As I’ve hinted at before, there are many reasons why I’m still here in Colombia, instead of where I thought I’d be right now. I feel as though this country has thrown down its challenge to me, and I’ve found that when I accept, I’m richly rewarded. There is such a massive variety of things to see and do, so many different ways of being, and so many amazing people.
Honestly, though, it is really that last aspect, the people that I’ve met, that sealed the deal between Colombia and me. In the tradition of films like Six Degrees of Separation, Magnolia, and Lantana, but without the raining frogs or heartache, my Colombia Magic is unfolding as a complex web of wonderful people and their narratives. Here, I’d like to trace a few strands of this mesmerising web.
Below is Vanessa Adatto. You may remember her from such films as the Feria de Arte Contemporáneo at Bogotá’s Odeón Theatre. Well, it just so happens that I met Vanessa by pure chance on the streets of Glebe, Sydney, long before I ever thought I’d end up in big, bad Bogotá. It would turn out that, on my second day in this fair city, while I was still bewildered and overwhelmed by its energy, I went to meet her at her work, as she was really the only person I knew living in Colombia. It was great to see her, but there were some random gringos hanging around her trying to talk to her as well.
Little would I know that I’d end up living with two of them, who make a living riding motorbikes around Colombia, and are pretty damn cool (more about them later), or that I’d end up working with their mate, Sarah, another bloody Aussie!!
You may know Sarah Duncan from such blogs as this one.
I ended up having a great Candelaria dinner with Sarah, Jack, Jean, and their friend Tom that night; and just happened to mention that I might possibly start looking for a place to live in the Bog. Well, the very next day, Sarah took me to the place from which she had just moved out, and I liked it so much, I moved in the next day. I would find out that Andres; the tall, wacky, and genuinely all-round good guy who works at the Cranky Croc (where I was staying) lived there too. Later on, Sarah would suggest that I apply for a job at this cool blog she worked for, and I’d end up meeting Paul, Marcela, JL, and all the other amazing people that work here.
Another sub-plot figures another bloody Aussie I adopted as my little brother, James, while I was still at the hostel. We ended up going to Salento together to play pool, and we met an Aussie chick, Tess, that was working at the beautiful hostel we stayed at, and who told us we should watch the cricket with her that night. How cool and rare is that?
When I got back to the Bog, I finally got in touch with this random Aussie James had met at the gym. James had told me I should talk to him, because he was teaching English, and I wanted a bit of extra work. It didn’t sound dodgy at all. Anyway, this gym guy, Dave, was staying at the Explora hostel, and told me I should head around to talk about the teaching gig. Who should I run into when I got there, but Tess, who was now working there instead? Dave, against all odds, ended up being a cool guy, too, and got me teaching work; and Tess suggested I work at the hostel as well, as they were looking for someone for the bar. In the space of a week, that Colombia magic ensured that I’d go from zero jobs to three, and meet some of the most interesting, if eccentric, people you’d ever be lucky enough to know.
There are other subplots of Colombia Magic, including a Swedish chef who saved my life in Tayrona; a DJ from Medellin passionate about arepas and Madonna; and Colombian Irish folk dancers. However, I’m afraid those are stories for another day.