Micah: Unmitigated

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Not just another weblog

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

June 14th, 2010 at 10:36

(Editor’s Note: This is a seemingly random post that I punched into my Ipod a couple weeks ago. With the more socializing I do, I find less time to just kick it at internet shops. Thus, I have a few in the chamber that shall be released in the next 24hrs. For those playing the home version of Micah:Unmitigated, this wont make much sense chronologically, but please try to enjoy anyways.)

Memories of being scammed in Bangkok still linger in my head. Every kind person who offers help, I keep at arms length, carefully processing every move in my head. I believe this is the way to go when traveling overseas, but also worry I may miss out on making a new friend or might offend an innocent stranger.

Like the little old man in Cartagena, who reminded me of Jackie Mason. He approached me on my first day in town, trying to dispense hostel advice. Quickly moving his little legs to keep up with me, he swore his places were cheaper but I playfully ignored him.

The next time I saw him was 48 hrs later, during the low point of the trip so far.  I had just been told by my hostel that the city buses stopped running at 6 pm and that an expensive taxi was my only option to the bus station. Feeling lost and tired, I took to wandering the streets aimlessly, looking for some form of transportation. He saw me and warned me about walking the streets at night, offering to help. The small funny man was wiser than the hostel and flagged down a passing bus for me. It was a long sweaty ride to the station, trying not to knock anyone out with my pack, but I felt lucky to be there.

Another encounter was with an odd man who approached me in the Medellin bus station, while I was bargain hunting. He happened to already have a ticket in the same direction and aided me in my purchase. The man said he was born in the US but his family moved back to Colombia when he was 2. His English was decent and he seemed harmless, but he was a little too eager to help and he strangely showed me both his passports, with the US one containing a fake $100 bill.

During our trip, I kept a close eye on all of my stuff and maintained a ninja like awareness, waiting for the trap to be sprung. In the end, he was nothing but helpful in making all of my connections. I feel bad doubting his intentions, knowing now that he was probably just a quirky, talkative guy.

Those are just two of the many helpful Colombians I have come across. Everyone has reacted to my broken Spanish with smiles and patience. Even at the bus station, I know that the men shouting destinations at me will point me in the right direction, even if their company doesn’t service that area. With only a few days left here, I hope the people down closer to the equator are equally kind. La gente es extraña cuando eres un extraño, rostros se ven feos cuando estás solo.

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