September 2007    Pat and I flew home to California for my father's 80th birthday and to visit Armand at Humboldt State University.  It was a great family get together.  We visited with our longtime friends, Claudia and Wes, in Capitola for a memorable dinner.  Afterwards, Pat and I drove up to Arcata in northern California to visit Armand.  Armand is in his senior year at Humboldt in the international studies program.  We have not seen him since he visited us in Roatan in January.  He spent this summer in Parras, Mexico where lived with a local Mexican family and studied at the university.  He also traveled to France to visit family.  It was a great to see him and his girlfriend, Jamila.  Armand showed us the greenhouse and a new building at the university, the local park, and we enjoyed several delicious restaurants.  We hope to see each other again soon.  On our travel back to the Bay Area, Pat and I drove through the scenic Avenue of the Giants....the redwood trees were breathtaking.  Along the way, we stopped to pick some delicious blackberries.  We stayed at the beautiful Gaige House Inn in Glen Ellen in Sonoma, where we enjoyed wine tasting and delicious food.

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Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County

We're now back in Cartagena.  The boat has been hauled again; to repair the bottom paint job.  The straps damaged the paint from the last haulout.  Hopefully, this will be the last time in the boatyard. 

We had a nice visit with our friends Shauna and David (S/V Zia Luccia), who flew in from Ft. Lauderdale.  It was nice to catch up with them! It has been more than a year since we departed from Ft. Lauderdale.  

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Shauna and David

Carlos continues to work for us; he has started varnishing the woodwork in the boat's interior.  His work is excellent.  Carlos celebrated his 21st birthday  on October 7, and we were invited to his fiesta.  His friend Adrianna also celebrated her birthday the same day. We met his family and friends, and we enjoined watching the salsa dancing, which was amazing.  Despite the lessons we were given, we didn't have quite the movements they had.  But it sure was a lot of fun!

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Carlos salsa dancing

At the party we met Benjamin Jimenez, a local artist.  We commissioned him to paint our dog, Scruffy, who passed away last year.  We gave him a photo of Scruffy to use for the painting (see the section "About Us" in this site to see Scruffy's photo).   We were thrilled to see Benjamin's amazing artwork.  The portrait captured Scruffy's likeness and expression to perfection!  We have glanced at the portrait many times thinking it really was Scruffy sitting there, alive and well.   We visited Benjamin's home and studio and met his wife, Manuela, and son Benjamin, Jr., who is following his father's footsteps in becoming an artist.

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Scruffy, as painted by Benjamin

Today (Oct. 20) was our last day of Spanish lessons with our teacher, Amaury Martelo.  He's an excellent teacher, and we feel we have made a lot of progress in speaking the language.  Besides  grammar ("la tortura"), we have enjoyed learning about Colombian culture from Amaury.  We've enjoyed his company, and will definitely miss him and all the fun we've had during class. 

Well, our time has come to leave Cartagena.  We spent our last evening in Centro visiting our favorite places and taking a carriage ride through the town.  It was a beautiful evening. We are saddened to leave as it has been our home base for the past five and a half months.  We've thoroughly enjoyed exploring this beautiful city as well as other countries in South America.  More importantly, we will miss our Colombian friends, with whom we have become quite attached.  We hope our travels will bring us back to lovely Cartagena.

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