It’s amazing how a nice, long walk can help clear out the cobwebs from a busy day. If you’re a stranger in a strange land, like I am now, it will also help you get to know the place where you are. I went for a long walk and found a nice park about ten minutes from the apartment where I am staying. Not only that, but there were plenty of people of all ages jogging, playing basketball, soccer, and doing exercise. I walked around it once, and measured it to be about a quarter mile. So I think I just found a spot to go for a slog (slow jog) or a long walk in the evenings.
Barranquilla is becoming less foreign to me now.
By the time you’re reading this, I will be meeting with the local and state health departments. (A state is a “department” here in Colombia.) Part of my work here will be to evaluate and give recommendations on the epidemiological surveillance systems in place to track communicable diseases. (Not all diseases. I’m not crazy. Just a chosen few.) So it will be a full day of meetings.
Yesterday was all about getting a program set-up for a lecture and lab that I will lead next week. It’s been a little hard to do because my Spanish is not exactly the best. Heck, my English is not exactly the best, yet English doesn’t have the rules and regulations that Spanish has. For example “inglés” with the accent on the E means “English.” On the other hand, “ingles” without an accent means “groins.” Yeah, I better make darn sure I put the emphases on the right syllables.
I don’t yet have a lot of pictures because I haven’t really gone out to take pictures. I’ve just been getting to know the neighborhood around the apartment and then running back into the comfort of 80-degree air conditioning. My plan is to go for a good jog tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday), perhaps catching the Colombia-Argentina game somewhere nearby. Then I’ll go for a long excursion of the city over the long weekend. (Monday is a holiday here.)
Finally, I secured a SIM card for an unlocked phone I have. It’s made all the difference because it allows me to stay connected no matter where I go in town. But you won’t see me “chimping” as I walk down the street. That thing is staying in my pocket until some really good photo opportunity comes up.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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