No more freezing feet


Colombia has a new low-cost airline called Viva Colombia,

which is going to revolutionize my trips to the Coast.


Instead of a 10-hour bus trip, I can now fly in 55 minutes,

and what’s more, it’s cheaper. Happy days!

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Taxi ride to Church 5


A woman steps gingerly round a man sleeping in the doorway of her house.


The taxi driver picks up his Sudoku to do at the traffic lights.


A prostitute admires the highlights in the hair of a colleague.


No one got murdered.

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Another conversation in church


I asked an older lady in church where she was from and this is what she said:


Well, we were displaced. Sixty two years ago. At the beginning of the Violence.

In those days it was the Conservatives against the Liberals,

and we were Liberals and my mother was a Protestant, which made things worse.

They killed my father, and burnt our house down.

We were meant to have been in the house

when it burnt down, but the people who were meant to do it

were acquaintances of ours, so they put us in a truck,

and said, Get out of here, and never come back because if you do, they’ll kill us.

We weren’t rich, but we had land, we grew coffee,

and yucca, and different kinds of banana.

It was hard, sometimes we had to sleep on the pavement,

and three months after we were displaced my little sister was born.

But I must say, the experience made us a strong as a rock

and here I am as a witness to what happened.

And God never abandoned us.

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Travel advice for Colombia you won’t get in guide books (3)


Well, not really travel advice,

more like a piece of advice on cultural norms.


If you want to show how tall a person is,

especially a small person,

you indicate it with your hand sideways,

not with the palm facing down.


Showing height with your palm facing down

indicates the size of an animal,

and it’s quite rude to use it when talking about a child.

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Things I Saw This Week


A man with odd shoes on: one white, one black.

A man sleeping on the pavement with one shoe on and one bare foot.

A prostitute with the face of an angel.

Some little male football players trying to get their female coach’s

ear-studs back in (on the metro).

And a duo whose act at the traffic lights included heading a ball back and forward

while juggling.

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7 Things I Can’t Do


1. See magic eye pictures.

2. Reverse park.

3. Roll my tongue.

4. Understand Colombia’s Valued Added Tax.

5. Eat only half a Wispa.

6. Use chopsticks.

7. Climb a rope.

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On Sunday our water went off for a few hours.

On Monday I got a recorded phone message

telling me that our water was going to be off on Tuesday.


It wasn’t.

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Nearly local


I was making a purchase in a business downtown yesterday

when the guy asked me Are you from Bogotá?

From Bogotá! Not from far-away, slightly comical Pasto,

but from the the capital city!


So far no one in Medellín has mistaken me for a local,

although very occasionally someone on the Coast does,

because they think that people with eyes like mine are Paisas.


Apart from working on my accent,

I’d probably need to have plastic surgery

to fit in here fully!

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62 days till Christmas


As a lugubrious taxi driver told me the other day

It’s nearly the end of the year

and that explains why Medellín’s spectacular

Christmas lights are going up all over place.


No inflatable Santas yet

but I have seen several Christmas trees.

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