English, Advertising, Contiki and Scary Stories

Trip Start Oct 25, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  , Cundinamarca,
Sunday, November 18, 2012

14/11/12 - I was meant to have my interview with Bogota Business English at 10am today. It took me half an hour to hail a buseta because the writing of the destinations is so small, by the time I have read it, the bus has sped past. I eventually got on the right buseta that had stopped and I literally squeezed myself on - the doors closed on my ass and pushed me in the rest if the way. Only to realise why the buseta had stopped. A god damn protest was happening outside some government building and the people were all over the streets chanting about salaries. Grr. So, the bus turned around in the 3 lane street and went another way into the city.. With a lot of traffic. On the way, the interviewer cancelled the 10am appointment because he couldn't make it. Gar!

So, I eventually got into town and had nothing to do... Well... I soon changed that. It had been suggested in the past week that if I wanted money, I could look at advertising... Because they don't always want people from Colombia. So, I found the address of a casting agency and decided- what the hell?! On the way, an old guy started talking to me. He asked where I was from, how long I had been here and if I liked Colombia. He then said goodbye. Innocent right? Wrong. 5 seconds later a police officer came running and screaming at him- and calling me over. He started frisking the guy and took his ID and was asking lots of questions. The old guy was getting really frustrated and I tried telling the officer what had happened. The cop pulled me aside and (in Spanglish) asked me what happened. He asked if the guy wanted money or was selling me drugs and that I should speak to no-one except police officers on the street! The cop then took my ID and asked me some questions before letting us both go. I repeated this story to my new amigos (looking for some back up at the ludicrous situation) but they agreed with the police officer! I'm not living in a Disney movie and I shouldn't be so naive. Haha. Oops.

I then went into a random casting agency in and was met by a very tall and thin receptionist. Guess what? No English! I told her I was looking for work - and asked her the possibility. She handed me a form so I started filling it in. Half an hour later, I was taken upstairs for some photos with who I can only assume was the manager. He didn't speak any English, but he didn't try and make it easier for me! He just kept blabbing away in Spanish waiting for reactions. Solo hablo un poco Espanol. Dios mio. After a bunch of photos (and please, I assure you they were all clothed- I may not have money, but I still have dignity- ish) I got the message that I needed to go home and get a different colour shirt ASAP- because a white shirt on a white background doesn't work. I caught the bus home and back to the agency. It was a 2.5 hr round trip, ridiculous traffic, and involved running 20 blocks in the pouring rain. When I arrived I was drenched, sweaty and red faced. So attractive ! After a couple more photos I was then told 'vamos' (let's go). Umm, ok, sure. So the manager (Nelson), a Mexican actor (Javier) and I walked to a building and went inside. I eventually deciphered it was a casting for a juice commercial. So, I sat silently (not knowing what the hell was going on) until I was called. In the meantime, I Wikipedia'd the meaning of the word 'casting'- to know what the hell was going on! I went in and had to tell them about myself, show some facial expressions and give some details. That's it. After that, Nelson and Javier started talking about preparing a book and more photos to present to employers and carrying on about the stuff to be done. We got in another cab and went 20 blocks to another agency and then a restaurant. These people had made too many plans and at this point- I wanted to be anywhere else in the world. So I told them I had plans and had to leave. They crapped on about something else, but I eventually left with the message 'be here at 10am tomorrow'. The traffic was horrendous but I eventually got back to my bubble at 7pm. It was nice to relax after a crazy and uncomfortable day.

15/11/12 - So today was my very embarrassing follow up day. I decided to go because- well, what do I have to lose? I got to the agency at 10am and sat with a couple of stunning but stuck up models for 20 mins before being told 'vamos' - yet again. Nelson and I caught a cab 20 blocks to another casting where we met with 2 of his other clients. Same drill. Gave them my details, said a little about myself, showed them happy, sad, surprised and angry face and then left. I started using my phone on the street, and one of the other clients snapped at me to put it away. He said he has had 2 phones stolen, one of them at knife point. Brilliant.

I then caught another cab about 80 blocks to another casting and did the same thing - again. The English teaching interview had been postponed to 2pm and I then needed to get going. I asked if they needed me to come back, but they said no. Thank god. Unless I get a call back, I'm not going to actively pursue it anymore. I was SO far out of my comfort zone. I would much rather deal with drugs than people. However, again, it would probably have been a lot lot easier if I spoke Spanish and knew the definition of 'casting'!

I didn't know which Transmilenio to catch to the interview, so I asked a teenage boy which one to take. He helped me out and then we started talking. He told me he was here for a semester with university and that I should be very careful - as he was almost kidnapped last week! Wtf! I didn't ask any follow up questions. But I thanked him for his help and told him ciudate (take care) too. I found out on the Transmilenio (yes, I checked my phone- stupid I know) that I was offered the job as a tour manager for Contiki. To commence in the UK on March 18. So, I guess my plans are going to change a bit...

The interview was for Bogota Business English. A company that had told me 'thanks, but we don't need you' a week ago, so I wasn't confident. However, I got there and it was much better than expected. It is run by a level headed British guy and American guy. It's organised, the pay is ok, they will have good hours, they have teaching plans and they have a system in place. They offered me the job and said that they would call this week. However, the company is closed from mid December to the start of January, so I will use the time to explore Colombia - and El Salvador with Jess if I can find some decent flights. During the interview, the director also asked me if I had anything of value in my backpack. I told him a wallet and a phone- and he asked what kind of phone. I told him an iPhone, to which he replied 'its not a matter of if, it's a matter of when it gets stolen'. What's with people scaring me today!? It started pouring again after the interview so I headed home.

16/11/12 - I didn't have any job interviews today! Yay! I woke up late and caught a buseta to Andino shopping mall and had a wander. I bought a empanada and a sweater... And I might buy another sweater- because classy Colombians wear sweaters haha. However, they don't eat copious amounts of empanadas, at least not in public. I then met up with Luisa and Sissi for some reggaeton, snacks and wine in the park. Not legal, but good fun. I met with Sebastian in the evening for a drink but I was home in bed by 11. Yay :)

17/11/12 - I wanted a relaxing day today. But it was also chore day for Maria and I. We woke up and vacuumed, mopped, wiped, cleaned and straightened. If my hours pick up at work and I make some money, I will seriously consider a maid... But her name must be Consuela. I then went to the grocery store again and it was muuuuch more pleasant this time. I was in and out very quickly.

That evening Maria, Sebastian and I went to the movies. Carlos, Maria's boyfriend, couldn't make it- but he came for dinner afterwards. I cooked and made quesadillas (Australian style). They actually think I'm a good cook! But I don't know how long I can continue with that (mis) perception.

I had an early night because I felt a cold coming on... Very blocked up, sore throat and sore glands. However, as I was going to bed I heard a flapping sound in my room. I could just make out that there was a goddamn bat in my bedroom! I'm 10 storeys high in a city of millions! How the f*** is there a bat in my room with a closed window? I hid under the blanket and sat motionless for a while. But I realised that plan was going to get me nowhere fast, so, still with the blanket, I opened the curtains and window and waited for the flapping to stop. Dumb in hindsight, as I probably should have watched if the bat left. It sat silently for hours- it may have just gone back to its hiding spot. I turned on the lights and had a quick look and didn't find it. If I wake up as a vampire... I'll have my answer.

18/11/12 Tomorrow (or today as its 12:42pm) will be a lazy day. If I don't feel sick, I will probably go for a run on the ciclovia in the morning and then start my Contiki assessment (which is enormous!)

A quick rant- Dear President Santos: I am so sick of public areas being tiled in Colombia! It rains so often and the tiles become ridiculously slippery! Is it so hard to put down some grip tape so I don't look like a 3 year old trying to ice skate?!

Also... I just realised I have barely taken any more photos! Next blog I will.

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Chantelle on

Congrats on getting the Contiki job!
Also, it's quite impressive you've managed to hold onto your phone this long, considering your history...and Colombia's history too I guess haha.

hailie on

ahahahaha. you're right, that is a funny story! out of 10, how much of an idiot did you feel like, giving a sad face on cue? also the last entry pretty much answers all the questions that i asked you on viber, were you thinking, geez, just read the goddamn blog, i'm way to famous to be answering these questions twice?

Barry on

I dont know why, but I get the vague idea you may be in the wrong country. Its a feeling I have. Just saying.

Lisa on

I'm all updated, your blog is a bestseller. If all else fails you can publish your stories. Lots of laugh out loud moments and even tears from laughing so hard...........did you ever grow fangs? Love the photos.

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