hamburgers, and french fries) with his feet crammed into untied, brand new size 9.5 Puma sneakers. He is obviously a happy camper at this point. Anyone one at home a size 9.5? They are all yours when we get home! Just FYI, he couldn't fit into them with socks on, so wear at your own risk!

So there we are, both in fabulous moods, when the wonderful guide an
d the translator's granddaughter arrive to take us to the park. One cab with two of my children sitting on my lap later, we arrive at an amusement park/recreation park, where two people are making out intensely, (thank god Kidist didn't notice). The kids loved the amusement park (Pollo did look slightly scared a few times), but AMP and I spent the afternoon riding minature trains and carousels, and then came the ball pit. I have issues with ball pits in America. I know it's odd, but they seem dirty and the last time we were in one, there was a GIGANTIC spider in it, and the time before that, Chicken Little peed in it (Sorry to anyone who has been to Fantasyland) . So here I am, in the sun, in Colombia, in a GIGANTIC ball pit, and I am wondering, what else is in this rather slimy ball pit besides my children. Then I see a mosquito bite on Pollo's face and another little devil headed for Chicken Nugget and visions of Yellow fever and malaria begin to dance in brain. Remember please, that I may have a fever, and it is possibly 110 degrees in the shade. We decide to end our time at the amusement park and get some pizza before heading home.

Pizza is fine and Chicken Little proceeds to entertain us with some dancing to 70's music videos that they were playing in the pizza parlor (there were no lights in this restaurant, and Chicken Little was trying to catch the bugs crawling on the window in an empty water bottle. We all pile back in a cab after one cab rejects us - there are four adults and three children for one cab, so I could maybe understand why. We arrive at the hotel and head upstairs to calm down and cool down. I am headed to the mini-bar for water, when fabulous little Pollo says, "Mamma mira!" He is pointing at our pet lizard, which we haven't seen since our first moments in the room, three days ago, but who is still apparently with us. Joy.

So we are being complainers today, but it would be much easier to do this in your own home. Two incidents, however, compensated for the whole day. In the pool this morning, where we all had a truly fabulous time, Pollo jumped off the side into the water and when I went to give him a high five, he also puckered up and wanted to give me a kiss! Momma melted. Second, at one other point in the pool, while AMP was holding him and playing with him - Pollo stopped, stared at AMP and said "mi Papi." Papi melted. We have the three best kids, no matter where we are!


Jo said...

I really miss you and can't wait to read more Chicken family adventures ; )
PS - if you need me to wire you some $$, let me know!!! XOXO

Ultimate Chicken said...

Thanks Jo - I think we have figured it out now :)!

Christina M. said...

so, are you keeping the lizard, lol! Love you guys!!!

Enghee said...

wow, that sounds like a real adventure! eating out can be expensive there, did I leave that part out? it's a shame, it's really a luxury you could say! when we travel, we remind ourselves of this little quote we learned in 'cross cultural communications' class: "it's not right, it's not wrong, it's just different", that works most of the time, but, sometimes, IT really is just wrong! but, everytime it makes for a great story! Absolutely HILARIOUS! I love it!

Ultimate Chicken said...

Christina, we are figuring out how to smuggle him with us - do you want one?
Enghee, we would give our left and right arm to have you with us! Want to make a quick trip down?

Anonymous said...


Ultimate Chicken said...

Amaine - the ball pit totally made me think of you!!! the whole time!!