Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Trippin' (in Spanish)!

When I say trippin', I mean it in both contexts, psychologically, and an actual trip----a five-nation trip to Latin America. I'm leaving on Thanksgiving morning and will be returning to Oakland on Christmas day. I'm so excited that I've already started packing my bags, solidifying my Facebook and e-mail contacts, but most importantly, trying to keep my focus here at work and not trip so hard while I'm on the job. This, I admit, is very difficult.

Buy fresh-squeezed orange juice in the 
Pino SuarezDistrict of Mexico City

I'll be visiting Mexico, Panamá, Perú, Colombia, and Ecuador

My first stop is Mexico City, an 11-hour layover where I will go out on the town. Next stop is Perú where I will spend most of my time due to close contacts I've developed over the last five years. Then I will fly to Cartagena, Colombia and stay for five days to explore Afro-Colombian culture and visit the famous town of escaped slaves who were successful in doing what Nat Turner tried to do before being sold out by uncle toms. This town is called Palenque de San Basilio.

All of this to practice my Spanish and have fun doing it in nations where only Spanish is spoken.

From Cartagena, I will have a six-hour layover in Panamá City on my way to Quito, Ecuador. In Panamá City, I will visit the Afro-Antillian museum. Once in Quito for the second time in my life, I will spend two days hanging out with Gloria, an Afro-Ecuadorian I met through a Facebook friend. I will then have another 8-hour layover in Guayquil, Ecuador and hang out with more Facebook friends before rounding out my vacation in New York City, and head towards San Francisco/Oakland on Christmas day.

The best way to get good at any new language is to either sink or swim!

All of this to practice my Spanish and have fun doing it. The best way to get good at any new language is to either sink or swim! What better way to do this than to visit the country where only that language is spoken. This Spring 2011, I plan to take formal classes in Spanish at a local community college to further grounded in the Spanish languange. Geez, this should have been my major in college because I'm trippin'.


  1. Interesting post. Hope all of your trip goes well and look forward to hear about your experience in these respective nations.

    Just wanted to point out that Afro antillanos(Afro-Antilleans) are not the only Afrodescendants in the Republic of Panama.

    There are many more Afrodescendants in Panama that are AFRO COLONIALS. Afro Colonials are Spanish speaking black Hispanic/Latino Panamanians whose ancestry goes back to the Spanish and Colombian(Colombia) periods of Panama's history. These blacks came to Panama as slaves essentially and contributed to every aspect of Panamanian culture. That is where the African influence in Panama comes from first. Blacks from Colombia still (im)migrate to Panama and are part of the continual flow of Afro Colonial prescence, culture, and history. Antilleans and their descendants came much later but have gradually assimilated.

  2. Thanks, Mr. Martin. I would love to see all of them. It's just that I only have a six-hour layover. When you subtract the time of getting in and out through security, we are talking about two to four hours.

    Can you recommend other Afrocentric cultural sites? I might reconsider.


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