Monday 19 Nov: Boooooring day. The cramps went, but my throat was very red and had a lot of pus. This lasted 5 days- but I won´t talk more about my boring ailments. I did nothing today!
Tuesday 20 Nov: I have completely forgotten what I did today. It can not have been too exciting or I would have remembered. Oops. However, tonight Sebastian was walking home and was seen using his phone
. Out of the corner of his eye he saw 2 men put on balaclavas across the park. He ran to the nearest building lobby, reported the men and waited for some time before leaving. Something like this has never happened to him before- but its yet another wake up call for me as the blond, non-Spanish speaking tourist target.
Wednesday 21 Nov: Another day of pointless errands... that started with sending a tiny envelope to London for $50. Absolutely ridiculous. I then went to the lavanderia that ruined my chinos and they had sill not fixed my pants. So, I spoke very assertively (/ rudely) to them that it was their responsibility and they were to pay for the pants. They said because I had worn them, they weren't going to pay for them and it was not their responsibility. But they were going to take enough responsibility to dye them a darker colour. So esentially, they will only take a certain amount of responsibility. Except the argument was in Spanish and they said a LOT more than that, but I have no idea what it was. 8 more days without a pair of pants. I only have 3 pairs. Grr. But in perspective, they're just pants. I then went to a couple of travel agents to get quotes for Christmas in El Salvador with Jess, Julio and Julio´s family. Crazy crazy prices. However, I eventually booked a flight from 22nd December to 26th November that includes a 12 hour layover in Panama from midnight to midday. It will involve a number of coffees and a trip to the Panama Canal if its close. I am not sure if I have mentioned yet, but the coffee is really good. I have even started making my own plunger coffee (you proud Dad?).
Thursday 22 Nov: This morning I bought a laptop from a dodgy electronic area of Colombia (across the road from the hostel I stayed at)
. Everyone told me it was not legal, but everyone does it. I bought a crap laptop with no memory for about $330 and got all the programs installed. Yay. I can now procrastinate with my Contiki assignment. I then met Sissi as she had invited me to a car show. I went with Sissi and her Dad, as he had a stall for 4x4 quad bikes and racing carts. We walked around the stalls and looked at the different types of cars. There was a demonstration with a Prado showing its suspension abilities by driving over 2 zig-zagging metal rails. When the car bounced from side to side, Sissi instinctively screamed... and I instinctively laughed at her- :) so chivalrous. That night, Sissi, Sebas and I went to El Nogal for what I thought was going to be a couple of drinks. However, this turned into getting home at 1am. Except the Dj was awesome and played every song request straight away. Tonight, I found out tonight that the bat in my room was not a bat and I owe Sebastian an apology. It was a giant black moth that made noise when it flapped its giant wings!
Friday 23 Nov: This morning I met Sissi at Frisbee´s - a deep fried chicken restaurant with the most incompetent staff I have ever seen. We then drove to a very illegal shopping centre with cheap ´knock-offs´. I don´t know how it is so cheap- I´m not 100%2525 sure there is tax on the items? This includes alcohol
. A 1L bottle of rum is less than $10. I decided to buy a 1L bottle of Tanqueray (which was $18- expensive by comparison) and then caught a buseta back to Salitre to pack- before catching another buseta to Sissi´s to do the groceries for Guasca. For 6 people and 2 days we spent a lot on groceries! At 7:30pm, we picked up the last passenger and Sissi, Luisa, Sebastian, Sebas, Castillo and I started our drive to Guasca. It was about a 90 minute drive... and I lasted about 45 squished in the boot of the car with the bags and groceries. The other 45 minutes were 4 people in the back seat. Safety first :). The country house was really pretty. It was built a couple hundred metres from a mountain and was surrounded by fields and other big properties. They had 5 horses and some cows, ducks and chickens. But these were cared for by Fernando, the caretaker. That evening, we made a lot of pasta... before making a half-assed fire that was assisted with gasoline and playing drinking games (flip cup) and listening to top 40/ reggaeton.
Saturday 24 Nov: Today we woke up late and had scrambled eggs and arepas for breakfast. We then went for a hike on the mountain which involved crossing a river (hilarious watching people fall in), but then we went to an area where we could get into the river. It was so so cold, but the outside temperature was probably 22° and the sun was nice
. We then came back for some lunch. Morcillas, chorizos and arepas. After that, Sissi, Luisa and I went for a horseride on some very disobedient horses. I think they were a bit crazy because the 2 foals came with us and whinged the whole way. My horse was clearly temperamental and when it had had enough, it stopped walking. As soon as I turned it around, it was keen to get going again. Whatever horse. Sebastian and I then went for a quad bike ride and as I was patting a baby calf, a car of 3 drunk guys (the youngest was probably 14) stopped us and invited us to come drink (or buy) some agaurdiente. I dont speak spanish, let alone drunk spanish. That afternoon we went into Guasca town to pick up some more supplies and had a wander around town and the plaza. Dinner was steak, guacamole and mashed potato. Yum. At this point I was also told not to drink the tap water as it comes from the river. 24 hours late guys. :S Uh oh. However, I washed it down with some gin and some more flip cup beer. I was in charge of the fire tonight... and I don't want to sound too arrogant, but I am a bit of a boy scout. Admittedly I had to do a lot more wood runs, but the fire was still going almost 24 hours later when we left.
Sunday 25 Nov: Woke up late again and I made some crepes- but I put in too much flour and had no milk to thin the batter so they tasted like gluggy pancakes
. Oops. We then went down to the other house and the 4x4 track for some more quad biking. This is where I met Jeronimo (named today) - a very young puppy. He was very friendly and playful and we ran around before he got too hot and sat in the shade of my back. Very cute, but not as cute as Hugo tho :p. Lunch was really good today. Crispy marinated chicken, giant burgers and chips. At this point we had run out of drinking water- so people we drinking beer and coke to hydrate. What the? We had a very lazy afternoon and watched a French movie with Spanish subtitles. Intouchables. Does anyone else realise why this is a problem for me? French movie- Spanish subtitles. I had to concentrate so much throughout the movie- but I understood most of it. Worth watching (with English subtitles). At 6:00pm, we packed our stuff and said goodbye to Guasca.
Monday 26 Nov: I had a bad sleep last night. I think the river water might have caught up to me. If you catch my drift. After recovering, I proceeded to have another pointless day! I sent some more applications and then handed out 20 posters advertising work as an English teacher. Theoretically, this should advertise to a lot of people... but I doubt I will get any calls. Grr. I went to the shops, made a delicious ham and potato soup from scratch and went to bed.
Tuesday 27 Nov: Woke up, coffee, push-ups (I keep losing weight), Contiki assessment, tv
. Today was the first day I felt completely useless. I mean, I have been completely useless for 5 weeks, but today I felt that way. I have been overseas for almost 5 weeks and I have worked 3 hours. It´s getting ridiculous. I am used to working 50 hours a week and having stuff to do! A Contiki assessment can be done anywhere. Tonight, I was invited to Sebastians again for dinner and I told his Mum about my stress - because I have no stress. She and Sebastian told me I need to relax, because this is Colombia and I can´t expect to find a good job in a 3rd world country. I was also told to go and explore the country as there are many more touristy things to do- so I will get cracking on those. Then, she made 3 calls for me to her friends about my English job. I had also expressed my desire to volunteer if I couldn't find a job and she called a friend at Cruz Roja (Red Cross). It sounds very promising and her friend will call her tomorrow about positions which is really exciting. If I can´t work, I at least want to feel useful. I have been thinking more about what to do post-Contiki. I might be delusional with the lack of purpose, but I am seriously considering going back to uni for med... I dunno. The stupid giant moth was back tonight, again. I physically removed it from my room and put it out the window. There is no chance it is hiding in here anymore. So if it comes back, I might have to introduce it to Mr Shoe.
Sunday 18 Nov: Hmm. Following on from the previous blog, I did not get up and go for a run today. I stayed in bed with cramps all freaking day. They were really bad! They were under my ribs and were stabbing pains for over 24 hours. They were not accompanied by anything else and the word hospital and doctor was thrown around too many times. I took a dose of cement (as well as an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and antacid) and went to bed with the cramps. Blergh.