You may have noticed that Intrepid Den has taken over my blog...here's the next instalment from Columbia!
I left the lovely Casa Familiar after a weird trip into town. My reading glasses had gone awry and needed fixing. I thought it was just a case of tightening a screw but no. It was more serious. The man on the street directed me to a proper glasses shop. Miraculously, I found it. He looked at my glasses, moved the arm alarmingly and spoke to me in Spanish. The dictionary came out – it wouldn't take long and it would cost 10,000 pesos (£2.50). I handed him my very expensive glasses and took a seat. Shortly after wards, I saw him holding the broken arm, unattached to the glasses and feared the worst. Minutes later, he returned them to me completely repaired! Bravo! I then went to an ATM to withdraw cash. In these private booths, you get mere moments to complete your transactions, obviously to default fraud but as a foreigner, it just isn't enough time. I thought I'd requested £150 but instead, only £75 came out. I thought of going into the bank to question the amount but what would I say - “I speak no Spanish but...”. I decided to leave it to providence and went to another bank which just spat the money out, no problem. I then went to the supermarket to stock up – Taganga, my next stop has nothing in the way of anything as far as I could make out on my recce a few days ago. I bought coffee, lactose free milk and a big bottle of rum to go with the 3 bottles of wine I already had – well I was going to be there for maybe two weeks!
I packed my bag, stashing the booze, a kilo of brown sugar (?), nearly a kilo of coffee (I drink a lot), fruit and salad – even I questioned my sanity and when it came time to check out, even the maids were alarmed at the apparent weight of my bag and offered to help me down the stairs with it. I thought that if it was dropped, it would look like a blood bath from the wine and smell like a drunk from all the rum...
Fabio rang a taxi for me, we took photos and he mimed crying. I mimed it too – for nearly a week, we've been miming everything and it has been such a laugh and a treat. He has been such a memorable host. The taxi arrived and it took two of us to carry the bag to the car. It took up the whole of the back seat – I had to sit in the front, and when we finally pulled away, waving as we went, the car could barely move under the weight. The taxi driver assured me he knew where Villa Mandela was but even so, at the first corner, he called to Fabio's son for directions. I said, in a language he didn't understand, that I knew the way – I'd already been there and as a Despatch Rider in London for four years, if I can't remember the way, then no one can.