I´m sat in an internet cafe using this wondrous invention for the first time in a long time. Previously it seemed I couldn´t live a day without it but after leaving my laptop at Gab´s flat in Bogota and hitting the road, I´ve barely given it a second thought. I suppose like we used to.
I´ve Alligator by The National playing in my ears and staring out into a street full of cowboys in rubber boots and hat, their torso covered with light ponchos. Young girls and boys are chasing each other while their mothers stand in doorways discussing lives.
The town is Salento, a small country town in ´Coffee Country´ in the Colombian mountains staying on a farm and generally just taking it slow. After a few weeks travelling the major spots, the Caribbean, Barichara and Medallin, I needed and wanted some downtime, time to read and gather some thoughts, to write and decide what to do next beyond Colombia. New York and parts of Canada are still to come but in reality I´m thinking beyond the next few months and have to focus the mind on the next few years. Uni decisions loom this month.
The internet cafe doubles as the local phone shop. Surprisingly mobile phones are not as ubitiqious as assumed. Locals come in, give a number to the woman who inputs the number and then hands the phone over. Calls never last long. That surprise is a forerunner for a lot I´ve seen. The internet is slow here. TV still rules the roost and all news is domestic.
Colombia is an economically developing country within a seemingly wholly worked out culture. Despite its international reputation, the country itself has a gentle understanding. Colombians are polite and generous, clearly amongst the nicest people I´ve met. The reasons for this are unclear initially. After all this is a country racked with drugs wars and instability. But as you find when you are here, the problems are often the consequence of outside action. The drug wars are fuelled by American and now European inability to function without cocaine. The domestic demand is too funded happily by gringos coming over and taking coke.
And for this drug reputation and the habits of the West, the Colombian passport carries very little weight. I remember the problems Gab had with this passport just trying to get around Europe. The shame is passed on and its the genuine Colombians as a whole who carry the weight.
These are all pretty random Sunday afternoon notes so I appreciate it if you got this far. I´m going to put up various, more considered stories over the next few weeks about being on the farm, Colombia in general, modern backpackers and other topics. Its been a fine time.
Without warm water in my head
All I see is black and white and red