Colombia and Colombians: Introductory Comments

Colombians are New-World Americans. They live on the best part of the far north of South America.

Colombians are largely of Spanish heritage and they speak Spanish. When you intend to visit Colombia, it may contribute to your pleasure to be prepared to deal with them in their own language.

Have an oral translation app on your iPhone or a bilingual friend with you. You might take a Spanish class where you live or sign up for some classes here. All the biggest and more important tourist cities have language schools available. It is also possible ti make your first visit a guided tour.

If you are making realistic plans for a visit, investigate getting a correct chip for your mobile phone. It may be that your phone won't work here without a change of chips. There are smart phones available here, but you may find them expensive. However, you can, with some care, buy an ordinary mobile phone and have it set up nicely for you at a reasonable price.

In many parts of the major cities and tourist areas you can find pleasing places to eat and sleep and you will also may be able to find a Colombian able to speak in your language or in English.

Enough about you.

This is supposed to be the introduction to a series of tiny essays about Colombia and Colombians. But first a few words about me.

I am an old American citizen who has lived in Colombia among Colombians for some time. Some have said to me, "You have lived here for a long time. Why haven't you written more about Colombia?" and "Why don't you write about Colombia?" and like that. So, instead of thinking of an answer I thought, "Why not?" I can note some of my observations and maybe even something about what I make of a couple of them.

More to come.


by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill III




Colombia and Colombians: First comments

   Working from the Pocket Guide of Colombian hostels I find that the Casa Platypus is a good place to sleep in Bogota. Bogota is a great big city and the capital of Colombia. The Casa Platypus is a hostel. A hostel is a kind of hotel designed for foreign travelers. It is a place to get useful information and to have a good chance for finding someone who speaks a language you know. The personnel there are often welcoming persons fro far off lands. This has been the case the Platypus. Their colonial, or republican style building overlooks a plaza called Parque de las Periodistas.

    "Periodistas" can be translated as journalists. I find journalists to be an interesting breed which has not quite died out. "Died out" may not quite be the way to put it. World-wide, journalists seem to be killed before they can die a natural death. Assassinated may be the more honest word.

    Journalists are being assassinated world-wide for doing their best to be honest. They would like to tell us the truth about what they see going on around them. They used to find out about goings on, happenings, and doings far and wide, as well as close to home.

    Some journalists still try to inform us about that which is going on. They have long carried on their craft. However we have been killing them, jailing them, imprisoning them, and hiring fewer of them(as a percentage of our population) for decades. So now we have fewer of them. I remember being told, as a Boy Scout,  that honest was a good practice. Now, because of our lack of interest, it is becoming a death sentence. What are we to tell our youth and children?

    Rather than not getting the back-story, we now, too often, don't even get the story. What are we to tell ourselves?

    It seems that I have heard of a Parque de las Periodistas in other Colombian cities. I may try to learn more about them. Do you know anyone who cares?

    It seems this park in the Cadelaria section of Bogota has bee dedicated to a good, honest, and careful journalist who you may know as a famous modern novelist. That novelist is Gasbriel Garcia Marquez. He is an admierer of those who pracice journalism abd has backed-up his admiration with solid support.

    One cannot even go to be in Colombia without learning something interesting.



by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill III

Mago Bill

I post a lot about Mago Bill. The following may help you to know why.

Mago Bill is a nickname I have given my paternal great grandfather. I have used the name Mago Bill for recent Blogs and in not so recent posts. I have done that because I believe that it inspires me to present you with more unusual and interesting backstories and histories in a variety of posts.

My sister, the genealogist of our family, introduced me to the existence of documentation of the life of M.William Sheehan. His existence had been unknown to us. We had not known his name or that he had been our paternal great grandfather. As I remember, my sister showed me that, he had been in the far south of Ireland and that he had immigrated to America when very young. We soon discovered that the initial, "M." In his name probably stood for Mago, a name not popular in the U.S. To me he promptly became Mago Bill, my inspiration.

Spanish speaking friends tell me that mago means magician in Spanish. Some of those friends tell me that "the three kings" or "the three wise men" who brought gifts to the infant Jesus were called magos. However, I have read that Mago was an important family name among the Carthaginian Phoenicians before Rome came of age and that later some of that family knew Hannibal.

Carthaginian traders and navigators came to Ireland to trade for tin and other precious metals. The brought so much knowledge of of the name Mago with them that it impress some of the people there. Seems inspiring to me. I tend to romanticize a bit.

About me. I am an old U.S. citizen living in Colombia.

You may expect future posts here to be short "essays" to deal with: citizenship, the USA, Ireland, Colombia, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Spain, Mago Bill and a lot more that I like to call culture