(I'm currently on sabbatical.)
The core purpose of the Legal Lens is to change society by informing the people of the truth by reporting on relevant news and commentary. The Legal Lens strives to present ethical and high quality journalism and information for you - through a lawyer's perspective. At times, the Legal Lens will also have food and travel commentary, which hopefully brings my joy in the experience to you.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Another Week on a Colombian Island in the Sun
Me: Super tanned
Sorry for not updating in awhile. I’ve been gone to a Colombian island in the sun in the Caribbean again. Same one I went to with Tobi and Alex. As you remember, I had no internet access last time. Even though I have some internet access now, it’s still really limited, and I have to go into town to update my blog, which I’m doing now. Because I can only update infrequently, I have to combine my updates, which would usually be separate articles. Enjoy. Day
Colombian Island in the Sun in the Caribbean Photo shot by Tobi Hoffman
arrive at night into the island, because I wanted to enjoy the food
in Cartagena before I left. I ate
the most wonderful risotto and
drank two beautiful glasses of red wine, at the same place where I
had my favorite blackened chicken. I didn’t like one of the guests
at the hostel I was staying at.
think she was doing cocaine. She was some European girl, maybe 26,
who tried to look like a hippie, but I’m sure had rich parents. She
braided her hair in dreadlocks. She had tats everywhere and always
smelled of cigarette and marijuana smoke. She would go in and out of
the room, while I was trying to sleep.
counted once. She went in and out of the room five times in one hour.
I was pretty sure she was high on cocaine – like a good number of
people in this city.
I arrived to the island, I was stopped by two police officers. One
was Hispanic and the other one was black. I got into argument with
them. They asked to search my stuff. I had no choice.
said, “You have no reason to search me.”
Hispanic cop said, “Identification.” He could see I was American.
Then he said, “In Colombian, we can search you anytime.”
you can’t. You have a Constitution. [I know; I checked, remember
the raid at my last hostel?] You need a reason to search me.” (A
reason to search someone is called probable cause, and I was actually
good at probable cause analysis, and as a law student with the NLG, I
won a number of cases for my clients to get back their property –
arguing the cops had no right to search.)
said, “We can search you, because it’s night time. And at night,
seriously thought to myself, This
guy isn't that bright.
continued searching my stuff and getting more aggressive. I was
getting annoyed. I remember that the hostel owner told me once that
Colombian cops aren’t that educated, and they only pretend to know
what they’re talking about.
after he searched me, I told him I wanted their names. They both
hesitated to give it to me. I told them I was going to write a
complaint against them for searching me. The black cop looked
Hispanic cop said, “It’s night time. We can search you at night.
said, “It’s not illegal to come to the beach at night. Can you
tell me which law makes it illegal?”
said nothing. Then I said, “You just stopped me because you wanted
money from me.”
can’t really tell you what emboldened me to talk back, but I think
I had enough of these Colombian cops, which have to be the greediest
cops I’ve met in South America so far. And I’ve been to Chile,
Ecuador, the Galapagos, and Peru. I was stopped at the airport, and a
woman cop asked me how much money I was carrying. She searched my
stuff – convinced I had tons of cash on me, which is typical of
Chinese nationals, because of the heavily regulations regarding cash
flow. (But I’m American: Hello.) I’m convinced that’s why they
raided my last hostel; the cops wanted a bribe. And now, this again.
me,” he said. He pushed a finger against my chest and said, “You
have to show respect.”
backed off, not expecting that.
really wasn’t used to someone talking back to him, firmly. I was
very mindful to be respectful, and to bite my tongue often, because I
wanted to call him an “Idiot” a number of times. He also had a
pistol, and it was very visible. This was the kind of cop who engaged
in police brutality (also known as excessive force) because he had
some kind of self-esteem issue.
I added, “And you were respectful to me?”
got their names and walked away. The Hispanic cop turned back and
could stop you, because it’s night time and it’s dangerous.”
I thought, This guy doesn't know anything.
I ignored him and kept walking to my hospedaje.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh – but what am I supposed to
think about this bully – who only stopped me in hopes of finding
drugs, like marijuana, in further hopes that he could extort a bribe
out of me? How are you supposed to feel about people who abuse their
authority like this? I know the Scripture says to be respectful to
these authorities, even when they’re behaving abusively. I just
find it hard. (But in this case, I was respectful and showed
least this incident, reminded me why I keep going against those in
Baldwin Park; God save us that our country, state, and city doesn’t
turn into a police state like Colombia.
yes, I will be writing a letter of complaint. I often advise people
to do so, even though a remedy isn’t likely. It’s so at least
there’s a record for the future.)
the hospedaje – I met my hosts. We were happy to see each other. I
told them my encounter with the cop, and they assured me it wasn’t
illegal to enter the island at night. They suspected he was only
after money too.
sure. I slept well that night.
wake up in the mornings and swim in the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
After my morning swim and breakfast – I read. Anyways, since I’m
by myself, with not much to do, I read. That’s one reason I came to
the island. I felt like I needed to get more reading done.
I tell my friends I’m reading, they’re always haunted by the fact
that they should do it too. I point this out only to show that it’s
a discipline, just as it is to go to the gym or go running daily. I
intentionally set aside some time and told myself I’m not leaving
the island until I finish this novel or decide the novel I’m
reading isn’t worth finishing.
the early afternoon, I read a book on nutrition. I find it
have to read it slowly, because he has a lot of insights that make me
pause and think and digest. During these breaks, I text a number of
my friends. They write back. They must know that I have time on my
the later afternoon, I find out that my hosts have left me. I’m
left alone with one of their fathers. They went to Cartagena. The
father is old and doesn’t seem on top of it as the hosts, though
he’s a nice man.
I go back to my room and read a Latin American novel called Savage
It follows Robert Belano’s passion to start a literary movement in
Mexico City. It’s rather vulgar and deeply Mexican (even though the
author is Chilean). I think it’s the Mexicanness that keeps me
reading; oddly enough, it makes me miss Baldwin Park, the people, and
certainly not our elected officials, like Lozano - who doesn’t even
live in the city. I’m glad it’s easy reading, because it’s over
a story behind getting this book. I only got the book, because I was
with my friends on one of my worst birthdays in Santa Monica. One of
the friends was a bibliophile, and I said we should go to the used
bookstore. Of course, him and his wife purchased a number of books. I
refused to buy anymore books. I said that I had too many books to
finish (which is the truth). I also already selected the books I was
bringing with me to Peru.
I got suckered into buying a book, and I asked the clerk what book I
should buy. He looked like the bookish type – except I wasn’t too
impressed that all he wanted to do was get published. (I told him
working at a bookstore probably wouldn’t land him that gig.) But he
and when I saw it was a Latin American story – I thought I could
make room in my luggage for this one. It’s not the kind of book
that I couldn’t put down (though for some it would be), but I enjoy
it the more I read it. I keep thinking of a friend, every time I read
scenes; I’m sure he’ll enjoy it more than me.
reading, I run on the beach for about an hour. It’s at sunset. I
like the red sky in the background. I like running on the wet sand,
and I like when the waves crash against my ankles and sometimes my
running back, I meet one of the former guests of the hippie hostel I
stayed at in Cartagena. He’s name is Herman, and he’s from
Argentina. He’s really tall and has vitiligo (a skin disease) on
his ankle. He’s happy to see me and gives me a warm hug and smiles
liked Herman, because he was one of the first guests to introduce
himself to me at the hippie hostel. I could tell he wanted to learn
English from me. He doesn’t know I know his story – but I heard
he was asked to leave Cartagena, because he owed some people some
money, and they were looking for him. Also, he was having sex with
several girls – who were partnered to friends and guys he was
working with. When they found out, they wanted to pommel him. So, he
ran away to the island. Again, he doesn’t know I know any of this.
just told him I got into argument with the manager of the hippie
told him: “Because she wouldn’t call me by my name and instead
kept calling me Chinito
like I was a dog. I told her to stop, and when she didn’t, I called
her a racist in front of everyone. That made her stop.”
he said. “I know she has problems.”
me about it.”
truth – I don’t think Erika was a racist, and I called her that
to make a point. I think she just had issues respecting men (yes,
more than women). She had problems in the past, apparently with men.
(I found that out too.)
I told him I got into an argument with someone else and Herman said,
I told the guy not to go to Venezuela, because he’s a father, and
he was putting himself at risk. It’s a stupid idea, because he’s
bored. And he’s not thinking about his children. Of course, he
didn’t want to hear it.”
some more small talk, I said good bye to Herman and ran back to my
hospedaje. Running back, I wondered if I was a disagreeable person
because of my training in law school, or whether being disagreeable
enticed me to go to law school. (Nevertheless, it’s my view that
we’re approaching a time, in which we’ll need more prophets to
speak truth to power – not less.)
night, I would watch the Fox television series – Gotham.
It was entertaining enough to watch, even with its terrible script. I
finished it, but I decided not to watch the next season.
officially boycotting Gotham,
because of its negative stereotypical portrayal of minorities. For
portrays blacks as dumb. Fox, a black technician for Wayne
Enterprises, is corrected by a 15 year old Wayne a number of times.
Why can’t Wayne ever be wrong?
there’s the Chinese Hugo Strange – which makes Asian people look
like calculating, emotionless, heartless, achievement oriented cruel
sadists. And he has a black assistant, Ms. Peabody – who comes off
as dumb and angry woman, ready to get back at the world. Even when
she suggests that the solution to defusing the bomb is water – the
director suggests she’s dumb, only cares that she’s thirsty –
and it’s the white James Gordon who is the brilliant, all-American
hero, for correctly interpreting her request. Theo Galavan’s
sister, who is also African American, is portrayed to be a sexual
in contrast, the Irish Harvey, the English Alfred, and the
all-American James Gordon are brilliant and awesome heroes.
what about Latinos? The new Latino rookies end up getting killed,
because they’re not capable enough. But the show’s message is
clear – this is what happens to affirmative action hires.
(Remember, the Latino cop gets killed by the white villain, because
he’s only interested in watching television. He was dumb, not
ready, and fell for Nygma’s trap. Maybe he would have been ok, if
he was training harder, as Bruce does in boxing?) And the Latina girl
– Firefly – loses her mind and becomes a psycho villain, which is
predictable because she was raised in gangsta family anyways.
it makes me wonder if portraying more minorities on television is a
good thing when they’re casting only perpetuates and reinforces
negative stereotypes. In any event, I think the creator of Gotham
some mindless entertainment, I sleep well.
feel at peace. It’s a carefree life just to read, swim, run on the
beach, and eat and drink.
one night, I have a strange nightmare that a demon was trying to kill
me. It was in the form of a giant tarantula that was larger than me.
We were face to face. I could see my reflection in all 8 of its shiny
red eyes, which looked like ruby orbs. In the dream, by some strange
reason, the tarantula couldn’t kill me, but it moved its fangs
several times at me, while staring at me.
a strange nightmare.
host comes back. They bring a boy back with them. He’s about 5
years old. They went to Cartagena to get the kid, who was living with
his grandparents at the time.
time I was here, the guy host told me he only had one kid. Now I
found out he has two. He said three at one point, but changed it to
two. That makes me wonder.
guy tells me other stuff – mainly sexual in nature. I raise my
eyebrows and wish I didn’t hear it. I make a joke about the whole
thing and tell him I need to sleep.
wake up in the middle of the night and diarrhea. I have food
poisoning and don’t feel so good. This is the second time I got
food poisoning at this place. It must have been the cheese again. I
forgot not to eat it!
don’t feel good at all. I have a slight fever and slight chills,
but it’s not devastating. I could move, but I feel weak. I go back
to sleep but wake up to diarrhea again.
feel weak. It feels like I have to use a lot of strength just to get
up and use the restroom. I can walk at least. I think I’m sweating
a lot, because the flies are landing on me often. Or maybe they can
just sense I’m not in full health? Maybe they’re attracted to the
bacterium that’s inside of me, the same kind that’s probably on
observed that food poisoning is common on the island with us
Westerners. My host said five people (four Europeans and one
American) were at the local hospital because of food poisoning,
recently. At the hippie hostel, another guy got sick from food
poisoning too. There’s no electricity here, which also means no
I just read my nutrition book. I finish it. It makes me conclude that
one of the underlying causes of all modern chronic disease, with the
exception of HIV, is hormonal imbalance or hormonal dysfunction.
research what kind of bacteria I have with my limited internet
capabilities. I’m pretty sure I narrowed it down to the right one.
It’s useful to know, because it’s salt resistant. The cook often
washes his hands with saltwater but not soap. Also, certain
ethnicities tend to be unaffected carriers of such bacteria – which
explains why the locals don’t get sick from it. Typhoid Mary is a
good example of unaffected carrier. Finally, it also likes to grow on
cheese. It all fits together. The research passed the time.
reading my book on nutrition, I get news that Baldwin Park’s
Council Member Ricardo Pacheco is on the news for silencing people at
the Council Meeting. It upsets me, because he’s one of the biggest
violators of our Free Speech Rights. (We already sued him once about
his retaliation and bullying of citizens who protest him. He tried to
destroy their credit by sending their fines to the collection agency.
But we stopped Pacheco and won. And yet, he persists to shut people
up.) It’s good the Tribune wrote up the article.
at his new pictures, I noticed he’s gotten laser eye surgery and
some new suits. Must be all the new marijuana money he’s received.
He’s so corrupt and greedy. I seriously doubt he was elected
legitimately. I wonder why nobody looks into the real origins of our
Baldwin Park officials. They all seem to come from the Tex-Mex
have to go to the toilet probably four more times that day. I just
hosts feel bad for me. I ask for coconut water. I eat some potatoes
but not much. I drink a bottle of water. I drink a beer. (Beer
probably isn’t ideal, but I don’t want any more water.)
sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. I’m
able to go back to sleep.
I wake up, I figured out what I should have done to get over the food
poisoning faster. But, now, I’m already feeling better, and it’s
not worth the extra effort.
have another strange dream. I’m trying to drive a huge truck I
can’t control. I can’t even park it. What a strange dream.
next morning, my host brings me some coconut electrolytes. That’s
kind of him. The hosts really are taking care of me, but I’m almost
midday, I’m fine. I look in the mirror though, and I’ve grown a
lot of facial hair fast. I don’t like how it looks. I have to shave
have a chat with my brother over text. He updates me about what he
wants to tell me about – and not more.
I call Mom. She tells me my cat Jeh Pan is fine. She says he’s
getting heavy and big. I want to see him, but it’ll have to wait.
She says she’s been filling up my aquarium with rainwater she’s
collected from the Los Angeles storms.
also tells me about some horrific news story. Some children were
chained up and starved by two obese parents for 29 years. I told her
I’d look it up, later. She said, “How could this happen in
America?” (Remember, she’s an immigrant – who was led to
believe this kind of stuff doesn’t happen in great America.)
eat my first full dinner in two days. It’s good. I hold it down. No
more problems. Knock on wood.
have my first uninterrupted sleep in awhile. I go for a swim in the
turquoise sea again. After, I eat some fried eggs and drink some
ask for a cup of freshwater. I shave, using the window for my
reflection, because there’s no mirror. It works. I’m happy after
shaving. I look a lot better.