Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Los Llanos

On the third day, when it was finally sunny, I sat by the pool the whole day, rubbing in coconut oil that smelt like bananas and reading my book The Covenant – (thanks Mum, it really is interesting). I was just in ore of my surrounding; I came to realize that the tree most representative of happiness and peace is not the olive tree, but the palm tree, how can you be sad looking at that! And yes, we drank straight out of the coconuts with a straw pierced through a slice of lime… heaven. Everything was so green, rich bright wet green in contrast with a blue sky which seemed so high because of the clouds and the dark blue mountains to the north. Cata, Stephy and I went horse riding, I lied and said I couldn’t ride so I’d get the slowest and oldest horse! It was great, I just sat there, the horse knew where it was going… I realized pretty quickly that it didn’t like walking on the rough cobble stone or through the puddles (lakes!), so because I had the best view we weaved our way up the road, and of course on the way home all the horses walked twice as fast.

Sammie commented that my blog was too impersonal, so I’m taking guidance from Gilly’s new blog and will try and make my entries a little more diary like.

Of course, I have to mention the food… Dad, you would have loved it! Each lunch time we stopped at a roadside dinner and gorged on BBQ meat, Mamona style. The technique is to skewer whole sides of beef with a long stick and then rest this vertically on the edge of a huge open fire place. The beef grills for up to six hours and the result is very tender meat with a crispy fatty outside, this was served in large chunks on flat banana leaves accompanied by piles of potatoes and platano, about 3 large dishes for all the family to share. Again, I had to wonder why the Aussie´s think they are the BBQing nation.

It was just really peaceful to be in the country again to hear crickets at night and to wake up to squawking parrots. To have chickens and ducklings roaming the gardens and to hear the cattle grazing in the paddocks. But what made me think of home was the sweet exotic smell of the moon flower plant. Just like the one at Hovenden that only blooms at night.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

I’ve the fever


This morning I spent most of my Spanish tutorial cheering on Australia as the Socceroos scored three times in eight minutes to beat Japan 3-1. I’ve been bitten by the fútbol bug… please send me Aussie T-shirts, zinc cream and stuffed Koalas. It’s great because all Colombians are supporting Australia because we beat Uruguay and the Colombians think Uruguayans are cheats… or something like that.

Even last night when I was having dinner at Frida, a Mexican restaurant, two men were walking around measuring the dinning room walls and debating where to put another television… one guess what that was about.

Also at 3pm this afternoon Brazil is playing someone (please I have no idea!) so everyone is desperately making excuses not to be at work… in the UK it’s been termed Soccer Leave, it’s the new Sick Leave.

Friday, 9 June 2006

Ringxiety (ring.ZY.uh.tee) n.

1.The confusion experienced by a group of people when a cell phone rings and no one is sure whose phone it is. 2. Mistaking a faint sound for the ringing of one's cell phone.

In the long month that I was without a mobile phone I am embarrassed to admit I suffered from ringxiety. I would catch myself looking for my phone in my handbag to check for messages, or I would experience audio illusion, mistaking the sound of traffic or a faint noise for the sound of my phone ringing, beeping or vibrating. It was the telecommunication equivalent of phantom limb syndrome, where amputees still feel the sensations of a limb that isn't there any more.

I guess my addiction has slowly grown over the last eight years, since my first pink flip phone back in high school (sigh). So, to feed my habit, I’ve recently connected with Comcel – I’m a whole person again.

I´ll have an O … make it a double.

Yesterday I voluntarily pushed plastic tubes up my nose to sniff – no, not cocaine - but oxygen! After yet another long night of partying (opening night for Fiesta del Mar) I was willing to try anything to lessen my hangover and this new and unusual kind of diversion looked promising… sooo Californian.

You know how there are certain acknowledged social conventions that apply when in a bar. Well, those rules don’t seem to apply at an Oxygen Bar; it feels very unnatural to have a casual conversation with someone when you’re both tethered by the nose to a bubbling machine. Luckily there were stacks of glossy magazines, so the unspoken consensus was to relax, read and quietly sip our herbal teas. I was slightly concerned I would have some kind of 1993 relapse of accidentally siphoning the drink back though my nose, but it was fine, I was able to continue my appearance of composition and tranquility as my detox mixture of pumpkin, coco, lime and caffeine bubbled over my head.

Afterwards I´ll admit I felt more clear headed - pretty much the opposite of how I normally feel when leaving a bar – but how much of the effect was real, or imagined I can’t say. I think it just helped to sit and breathe deeply for 15 minutes, but then, that wouldn’t be as cool would it?

Tuesday, 6 June 2006


This church perched on a mountain overlooking the city of Bogotá expounds the catholic belief: to suffer. Luckily we didn’t have to walk the 100m high mountain, but took a funicular instead. Still, many people climb all the way to the church and then – for added grace - crawl on their knees for the last 50m including up stairs leading to the entrance!

What was really charming and sooo Colombian, was that next to this religious monument there was a market including makeshift bars offering hot panella (sugar) drinks doused in the infamous aguadiente. And it was 10am – a religious experience in itself.

I bought some gloves knitted with little pictures of llamas… yes, I think the altitude and drink went to my head.

Oh, and then, I became a television star… (link coming soon).

It almost grows on trees

A group of Colombians based in Bogotá were found last week to be counterfeiting Australian Dollars! Can you believe it! I thought that was the stuff of fairytales, it seems I was too naive. It’s estimated that there is $3 Trillion dollars of fake money in circulation, of that $42 Billion is in Australian dollars. I though our monopoly coloured plastic was the most difficult to reproduce, obviously not.