Dia de la Imaculada & Vulcan Totumo

Trip Start Sep 11, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yesterday was the holiday, "Dia de la Imaculada", and in
Barranquilla that means two things: all night dancing and partying, and little
multi-colored candle-lit lanterns on the sidewalks at 4am. I was invited to eat
lunch at Lili's apartment, her mom invited me, to cook Arroz con Coco. Ohhh. I
already wrote about this. Well, what Lili told me later, is that her mom has
never invited any one of her boyfriends over for lunch before. Meaning she had
never cooked for one of Lili's boyfriends - keeping in mind Lili only had two
boyfriends, but one for like three years! We had fun, I was learning to cook,
and telling her mom about Austrian Christmas traditions, European general
comfort with being naked (citing my family as an example), and talking about
religion, among other things. I left in the afternoon, and got a few more
souvenirs, two matching bracelets for Lili and I (the ones she liked so much),
and some jewelry for Lili - I hope she will like it. That night Lili came over
again, after I had some time to myself, with some yoga, and she fell asleep on
me on the couch, while listening to music on my laptop. By the time we headed
out, the Merengue concert at the stadium was over, but we decided to go to
Barrio Abajo, to an event which Alfredo invited me to. I wished I had thought
of bringing my video camera, but we were just going to go on a walk, and weren't
really prepared for this really traditional, interesting event. I felt like I
had tapped into the pure Barranquilla culture, in the middle of an intersection
at Barrio Abajo, at midnight on Sunday night. People were gathered, seemingly
without order, but with an order that was understood well by the locals. Some
drums were in the center of the intersection, being played by some kids.
Columbiana beers and Aguardiente were making the rounds, and slowly the crowd
began to build, adding more people in traditional costumes, as worn during the
Carnaval de Barranquilla, widely known to be the second-largest/best Carnaval
in South America, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. Then quickly a group of guys
gathered around the drums, pulled out some other instruments, including a rasp,
a flute-like instrument, and shakers. Everyone started moving with the music,
Alfredo jumped into the circle around the drums, and courted a woman with
traditional dress, to dance around the musicians. Lili danced a few rounds, but
I was too shy, I felt like an intruder, even though there were a few other
foreigners dancing too. Then came out the candles, and the women danced with
candles, wax dripping over the hands, but they didn't seem to mind. Someone
gave me some to give to Lili, and I brought them to her while she was dancing,
but she didn't want them, so I got the hot wax all over my hand instead! It
didn't hurt though. We stayed there until about two, when we went back. At some point during the night, she said that it frustrated her that I always drew a line
between her and I, a line which I didn't want her to cross. What she said,
opened up a wound, or, a door, which I had kept shut for a while now. I am
afraid of getting hurt, a remainder of the break-up with Debbie, and I have not
dealt with the problem. What I have done instead, is make sure that I don't let my feelings get involved too much, keeping people at a distance. Did I do this with Kelela? I
didn't think so, but perhaps? Do I do this with my friends and family? Do I
draw a line? Is it bad to draw a line? I will try to be more aware of this from
now on, to better understand what is going on. So, much to tell today!
Yesterday, Lili and I went swimming in Vulkan Totumo - yes, you heard right,
swimming in a volcano! We went downtown to grab a bus and waited, waited,
waited, waited.... We were approached continuously by beggars, it was dirty,
smelly, I was hungry, my feet hurt, and the shaved-ice cart man kept honking
his horn - I grew more and more annoyed and bothered. I was bothered by the
poverty, the injustice, the fact that I gave so little and wasn't helping most
of them. I was bothered by the fact that I started saying "No", when they asked
for money. I was bothered about waiting 1.5 hours for the bus to arrive. I was
having a dark storm in my mind - the dark storms I sometimes get, which can be
very contagious on other people, like Susanne or Mutti especially. I was
worried that Lili would also become annoyed, and I told her that she was not
the reason. I knew that these feelings were not caused by anything but myself,
my own expectation on how the moment should, or should not be like. This
knowledge didn't help my mood, but I knew it would pass, so I didn't try to
fight it, I just needed to wait until the storm passed, to give way to daylight
once again. When we were finally in the bus, on the highway outside of the
city, the storm clouds lifted immediately and I was very happy that Lili was
waiting for me in the sunshine. I remember that Debbie would have become
affected, and by the time my storm had passed, she was well into hers or vice-versa. LOL!! But
Lili wasn't affected, at least she told me she wasn't when I told her that I
was sorry for my bad mood. We had a fun bus-ride. We finally arrived, and the bus
driver let us out on the middle of the highway, at the mouth of a dirt road,
and told us that the last bus going back to Barranquilla would pass here at
4:30. We had an hour and a half, should be plenty of time we thought. It took
us just like fifteen minutes to get to the mud volcano, which was about 15-20
meters high. I checked the time, so that we would get back in time. We quickly
changed into our bathing suits, climbed up the staircase, and had the "pool"
all to ourselves. Swimming in the mud, of an active mud volcano, it was
incredible! Every once in a while, a bubble would slowly make its way up to the
surface with a deep glurp and blurb. The mud was smooth, grey, and room
temperature, a beautiful feeling. It is quite dense, so unless someone pushed
one under, it was impossible to submerse oneself. I could hold my arms out to
the side and not go deeper than my chest. I laid on my back with feet and arms
in the air, turned, "swam", put mud on my face, and laughed and giggled with
Lili. Giving her a kiss on her clean face, I left some mud-marks on her nose,
and chin. I was very happy to be there with her. They told us that the volcano
mud reached a depth of 2,300 meters; the positive earth energy that I felt in
the mud, in the cauldron of the mud-volcano was very deep, very gentle, one
could hardly notice it, if it were not for the effect it had on one's state of
feeling. We got out after a while, cleaned the mud off the best we could, and
walked down the stairs and to the lake to wash off. There, we were actually
cleaned off by some ladies, who helped tourists for a tip. The people working
there were all very content, happy, and I contribute this to the energy of the
volcano. We made it back to the highway at exactly 4:30 and waited. It was
starting to get a bit darker, and the bus still hadn't come. I followed Lili's
advice, and we took two motorcycle taxis to the next village. It felt great to
be on a motorcycle again - even thought I thought to myself, what Mutti say if
she saw me on the back of a motorcycle on the highway without a helmet? But we
made it, and were told that the last bus already passed at 4pm. Luckily a few
military guys, at a road-stop, stopped a tourist van for us, which took us back
to Barranquilla - although for a high price. Back home, Lili took care of me
with some Arepas. What more do I want out of a day? Nothing
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