Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ear explosion!!!

Bogotá Day Five was only a half-day, but it was also a SUCCESS. Got up at 5.30AM, because I couldn't even open my eyes at 5 - all Ricardo's fault of course, for giving me coffee at 9PM. Read for ages before I was finally tired enough to go to sleep, oops. 

About 3,5hrs later Jhonnatan was up too, so we got to chat a little bit before I had to leave. I had booked a flight that left Bogotá at 10.25PM and arrived in Cartagena around midnight, but I didn't really want to get home that late, because I wouldn't be at the apartment until 1PM and then myself as well as Béa would have trouble getting up again in the morning, not something desirable. So I checked the other flights LAN had for the day and saw that there was one at 2.35PM and another one a bit after 7PM and both still had seats available. So I decided to go see if they could put me on the first flight instead of leave me on the last one. 

I had a few things to do in the city, so I took care of that and then took a taxi to the airport - I felt too lazy to go by TM, which had been the first plan. And I was lucky, because the taxi turned out to be a lot cheaper than I'd expected it to be and the driver was also really nice and made funny comments about the traffic the whole way out to El Dorado. 

When I got there I went straight to the LAN office and put on my sweetest smile and BAM! it worked. The lady at the desk put me on the waiting list for the earlier flight and told me to just go to the check-in counter at 1PM. So I walked over to El Corral and had me a nice burger. We do have El Corral in Cartagena, but I still associate the place with Bogotá so I went anyways. And then something happened. Something that hadn't happened in a long time (probably because that only happens in Bogotá (oh, that city...)): I got notes with consecutive serial numbers!! 

This is extra special, because I've never gotten five in a row before, only two, three or four.

After my little lunch I went to the LAN check-in and promptly got a seat. And then I had it changed, because it was a middle seat. Right, it's not enough to get on the flight I want, I also need to get my favourite seat: window. But the guy was nice about it and just laughed when I apologized for being so terribly ungrateful and demanding. He didn't have the possibility to get me a window right away, so he gave me the exito row (Éxito!) where I'd at least have tons of space. 

Before going to my gate, though, I just had to get another Oma coffee. Oma is my favourite coffee. Seriously, I love Oma coffee. Coffeecoffeecoffee!!!

Got the large one, because it'll be the last one for a while...

Now jump ahead to being on the plane. I said I'd gotten an exit row seat, right? 13C. That wasn't enough for me, though. When boarding was complete I switched instead to 12B. But wait, didn't I just say I didn't like middle seats? Well, this was no ordinary middle seat. Because it was one of two central rows that were next to the emergency exit, this one only had two seats on each side. There was no seat right by the window, which turned my B into an A. Hellsyeah. So I ended up having a crazy load of space all around me, two windows to look out of and I even got more coffee, because that's how LAN rolls. 

Enjoy aaaaaaall the space!!!

When we landed, my bag hadn't arrived. Apparently, they changed me to the earlier flight, but still left my luggage to come in with the later one. Oh no? No. I asked if it was possible that they'd bring it in the morning, even if it arrived at night (yes, they bring it home to you), but nobody ever called to confirm that they'd found the bag - not yesterday evening and not this morning. And then, just as I was about to call them to ask what had happened, the doorbell rang and my bag was here. Just like that! They didn't bother with a call and instead just brought the bag over right away, remembering that I'd said the morning was OK. Thank you, LAN, you're very nice, I like you. 

I left out a tiny little detail now, though, didn't I? Yes, the ear explosion... See, I do love the cool bogotano weather, I really do. And I enjoy it very much. But that doesn't mean that my body doesn't react to the sudden change in temperature and humidity. To make a long story short, I got sick. It was still OK in Bogotá, as I was simply too busy to let the flu do anything to me. I'd sometimes feel feverish, but that's ignorable. But the flight, or rather the pressure changes during the flight, made it impossible to ignore that something was going on. My ears weren't able to neutralize that pressure normally, because of the flu, and they closed up more and more with each minute. Pain ensued, naturally, until we landed and it became bearable again. But, unfortunately, they still haven't opened again completely. So I'm now half-deaf. But on the positive side, this post's title is a lie - they didn't explode! 

Also, it's totally fine to be sick for a little bit now. After five days of pure and undiluted awesome, there has to be a little negativity, otherwise we'd upset the fragile balance of the universe. And then who knows what kinds of horrible things would happen to all of us. I basically just saved all of mankind with my acceptance of this flu. You can thank me later. 

Now off to take more flu pills and not listen to music. Because I can't. 

Good night! 

Cartagena and Cali in Bogotá

Sunday was going to be a quiet day. Of course, obviously, naturally,... it just had to end up like all the others - crazy. 

It started out calm enough, with lunch in a shopping centre with Álvaro. Yup, that's the Álvaro from Cartagena. He happened to be in the city for a big conference, which was held around the same dates that I myself had traveled there for. What a nice little coincidence. 

We met at the Centro Comercial Andino at 1PM and walked over to the Centro Comercial Atlantis to have lunch there, because they have a good food court. Aren't all food courts in shopping centres the same? No, apparently not. The big difference here was that Álvaro knew they had KFC at Atlantis and that's what he wanted. I got myself some meat from La Ponderosa, because we were both on the prowl for things we wouldn't be able to get in Cartagena. 

The pager confirms it, no Ponderosa in Cartagena.

It was pretty good. And no, of course I didn't finish that...

After lunch I was supposed to meet Leo, not this one - this one. But when I called him to confirm hour and place, he told me that he and his girlfriend were just getting ready for lunch themselves and that he'd call me back after so we could meet a little later. No problem, though. That only gave me more time to spend with Álvaro and we made very good use of it - having coffee at Oma. No Oma in Cartagena! 

"café moka con crema"

Atlantis, much like Cartagena, only had Juan Valdez so we went back to Andino to have our coffee. Or rather, me to have my coffee and Álvaro to have his vanilla malteada. After that little treat, it was time for both of us to leave. Álvaro had to get his suitcase and head to the airport to fly home, and I was finally ready to take the TM from Héroes to CAD to meet Leo. Well, he was finally ready, I'd been ready for aaages. To get to the bus, we took a shortcut through the Centro Comercial El Retiro. Yes, there are three shopping centres within a block of each other. And all of them surrounded by more stores and bars and cafés in the street. What's the point of that? Don't ask me, I don't understand it either. 

Now, on to the next encounter. 

Just like Andrés, I hadn't seen Leo since 2008. He was my CS host in Cali back then and he's one of the funniest people I've met, like, ever. 

We went to SOFA - Fair for Leisure and Fantasy together with his girlfriend and his brother and his brother's girlfriend. That was ... that was ... interesting. Pretty much what I imagine ComicCon to be like. It was held at Corferias, that's the thing with the huge arch at the entrance. If you find yourself wondering through Bogotá looking for Corferias, just look up and when you see what you see in the following picture, you're there: 


There was a lot going on at that fair and soooo many people, the place was chock-full of people of all ages. OK, so the main group of attendees was between 16 and 25 years old, but there were also older and really old people, and little kids. And like half of them (or probably even more) were in costume. Cosplay, cosplay everywhere!!!

I saw Darth Vaders and Darth Mauls (though not a single Storm Trooper), people dressed up as characters from movies (Harry Potter, all sorts of Disney movies, etc.) and characters from video games (I saw a Mario, a Zelda, there even was a Big Daddy!). But the bulk of costumes were from mangas and animés (which I know nothing about, so forgive me if those words actually mean the same thing or don't properly describe what I saw there... I really have no idea). Almost all of those costumes were really elaborate, though. Very few people, of the ones who were in costume, had just a painted face or just a mask or just an item of clothing. There was make up, there were wigs, there were accessories (swords, axes, guns, bows and arrows, etc.) and, most importantly, most of the costumes themselves were extremely well made. As if they'd taken the original costume designer's work and just put it on themselves. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating now, a little bit. But it really was cool to see. 

We spent some time walking around the exhibition halls and browsing through the displays. And watching people play DnD-like games or painting the little figurines for them, swordfighting, skateboarding and doing capoeira, solving Rubik's cubes (the regular ones and some crazy ones with much more sides and colours) in under two minutes,... I can't even remember it all, that's how much there was going on. 

Now, a few pictures. 

The Sorting Hat, he confirmed that I was Gryffindor. 

"You wanna get high?"

I didn't take any pictures with cosplayers, because I felt they were already being pursued by enough people who wanted pictures with them. Not very many of them were professionals either, a lot were just regular attendees who figured that by going in character, they'd have even more fun. Also, I'm really shy and it would have cost me more courage than I had to ask for pictures with anyone. But it's fine, the memories are in my head and they'll stay there for a little while. And when my brains forget, I'll have this blog post to remind me. 

When we were all exhausted from all the information intake and tired of people swarming around us constantly (again, the place was freaking packed), we went to get something to eat and drink. The caleños had empanadas vallecaucanas and I had more coffeecoffeecoffee from Oma and a little pastry filled with chicken. After that, it was back to the TM, where Leo was so kind to drop me off so I wouldn't have to walk and find it myself - and probably get lost on the way two or three times. 

Also, I love that I wore my "NERDS 2² EVER" shirt that day. Not planned at all, but it turned out to be the absolutely perfect shirt for the occasion. 

On the way home I decided to give another friend of mine a call, Ricardo a.k.a. Yotas Pelotas. I wanted to know if he'd have time to meet me the next day, Monday a.k.a. the day I went back to Cartagena. But guess what, he had time right away! What I hadn't taken into account, because I had completely forgotten that, was that he lived really close to Portal Norte. I'd never been to his place before, but it's like right there, right by the TM stop. Like where I was staying, but on the opposite side of the Autopista Norte. 

He picked me up from the TM stop when I got there and we went to his apartment, where we had coffee (my fourth that day) and chatted for a while, catching up a lot - because we also hadn't seen each other in over a year - and reminiscing a little bit. That's because, like Luis, Ricardo forms part of that group of friends that I know from when I was living in Bogotá for a few months back in 2010, so there's a lot of stories and adventures to remember, because we all used to hang out all the time. Now, not so much. But who knows, maybe there'll be more of that again when I come back to Bogotá in 2013. And because he knows so many people I know, he could also fill me in on what was going on in the lives of those friends I didn't get to meet on this trip.

All in all: Bogotá day four - SUCCESS.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back to university!!

Saturday, surprise surprise, was a crazy day. I think I might leave this information out in the future, because all days I spend in Bogotá are completely crazy. In a good way, that's true, but still... crazy!! 

Right now I'm already writing from Gate 22 at Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado, waiting for my flight from Bogotá back home to Cartagena. I was supposed to leave at night, at 10:25PM, that would have gotten me to Cartagena at midnight and then add another good hour until I can make it to bed and tadaaa no way could I get up at 5 or 6AM tomorrow morning. The people of LAN Colombia were very nice, though, and let me change my flight. So I'm sitting here in the early afternoon and my flight leaves at 2:35PM. Very nice, high five. 

Aaanyways, back to Saturday. That was two days ago, right? Yeah, because today is Monday. We already established in the last post that I started the day hangover-free, but with all the activities in the day and the YouTube-ing at night I was in full zombie mode all day. Or, actually, all weekend and today. But it's fine, everything still worked out. 

Saturday morning took me back to Los Andes, the university I'd been at on Thursday with Jhonnatan and Diana. Again, I went to a class, but this time I had an active part to play and didn't just sit in and watch. I went there to visit my friend Natalia, who I met last year in the Hollywood Beach Hostel. She was there with her sister Renata, who unfortunately I haven't seen since, and we stayed in touch. She's a German teacher and thought it would be fun to bring me into class for her students to interview, so they'd get some practice. For some weird reason I got really nervous answering questions, although there was really nothing to it. After all, I'm a native German speaker and they were only asking me a bit about myself, Austria and my time in Colombia. Once the stagefright was overcome, though, I actually had a lot of fun. 

After we had some ice cream (yes, again) at Cascabel - very recommendable, too - and from there went to get a CD that Natalia needed for fixing something on her computer, or something. I'm a tech dummy, I really only understood like 10% of what was going on there. But that's fine, I'm not the one fixing any computers, I'm the one on a friend-visiting-mission and that, at least, was very successful. 

With my dear Natalia, the coolest rocker in Colombia :) 

From my rendez-vous with her I went straight South, to visit my poor friend Luis (-ito). Why is he poor? Because he ripped apart his Achilles' tendon playing football and hasn't been able to leave the house properly for like a month. So I got some food for myself and some ice cream for him and went to his house, where we sat and chatted and had tinto (You don't know what tinto is? Go away.) and chatted some more. After a while, around 4 or 5PM some more people came over, Martin with his girlfriend and her cousin and Jhon. I know Martin from 2010, but we only met once or twice and I think Saturday might have been the first time we actually talked, like had a real conversation. Jhon is a friend of most of my friends. Somehow we managed to never ever meet until Saturday, though. Now there's finally a face to that phantom-voice on Facebook. Yay! 

It was a really, really fun evening. Everybody was talking about crazy parties we've been to and making plans for future crazy parties and there was beer and more aguardiente (...not for me, though, I had a manzana. Wait, you also don't know manzana? Seriously, just go.) and a lot of laughter. I almost went to an AIESEC Halloween party, but it was already getting late (9PM) so I thought it'd be better to go home. 

Crazy German Martin, pobrecito Lucho, me and mystery-man Jhon. 

This already concludes Saturday. Jhon and I shared a cab-ride to the TM and then a TM-ride to the North, as he lives by Suba, almost as far as Portal Norte, where I was staying. 

All in all I have to say: What a great day!!! This is just exactly what I'd come to Bogotá for, to meet up with as many of my best friends as possible - and there's a lot of them in that city. Much more than in Cartagena. I want that more often. I'll have to make sure to be able to spend more time with that bunch of locos when I come back. 

Sunday, later. 

Ice cream, photography and super-cool rockstars!

Friday was the day I started meeting my rolo friends, the ones I'd actually come for. Not that meeting Andrés wasn't great, I told you it was, but it wasn't programmed because I hadn't even known he was in the city until I got here myself. So, officially scheduled friend-meeting-activities started Friday with meeting Leo and Anaskas. That's not the same Leo as the one from the other post, I have two Leos. Both are awesome people, you'll meet (see) the other one soon. 

This Leo is also from 2008, though. One of the people I met when I came to Bogotá for the first time. We met through CouchSurfing; I was staying with somebody else, but we met a few times. Back then he also introduced me to Anaskas, who he'd just started dating a little before I got to the city. Now, those two are married. Married! That is so great, I'm incredibly happy for them. 

We met at the Jiménez Transmilenio (from now on referred to as TM, all this typing is making me tired...) station and walked around for a bit, in search of a nice place where Leo and I could have coffee and Anaskas could have lunch, because she'd come straight from work and was hungry. We ended up at Crepes and Waffles, which meant ice cream instead of coffee. A good thing, definitely. See, in Cartagena we sometimes go to Crepes, but I never have ice cream there. It's too hot for ice cream in Cartagena, so I hardly ever have any. But whenever I go to Bogotá or other, similarly cool places ice cream is a fixed point on the menu. 

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chopped almonds with a little thing of hot chocolate that you can pour over it... sooooo good! 

After lunch/dessert, we walked to the Banrep Museo de Arte to see a photography exhibition by a German artist. It was interesting enough, but in the end I think we were all glad the admission was free, because we'd expected rather more of it. Most of the picture could have been by anyone, really. As in, they weren't impressive at all. Actually, most of the looked like the kind of picture my photographer-friends would delete when sorting through the results of a session. There was only one picture that was really striking and worth seeing. I guess that's why there's so much controversy about the definition of art. But still, it was an interesting cultural thing to do on a random afternoon in Bogotá. 

Looking up towards the mountains from Museo Botero. 

After that, we kept walking some more, mainly along the Séptima, which is now a pedestrian zone and makes for a pretty nice let's-go-for-a-little-walk area. The weather was also as nice as the day before, very pro-walk, and it has been like this the whole time I've been here - lucky me. Although I might have jinxed it with typing this, the sky was bright blue all morning and now, all of sudden, there's a thick layer of clouds over the city... oops. 

Decorated plant holders all along the Séptima. Some very funny, others targeted at citizens' conscience. 

That evening I was supposed to go to a Halloween party, so we said good-bye when we got to the TM stop at Museo del Oro. It was already 5.15PM and I had to go home, change and get back into the city by 6PM. No way, that was going to happen, but I still had to try. 

I love the light in this city... 

This is called selflessness. They look great while I look like a huge dork, but I still chose this picture. Nice, right?

When I got back to Jhonnatan's, I was already really, really tired. Friday is a weekday, after all, which means that I'd been up since 5AM and not being used to the altitude of this city doesn't make you less tired, but more. The plan then changed from going right back towards the centre (after changing) and visiting that party to sleeping a few hours and meeting the party-people at some place in the area around La 85 (lots of bars and clubs in that area), when they headed out from the host's house to another location. But... that didn't happen. 

I never got those few hours of sleep, instead Jhonnatan had some friends over and I hung out with them. Waterpipe and aguardiente, a nice mix! In the end, that was perfect for the evening, because I wouldn't have been a lot of fun at a party, being tired and all that. But staying at home with fun people, listening to music and smoking hookah and playing drinking games - that was allright, especially because Jhonnatan's friends were all really nice and a lot of fun. And respectful - the most important thing - nobody played annoyed or tried to make me drink when I said I'd only do half shots, no full ones. Nice. 

Because of Halloween, Alejandro came dressed as a rockstar. 

All the guys (there were 5 of them) took turns wearing the wig, but Jhonnatan definitely looked coolest. You can't really tell right here, but despite the fact that I missed his face, this picture is still awesome. 

Best. Glasses. Ever. 

Around 11PM or midnight or somewhere around that time, I really don't know, the guys and Jhonnatan's girlfriend, who had arrived in the meantime, decided to go to a bar in the area. Originally, I was going with them, but along the way I forced myself to face the truth: I was waaaaay to tired to go anywhere but to bed. So go to bed I did, only I couldn't sleep right away. I spent an hour or so watching YouTube videos and reading and I think that was what decided my physical condition the next morning. See, I hadn't been drunk, but there was still a possibility of a hangover. I spent a while awake without drinking and loud music and also opened the window in my room to air myself out after all the smoke from the waterpipe (my hair smelled like red apple and cappucchino, not actually bad) and because of that I woke up the next morning guayabo-free. Or not because of that, who knows. Who cares? 

The only thing that counts is that I had a great Friday and was ready for an even greater Saturday. 

Viva Bogotá!!! 

Friday, October 26, 2012


Today is October 26th. 

An important date. It's Austria's national holiday

This is not a usual blog post. This is an important message home. 

I just wanted to say something here, you know, because of the special date. Something that might not be obvious, seeing how much I travel and how much I love being in the great wide world. 

I love Austria. 

It doesn't matter where I am, if I'm just traveling around or actually living in a place for a while. Those places might become temporary homes to me, because I truly feel at home in some of the places I've been so far. But there is only one place on this big huge planet that is my true home. The real one. The one that matters most. It will never be replaced. It will never lose its importance or its special place in my heart. It will never not be home. I'm sure that all of us, or most of us at least, have a place like that. Home, the true home. 

Dear Austria, 
I might not say this enough, but I think of you a lot, not only on dates like today. I miss you, don't you think that I forget you when I'm away. I might not want to come home to you right now, but I do take you with me wherever I go. In that space in my heart that's reserved only for you, for home. 
Deep down, you know. 
I love you.

Love this song. Makes the hairs on my arms stand up. Puts happy tears in the corners of my eyes.

I am from Austria. 

Happy October 26th.

Bogotown 2012

I am in Bogotá! Finally, after wanting to go ever since I got to Colombia, I am now in Bogotá. Bobotá. Rolotá. And loving every bit of it. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the last time I was here and this will probably be the only visit this year, but I’m just going to do my best to enjoy it as much as I can. 

View over Bogotá from Jhonnatan's classroom in Los Andes. 

I flew in from Cartagena yesterday morning with LAN Colombia, which used to be Aires but has now become part of the bigger LAN network. Arrived around 10AM and took a bus into the centre, so I could meet up with my CS host Jhonnatan. I was wearing just a sleeveless top, because I was coming from Cartagena and to put on anything that has sleeves when the temperature is its usual self and not in stormy mood is one of the worst ideas you could possibly have. Obviously, in Bogotá this is not the case. Yesterday, however, it was very nice and sunny and some local friends even called it hot. Though as someone who lives in Cartagena I wouldn’t go that far, and neither would my friend from Cali, who happened to also be here yesterday. Am I trying to make a point and failing, as so often? Yes, of course. The point is that I had a t-shirt in my bag and some light jackets (wool, not real jackets) in my luggage so I could put on more clothes at any point, but it wasn’t necessary even once that whole day we spent around the centre. Awesome. 15°C rock. 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this trip before I set out, because I knew that all of my friends were as busy as I usually am (even though they’re busy working while I’m busy trying to work, but still, busy is busy) and I didn’t know who I’d actually be able to see during my days here. But, well, if the trip keeps going the way it started, then it’s going to be legen – wait for it – I am not quoting this TV series right now, it’s going to be epic! (See, I’d rather quote the internet) 

I got to Las Aguas a little before 11AM yesterday morning and met up with Jhonnatan and his friend Diana. They were supposed to be in class and we all went straight back there, but they took the time to pick me up in front of the Colombo so I wouldn’t have to wait for them to get out of uni later in the day. So nice! I went back to class with them and actually got to see some shows, or „shows“, because it was a class called música y acción and everyone had to do a short presentation. There was a lot of singing, dancing and costume-wearing going on, it was definitely cool to have been there. After class we went to the computer lab to check e-mails and suchlike (yes, of course I’m talking about Facebook) and from there we went back to Las Aguas. 

Had to give this back when I left campus, I wish they'd let me keep it... 

While in the computer lab I’d received a message from my friend Andrés, telling me that he was in Bogotá and to give him my number so we could meet up. Sent him my number, he called right away and we decided to meet in front of the Colombo at 2PM. This is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds right now. Andrés is from Cali and I met him through my friend Leo, also from Cali, back in 2008. Four years ago! And we hadn’t seen each other since then! I hope that now you can imagine how happy and excited I was about the message, the call and the prospect of seeing him within the hour. Exactly, very. 

When he got there, everyone was already very hungry, so we went to a little place Jhonnatan and Diana knew to get picada. Picada is among the best foods in this world, for the following reasons: 

- There’s a ton of meat involved, in our case it was beef, pork, chicken and sausage. All fresh off the fire, hot and delicious. You're vegetarian? Don't scroll down, there's a picture of our picada coming up...

- You don’t have to use cutlery. I am totally civilized, I swear, but don’t you agree that eating with your bare hands instead of knife and fork makes the food a lot tastier? When eating a picada, you can use the little sticks they provide (toothpicks or tiny swords), but you can also just use your fingers. Guess which I chose. 

- You get two different kinds of potatoes and lots of sauces, too. Our picada had papitas criollas and french fries, but you might also get something else, like for example potato skins. And you can choose which sauce to use, although the best is always the hot sauce. I haven’t once had a picada with bad ají, it was always fiery and fruity and fresh. 


After lunch we were all stuffed, seriously stuffed. So we decided to walk for a bit. Diana had already had to get back to Uni, but Jhonnatan was free, so the three of us stepped back out into the street to go for a walk. We didn’t really get very far, though. Something got in our way. A place, to be exact. Yumi Yumi. Ever heard of that? It is one of the coolest little places you will ever find in Bogotá, a tiny little restaurant and bar right by the transmilenio stop at Las Aguas. Their food is even better than their location, but what makes them stand out is that they have 2x1 cocktails. All the time. And they’re sophisticated and well-made, not some ordinary rum punch made of cheap ingredients. I first went there in 2008 (again, that year) and until today, I still sometimes think of that crepe de agrás... oh my... so good. We didn’t have any more food, though, because we were already completely full. But we did make good use of that 2x1 offer. 

Round No 1: The first Coco Chanel and two Beach Bums. 

Round No 2: Two Yumi Yumi Specials and the second Coco Chanel. 

Round No 3: I don't know what those were, they were ordered while I was on the phone. 

Andrés had left his luggage at another friend’s place, so he wouldn’t have to bring it all the way into the centre and then back south when he left for the airport. Now, can you guess who that friend was? Yes, right, it was Leo!! He had to work, so he couldn’t come out to meet us, but we’re probably going to hang out on Sunday, if everything goes well. Gladly, both he and Andrés have a plan on their phones where they don’t pay for individual messages, so, deep and thoughtful conversations happened that afternoon. 

Leo, he just gets me... 

Time did pass by, though, despite the fact that nobody wanted it to. Soon came the time that Andrés had to say good-bye and head back to Leo’s house to get his stuff and go to the airport to go back to Cali. It wasn’t a sad good-bye, though, because when I get back to Colombia he’ll come visit me in Cartagena and I’ll finally make it back to Cali to visit him. Wait, did I just say „when I get back to Colombia“? Sorry about that, I’ll tell you more about that another time. 

Love this boy, he's one of the proofs that friendship can endure space and time - like a boss! 

Derpface, Derpface and Sleepyhead. Beautiful picture, right? 

After Jhonnatan and I also finally won the battle against the cocktail that wouldn’t end, we walked over to the Transmilenio stop and started the long way home. The thing is, Jhonnatan lives in the North and many people want to go to the North and thus we had to fight a bit to get onto a bus. In the end we did it and we even got to sit – on the floor. But still! 

Now I’m making plans with more friends for this afternoon and the weekend proper and, as always, looking for more work projects and – this is new right now, learning the names of Julieta’s stuffed animals. Julieta is Mari’s daughter, who in turn is Jhonnatan’s cousin. Mari made me breakfast, and because I'm upstairs in my room (yes, I get to stay in my own room) blogging and looking for projects, she brought it to me. What a sweetheart. They all live together in this beautiful house where I get to stay for my days in Bogotá and I’m having the best time, because they’re so nice, it’s almost like visiting family of my own. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shark is back!

Oooookay, this it-takes-forever-to-blog is stopping right now! It’s getting on my nerves as well, not only on yours. I have a pretty good excuse, though: I actually had work again this week. Not as much as I’d like, but enough to get me through the week without fearing for my future survival. Good enough, I say, for now. 

Last weekend‘s island trip was actually one of the coolest ones we’ve had so far. All of them were awesome, no doubt about it, but this one was special, like. Why? Because new people came along and we kept discovering new things and places. It’s surprising even to myself how such a small island as Isla Grande (...not) can hold so many hidden treasures that even after 3 years I still stumble upon new things that I’ve never come across before. Even if it’s just a new pathway to get from one beach to another... And the food, the food! Crabs and lobster and ceviche de pez león, it’s just all so extremely delicious. It might not be new, because we have the same food every time we go, but it still counts as part of the new stuff, simply because such delicacies don’t get old. Ever. 

The main new thing on this trip, at least for me, were two of the travel companions. Our dear downstairs neighbour Carolyn, who’s actually been on the island many times before, but never with me, and Béa’s friend Nico, who’s Colombian but lives in the States and on his first ever visit to Cartagena got kidnapped to The Island by a bunch of crazy people. Yay for him, how much better can it get, right? With those additions, the group consisted of an interesting mix of five this time: Béa and me, Nico, Carolyn and good old Álvaro. Oh, and I almost forgot the most important people who accompanied us this time: two freaking bottles of rum! 

This last bit of information brings me to the explanation of why this trip was so very special, apart, of course, from the exceptional company. We drank. A lot. You know – or at least I think you know – that I’m not one to drink much and I’ll be the last person to tell you that alcohol or drinking loads of it is a good thing. But, well, Sith happens. And drink we did. Shhhhh-loads! 

Is drinking shhhhh-loads the worst? I wish. But it’s not. The worst is that we started drinking at about 8.30AM. Yes, eight thirty in the freaking morning. Standing at the muelle, waiting for the Isla Pirata boat to head out towards the island, because there was no space for us on the Cocoliso boat, we stood in the shade and all of a sudden there was a bottle of rum and a bottle of Coke Zero and a cup. And all of a sudden we were passing it around in a circle like other people might pass around a joint or a thermos of hot chocolate on a cold winter morning somewhere high in the mountains. The point is, that first bottle of rum didn’t stand half a chance of making it whole even until noon. 

When we arrived, later than usual because of the boat-switch, we checked into our rooms and got ready for the beach. We got beer and more rum and walked to Ana Rosa’s to confirm our lunch order for later. From there we went straight to Playa Libre, only I can’t actually remember how we got there, now that I think about it. There are two entrances, through two different properties, but right now I have no idea, like none whatsoever, which way we took to get there. All I know is that after a short while we got to the little dock, where we left our stuff and jumped into the water. We drank more there. Sorry. 


Remember how I got shark powers from eating shake and bark in Trinidad? Well, those powers re-surfaced this weekend. Full throttle! I’m not going to go into much detail as to what having shark powers or being a shark on The Island means, those who were there know what I’m talking about and those who weren’t there but know me well enough also know, or at least they’ll be able to imagine. I shut up now. 

After swimming for a while we went back to Ana Rosa’s to enjoy our ceviche de pez león and from there we went straight on to Playa Bonita. More beach, more water, more sharking. A lot more sharking... a lot. 

By that time I was already a point where I didn’t want to drink anymore. Despite the amount of rum I’d already consumed, I was still self aware enough to recongnize that I’d gotten to my limit, so I switched from rum and coke to just plain coke. Good idea, isa! Well done! The others either didn’t care or are more accustomed to drinking than I am, so everybody else kept going, even though they did slow their pace also. When we figured that the boat with the day-visitors would be about to leave we headed back to Cocoliso to take over the pool area and Ever’s bar. More cocolocos, more beers, more rum and coke. Though still not for me, thank gods. 

The day still went by kind of quickly and before long it was time to head back over to Las Palmeras to get dinner. By that time I was feeling rather unwell, because having forgotten to apply sunscreen and having drunk enough to dehydrate the whole Amazon, I got burnt by the sun outside and in. This means that my face was bright red (think glow in the dark tomato) and my brain was fried, leaving me dizzy and tired. I wasn’t the worst off, though. Carolyn had decided that after all the hard work in Cartagena she’d let loose this weekend and get drunk college-style. For those of you who don’t understand, that means extremely, highly, very, incredibly drunk. Tomás had had the afternoon off and was hanging out with us, either talking to Ever or Álvaro, so he was close. I took advantage of that and entrusted him with the task of getting Carolyn safely to and from Las Palmeras. He did well enough, taking care of her and leading all of us through the night: nobody stumbled and fell and nobody got lost in the dark forest (we didn’t have any flashlights, smart as we are). 

After that I decided that my day had been long enough, so instead of going to the laguna with the others I headed back to the room to read and then sleep. Perfect. 

The next day, we took it slowly. Carolyn and I got up around 8.30/9AM and went to have breakfast and then we lazed in the hammocks for a while. Around the pool area in Cocoliso, there are palmeras and other trees with hammocks underneath, great for a little relaxation in the shade. After a while, we decided we needed to be in the sea again so we headed back to Playa Bonita. More sharking happened there. And when Béa and Nico arrived, more drinking happened too. Not for me, though, I only had juice and soda that day. 

It was very enjoyable; we alternately lay flat on our backs on the surface of the water or on a beach chair in the sand, because nobody felt like moving much. Lazing around in paradise, what a great way to spend your Sunday. 

When it was time to get ready for the departure, we paid our bill and strolled back to Cocoliso, got our things ready and checked out of the rooms and – surprise – paid more bills! The one from the bar was especially impressive, I’m just glad I didn’t partake in that, my liver and my bank account are equally grateful. 

Right now, I’m freeeeeeeezing, because I finally made it to Bogotá (yaaay). But more on that tomorrow, I gotta get under my blanket now! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lazy lazy lazy...

... but only with blogging! 

And I'm sorry, this is getting worse and worse, isn't it? October 17th and this is the first post this month... oh my. It's not actually that much laziness that caused this lack of stories. The lack of stories is what caused the lack of stories. Simple. I didn't do much except look for work and freak out about not finding any, so there was nothing to tell you. But I finally got a project yesterday and it was short but great work, so things are looking better now. 

And things are coming up, too. 

This weekend, we're going back to The Island. Again, it's just a short two-days-one-night break, but we do get away from the hectic city for a bit, which is always nice. I don't really know how long ago the last trip was, so I don't know what phase the moon is going to be in, but maybe we're even lucky enough for some more fluorescent plankton Saturday night! Who knows, we'll see and I'll tell you all about it. 

And then next week there's another trip planned. I'm finally going to Bogotá to visit some of my friends - I'm very excited for that. First, I'm going to be out of this heat for a few days (although with all the rain and storms we get here at the moment, it's almost cold already). Second, I really like Bogotá and it's going to be nice to be back there. Third - and most importantly - I'm going to see some of my friends there again! Probably, not all of them will have time to meet up, everybody always has so much to do nowadays... but it'll still be wonderful, even if I don't get to see each and every one of them. 

So, yeah, this is the latest update about the life of isaontheway in Cartagena, Colombia. Could be worse, right?

Stay tuned for proper news after The Island and Bogotá!