The Good and the Bad (with photos!)

The famed streets of Barichara

The famed streets of Barichara

We woke up when we were ready today, at about 7:30 am, ready to explore Baricara (more photos below). This after a dinner-for-two last night at a super romantic restaurant. “I could get used to vacations with a nanny” I thought when I woke up.

This feeling didn’t last long though. Less than an hour into our sightseeing tour of Barichara, I asked our nanny if she purchased her return tickets back as we had agreed. She casually replied that she got return tickets going back on Monday afternoon. We are not going back until Tuesday afternoon so originally she was going to travel back the same time we did. Knowing that she usually prefers night buses because they “aren’t so boring”, I had offered that if she wanted to, she could go back Monday night. We could certainly survive without her for half a day and this would give her all of Tuesday to rest after the night bus before coming back to work on Wednesday. This was what we agreed on and now she went ahead and purchased tickets for Monday afternoon. I was not happy! This would mean that one of our three days in Barichara would be shot to hell. We had planned to go to a waterfall that day which is about an hour away and spend the day there. Now we would need to be back by noon for her to make her bus. This wasn’t the deal!

I felt taken advantage of! We paid a lot of money to bring her up here (both with the bus tickets, the bigger house we rented to accommodate everybody and all of the meals out) and we gave her a few extra days off to enjoy the area on her own with her daughter and now she was leaving early without even asking if that was OK. No way! And of course I was mad that I even had to deal with this on my vacation. Another few hours wasted.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I talked to her and told her that she needed to change the tickets or pay for new ones herself, if she couldn’t change them. This might seem harsh but Esteban and I both felt that some boundaries and consequences needed to be set. She really had no excuse for her behavior other than that she now preferred to travel in the afternoon, rather than evening, so I told her that she was free to travel Tuesday afternoon at the same time as us. She agreed to call and change the ticket.

Meanwhile, while all this was going, Esteban hit his head hard against a sloping roof and had a headache the rest of the day. He decided to stay home and rest in the afternoon and I took Jade and our nanny’s ten year old daughter white water rafting. These are class 4 rapids but I was assured by the travel agent that we would skip the class 3 and 4 part and get on at a part of the river that was more suitable for children.

Well… things didn’t quite work out that way (thank God!). We were taken by bus to the river, where we saw our guide smoking and pumping up our boat with a hand pump. I took a look at our fellow passengers: a man in his forties, his elderly mother and his two daughters under ten. And these were definitely class 3/4 rapids! Basically, the man and I were the only adults on this raft who could row. I asked the guide is he was sure this was safe and he looked over at our sorry crew, took a big buff of his cigarette and replied, “Si, Senora. No problem. I think you can do it. You can be one of the captains.” I was really scared now!

We received the standard safety talk about what to do if you fall out of the boat and how to go over a fall without a boat should you happen to fall out. Jade and our nanny’s daughter were getting scared. They didn’t want to paddle; they wanted to sit safely in the middle of the raft. With our crew though, this would be impossible. We needed every bit of girl power.

There was another boat there ready to raft with about eight able-bodied adults and I tried to see if any of them wanted to come into our boat. They came as a group though and wanted to stick together. Meanwhile, they had a four year old with them! The four year old was terrified, crying and screaming that she didn’t want to go, and her mom looked a bit pale as well. I couldn’t believe that somebody would take a four year old on this trip! I couldn’t believe that the company would allow a four year old on this trip! But we are in Colombia and I don’t think liability litigation is too common here. The four year old was brought along, despite her piercing screams as we boarded our rafts. This was not very comforting and the girls looked freaked out.

All our worry turned out to be for naught because this was an amazing ride and nobody got hurt! The rapids were serious and it was so much fun! As a co-captain, I got to ride upfront and face the waves head on. Many times, I thought I would wind up in the water but somehow managed to hold on. The girls had a fantastic time too! They were terrified at first but quickly eased in to the thrill of the ride. I could see jade’s confidence increasing with every swell we conquered.

It was truly a magical adventure! The river was gorgeous with jungly river banks and mountains in the background. There were birds all around. Jade was asking the guide all sorts of questions about the local flora and fauna. I just truly felt so happy and so grateful for this entire experience – for being in Colombia, for being able to travel, and, most of all, for sharing this with my family.

Here are some more photos of Barichara. I couldn’t take a camera on the rafting trip for obvious reasons.

This entry was posted in Colombia, Life in Colombia, parenting in Colombia, Santander, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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