Rule Number One

The list of items to bring Eric in the ICU included sheets, soap and toilet paper.  This freaked me out more than the phone call letting me know he was in a Colombian hospital.   In my Amero-centric view of healthcare — one that emphasizes sterility above all else and technology as cure-all —  these items…

Interviews with Nuns, and Other Harrowing Tales

Everything in Colombia is difficult.  That sounds melodramatic, and I recognize that the degree of difficulty would be much greater in, say, a remote African village, or an Asian country where I can’t sound out street signs, or anywhere in the Middle East, but there, I’d have lower expectations.  Here, everything seems straightforward and simple.…

No Dar Papaya, and The Truth about Juan Valdez

When I was in Russia, my favorite folk saying was, “Don’t hang noodles from my ears.”  It took the place of, “Don’t pull my leg” but provided more picturesque imagery of an obsequious bureaucrat carefully hanging strands of pasta from his boss’ ears, or what 50 years of Communism probably felt like.  In Italy, they say…