Up early this morning to finish packing – our flight to Bogota leaves at 12:15pm. Somehow we managed to squeeze all our gear into our bags.
We had some time to say goodbye to everyone and exchange a few last minute emails – I have a list of people waiting for copies of some of the photos I’ve taken (I haven’t forgotten you all!).
Enrique drove us to the airport and then escorted us through check-in and to the security gate to make sure we got there in time. It seems Enrique knows everyone there – from the truck driver delivering the icecream (apparently he delivers to the hotel too), to the taxi drivers, the trolley guy who helped with our bags, and various other people inside the airport terminal.
On the flight to Cali we had 80kg of baggage (we are allowed 20kg each), on the return trip apparently we had 91kg of baggage! We don’t get an allowance for Andres on these domestic flights either, so the excess baggage fee was rather excessive.
Cali airport is fairly small, so it didn’t take long to find our gate – we arrived with plenty of time to spare, the plane hadn’t even arrived yet. Eventually it was time to board – we were waiting in the queue to board the plane when Andres decided he was hungry and started whinging and crying, rather inconvenient timing. As we got to our seats he decided he had waited long enough and started screaming – I quickly mixed up a bottle of formula and passed it to Leanne, it was like turning off a switch, he was instantly quiet and didn’t make much noise at all for the rest of the flight (much to the relief of the other passengers I’m sure!).
Andres seemed quite happy on the plane – didn’t complain at all and didn’t seem to have any problems with his ears. We did try and give him a dummy for takeoff and landing, but he’s never had one before and didn’t really seem that interested. This was just a short flight, and the long haul flights typically fly quite a bit higher, so it will be interesting to see whether he has any problems descending after the longer flights.
We arrived in Bogota and collected our bags, and met by our interpreter, Patricia who was waiting outside. She organised a large taxi for us and all our gear and we headed off to our hotel.
On the way to the hotel we stopped off at the ICBF offices to collect our adoption compliance certificate. This is the final step in the adoption process in Colombia and verifies that all the documents have been prepared correctly and gives us the final signoff from the adoption authority.
Our papers were ready, but we found two small mistakes on them. It may not have caused us any problems, but it was suggestd that we get them fixed just in case. Unfortunately, the person who needed to sign off on the updated document was not in the office at the time, and so we had to leave without collecting our compliance certificate. Patricia said she will check later today and if necessary, again in the morning to see if the documents are ready yet and then pick me up to go and collect them.
We continued on to the hotel – we are staying at the Hotel Halifax, which is similar to the Hotel Pension Stein in that it caters for adoptive families. This hotel is favoured by the scandinavian countries and apparently they haven’t had that many Australian families staying here – until last week when the other Australian family arrived on their way home from Cali! They had emailed us telling us about the hotel so we decided to stay there too. All meals are provided, which is useful given that we didn’t want to be wandering around trying to find a restaurant at night with a tired and cranky baby.
After settling in to our room, we went for a walk around to a supermarket just around the corner to get some supplies. The weather here in Bogota is much cooler than Cali – typically around 18 degrees maximum with high humidity making it feel a bit warmer. When we stopped in Bogota on our way to Cali, it was warm enough for me to just wear a tshirt with long pants, and it didn’t seem to cool down that much overnight. However, it has cooled down somewhat this time and gets quite chilly overnight – it has also been raining a lot more.
When we got back to the hotel, we put some washing on – there is a washing machine available for guest use (for a small charge), we just had to supply our own washing powder. They have quite a bit of undercover hanging space which is nice – we didn’t have to worry about the rain.
After dinner we got ourselves a bit more organised and then headed to the guest kitchen to try and work out how to sterilise our bottles. The kitchen staff at the Hotel Pension Stein in Cali did all this for us, which was very helpful when we were first coming to terms with looking after an infant. We would put all our bottles and gear in a plastic basket they provided and leave it in the kitchen at the beginning of dinner and the kitchen staff would sterilise it for us in a big pot of water they kept boiling for this purpose and then leave it for us to collect, usually by the time we’d finished eating.
One of the kitchen staff at the Halifax showed us where to find dishwashing detergent for cleaning things, and a large pot and tongs for boiling the water for sterilising. It took a while (mostly waiting for the water to boil), but we worked out what we were doing in the end and got it done. Back home we have a sterilising machine which was given to us as a gift – that should make it much easier to manage.
The internet went down not long after dinner and didn’t come back online, so we headed to bed early, exhausted by the long day.
It was actually our 15th wedding anniversary today, but we really didn’t get a chance to celebrate – we’re staying in a nice hotel next week in Cartagena to make up for it.