Coffee Strike


Did you notice that the coffee jar was empty this morning?

Was there only hot water to be had from the coffee machine at work?


No? Of course not. Just teasing.


Unfortunately, the Colombian coffee growers’ strike,

now into its fourth day, will not have such an instant effect

on coffee consumption in the rest of the world.


But their blockades of roads in coffee-growing areas

are having an impact on the local economy.


So as you enjoy that cappuccino spare a thought

for the hard-pressed coffee farmers,

striking for better conditions in a context

where they would make much more money

growing the other drug beginning with c.

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Someone from the Coast happened to be visiting my office

and I was showing him our materials.

His eye happened to catch a phrase in a lesson about David and Jonathan.

(It was an interview with Jonathan about his friendship with David

based on 1 Samuel 20).


He laughed and said, But that’s how we speak on the Coast.


I was so chuffed.

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Last week the TV in the bar beside my church

was showing a video by Salsa Celtica,

a band that plays Scottish tunes

with Latino rhythms.


I guess that means they have really arrived!

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Security Update


I actually went to work that day.

Don’t tell my mum.

(Oh, wait. She reads this blog.)


I had two or three important things to do in the office

and I phoned first to check how things were

and everybody seemed quite calm

so I went.


It was very quiet in the streets

and everybody admitted to

having been scared the day before.

But there was nothing to see.

Not even more police.

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How do you say it?


Do you have a saying for when someone stands between you and the TV?


In Scotland we say, You’d make a better door than a window.


In Bogotá they say, Your dad didn’t make windows.


On the Coast they say, Donkey meat isn’t transparent.

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Tonight’s dilemma


My office is in a neighbourhood that has experienced

an upsurge in gang-related violence over the last few days.

There have been several killings;

the schools have been closed;

there is an 8pm curfew.


So should I go to work tomorrow?


Don’t worry, I have already decided not to.

It only took me about half an hour of humming and hawing.

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What do you think might be the most read item on this blog?

Maybe the only proper poem on here?

Or the description of my action-packed taxi ride to church?

Or what about the piece that explains its odd title?


No, it’s none of the above.


The most read item is entitled A Colombian Joke

and it has had more than 1000 hits,

mostly from readers in the United States.


If you look for a Colombian joke on Google,

my Colombian joke is the second suggestion on the first page!

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Do you have a grapefruit side?


I puzzled over an advert for a new flavour of juice

until I looked up the word toronja.


It means grapefruit and the advert says

unleash your grapefruit side.


Which just sounds downright odd in Engish,

don’t you think?

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Wrong again


I saw this headline in the local paper:

Medellín suffering from drought.

And since it had rained heavily all that week

(sometimes on me),

I thought that was a bit unlikely.


I looked closer and discovered

that it was the local football team,

Deportivo Independiente Medellín,

that was suffering a goal drought.

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