Micah: Unmitigated

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Not just another weblog

Rearviewmirror

June 17th, 2010 at 19:21

I feel the need to tell you about my last few days in Colombia, before moving on to my new location. Here is the story:

Saturday: Hung out with a guy from the D.C. area, who was in my dorm. A decent guy, ex-military, currently does security type work on contract, and studying international something at a college (may be an assassin).  We found a Brit and an Aussie to watch the US/England world cup match with and searched for a local hangout.  Stumbled upon the ¨Cafe Colombia¨, an old school guy hangout in the heart of the city. Containing a small TV area with plastic tables in front, a large pool table area, slot casino in back, poker tables up a floor, and completing the man cave – a trough urinal openly installed on a main wall. A lot of action all around, with some guy trying to get us to place wagers and many people hawking lottery tickets. A fun game to watch with the Brit left shaking his head and us feeling very satisfied.

Back at the dorm, a Brit girl joined our group seeking Colombia travel advice. Being the only one heading south, I dispensed what I could to all interested parties and soaked up valuable info about my next destinations. They now have me excited about future treks and volcano watching.

Later: The Brit girl (Lucy), the D.C. guy (J), and I hit the town for street food and drinks. After checking out a few overpriced bars, we found a small cheap liqour store with 2 tables, and sat. Aguardiente, an anise flavored drink, is the liquor of choice down here, and it doesn’t taste too bad.

The highlight of the evening was the inebriated man, close to my age, who wanted to talk. He slowly forced out the few English words he knew and I tried to move the converstaion along with the even less Spanish I knew. At one point, an older lady came to the entry of the shop and called the man over. A few minutes of what seemed to be scolding and finger pointing, had the room holding back laughter. The 3 other Colombians around (all 20 something and one spoke English) told us that it was the man’s mother-in-law, and that she informed him that all of his things would be on the street when he got home. Undeterred by the news, the man proceeded to restart the talk and share shots. The whole scene highly amused me, despite a lack of understanding.

After parting ways with the town drunk, we hit a salsa club with the 3 Colombians from the store. Interesting to watch, though I did not participate. A few songs were too slow but when they moved, it was with ease and grace. They move their hips to the beat and stare off, nonchalantly, like they were walking. Sometime on this trip I will try, just not on that small floor during our short visit.

Sunday: I continued my journey south, to the town of Pasto. A man from wee Britain, was heading my way, so we traveled together. He had taken classes in Medellin and was a master at the art of flirting. That came in handy when he bargained our bus prices down and when he chatted up a pretty lady, a row in front of us. He did it with words I could understand, he just knows how to put them together. We crashed in Pasto 2 nights, he was sick the next day, so I headed off to see ¨Laguna de la Cocha¨, a good size lake with a densely forested island.

view of lake

view of lake

Tuesday: Farther south to Ipiales, 3 km from the border, where we parted ways and I headed to nearby Las Lajas. A small village around a stunning church, I shacked up at a large hostel, formerly run by nuns. Being basically the only person there, I got views of the canyon and the Santuario that spans it.

Santuario de Las Lajas, (not the view from my room)

Santuario de Las Lajas, (not the view from my room)

The next morning I was awaken by the sound of a marching band. Looking out my window, I saw them coming down the hill and suited up (it was raining) to check out the action. Young kids pounded drums, leading a caravan of cars, all for a gold relic on the back of a truck. The streets were decorated with yellow and white, but they misjudged the height by a little bit. I snapped the photo below, seconds before the relic caught the overhanging line and fell off it’s pedestal.

look closely

look closely

hanging down

hanging down

The parade stopped for about 10 mintues while they tried to fix it, with onlookers looking very concerned. It ended up just being carried to the church by a man in a coat, where it was prayed to all day. That night, I followed as a procession took the relic to a chapel in town and from there I can’t tell you what happened (Not because of any laws or anything, I just don’t know). A good day to be in Las Lajas, and people thought I was crazy for wanting to stay in this small one-church town, for 2 nights.

Well rested and cleaned up, I headed for the border, where I sailed through the necessary formalities. I will have to save any word about Ecuador until the next post, as this one is categorized as “Colombia”. All I will say is that I am hoping for more interesting food and cheaper days. Todavía no están en el hemisferio sur

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2 Responses to “Rearviewmirror”

  1. Miriam Hoelter Says:

    I really am enjoying your posts, Micah. You take note of amusing and interesting things and relay them to us well. Thanks.

  2. Nick Says:

    Wow, that church really is stunning. With the river and the bridge, and that church, the scenery alone makes that place worth staying for a couple days.