Some updates


Here’s an update on a couple of things that I wrote about in the last few months:


The block of flats next to the one that collapsed in October last year

was demolished on Thursday in a controlled explosion.


Falcao, Colombia’s star but injured striker is now walking without crutches.


And some new news: Colombia has taken over from Argentina

as Latin America’s third-largest economy. (Brazil and Mexico are numbers one and two).








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Bus ride to work


One day this week I paid attention and this is what I saw from the bus on my way to work:


an old man crouched over rubbish, recycling. He’s just found a torch,

which he checks to see if it works, then stores in a plastic bag.


a poster asking for help to find a missing poodle called Luna (Moon).


a mum getting her little boy ready for school with that universal maternal gesture

of a lick to the thumb and a wipe of the face.


angry graffiti: Education for all or for none! Don’t vote! Fight the system!

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Here’s something I learned about the new buses


The new buses up my hill work with the Civica,

a smart card you can use on various parts

of Medellín’s integrated transport network

and which you top up at the metro stations.


But what happens if you are at the top of a hill

and your card runs out? You get one journey on credit,

enough to allow you to get down to a metro station.

And only one, as one unfortunate lady discovered

on a bus I was on this week.


But us being in Medellín and all,

a kind passenger leapt up to pay her fare.

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A question expecting the answer no


I overheard a man saying to a child

in a place where there were lots of nice things to eat

You don’t want anything, sure you don’t?


It sounded mean, although it may not have been,

and I thought I’m glad God’s not like that.

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Sober truth


“It is when you stick to your call, however hard it is.

that your encounter the type of suffering

that contributes to great mission….

Persevering through inconvenience,

struggling to be productive against so many odds,

taking on suffering, sticking to unpleasant relationships

are what combine to produce great mission.”

Ajith Fernando in the preface to Sorrow and Blood.

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Bus buskers


One day last week there was a musician performing on the bus going to work

and a rapper (unusually for here, a young woman) on the bus going home.


The musician was playing a wreck of a guitar but had a lovely voice,

the rapper was slick, with hard-hitting lines about the reality of life here.


I thought, maybe one day this society will have progressed

to the extent that young people can get the funding they need to study

and won’t need to busk in buses. But bus rides would get duller.

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One day this week I left work early, around 3.40pm

and I thought Oh, the trains will be full of children

on their way home from school.


And then I thought, Oh no, that happens in Glasgow,

and I’m in Medellín.

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I’ll have a go at interpreting this political slogan


I am paying attention to the slogans in this round of electioneering.


Here’s one: We’re fed up of the disrespect, too!


I think they are trying to tap into a widespread disgust

at the excesses of the current crop of elected politicians.


For many, the ‘none of the above’ option on the ballot paper

is becoming increasingly attractive, not to say inevitable.

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A Pleasing Homonomy


What does the rice stuck on the bottom of the pan have in common

with a rope used to hang up a hammock ?


They can both be called pega in Spanish.


In fact, the rice scraped off the bottom of the pan is a delicacy here.

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Staggering stat


According to last week’s edition of Semana,

Colombia’s leading news magazine,

the Colombian police have arrested 866,526 drug-traffickers in Colombia

in the 20 years since the death of Pablo Escobar.


I’m not sure if that might mean that there have been

866,526 arrests for drug-trafficking, which would allow

for an individual being arrested multiple times,

or if there really are 866,526 (+ all the ones who haven’t been arrested)

drug-traffickers in Colombia, which is what the piece implies.

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