Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Excuses, excuses

Thanks for making me miss yet another appointment, Access-A-Ride. (image source)

Sorry for not continuing my posts on my 6-week trip to Colombia. Yesterday I was too busy typing up posts for The Latin Americanist as well as running small errands on-line like checking dozens of e-mail messages and taking care of my bills. Today I was in a very good mood but that was dashed to bits on account that Access-A-Ride (AAR) screwed me over and never picked up me up for a pair of doctor's appointments. (Naturally that upset me for several reasons including the fact that the appointments were important and I missed the chance to flirt with the dental assistant like I tend to do when I get my teeth cleaned). For that matter, I'm still pissed off since I've had my share of problems with AAR over the past decade. However I will not get into detail over my many woes with AAR and I'll leave that for another post.

Hence, I'll post the second and final part of the "Palmero Diaries" tomorrow when I'm a little more calm and in the mood to be nostalgic.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this late December story from Gothamist of a hit-and-run accident caused by an AAR van. (Surprise, surprise)!

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Palmero Diaries, part one

The park located in the town square of La Palma, Colombia
(image via this site)

Before my trip to Colombia I promised myself that I would write a diary entry every day in an old, battered notebook that I’ve had for years. Upon my arrival I quickly broke that promise and decided to forget about writing in a journal. Nevertheless, I did write two entries when I was in La Palma- a small town located about 100 miles north of Bogota. The following is one of those entries (including a few brief afterthoughts in italics):

Monday December 18, 2006

It’s been Day 4 in my visit to the town of La Palma, Colombia. And I am somewhat bored.

Mind you, I can’t complain too much. I’ve been well taken care of by my extended family, especially my grandmother. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and have done many wonderful things for my brothers and I.

Unfortunately, I’m far too accustomed to life in the city to fully appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of living in a small, semi-isolated village. I suppose I’m not unappreciative of being here yet at the same time I’m not jumping for joy.

The main problem with living here is the lack of creature comforts I’m accustomed to. Like bathing, for instance. Normally a daily task I would do on my own I’m now forced to require the help of my mom to pour bowls of water on me every other night. (There’s a lack of potable water and the showerhead is broken). (Worse was that to fetch the shower water it was necessary to descend a steep staircase, fill a five-gallon pail with rainwater, and return up to the house and walk 20-meters to fill a barrel in the shower. After several trips my mother and aunts would end up exhausted. It hurt me greatly to see them go through so much just so we could shower).

Yet for all the lack of luxuries I usually take for granted there are the little things that make it all worth it. The best example of this is my two-year-old nephew (he’s really my cousin’s son) Juan Diego. I’ve taken quite a shining to the little tyke. I am attracted to playing with him; whether it be fiddling around with his toy cars or pretending to steal his nose. Why just the other day we pretended too fight with one another- him slapping my hand telling me to “go away” (“Vetese de aqui!”) while I playfully and lightly punched his forehead. He kept falling over laughing wildly as we “fought” one another. (Unfortunately, we stopped our bouts of play-fighting in late December when he accidentally fell and knocked his head twice on the hard wooden floor. A minor battle scar, perhaps?) All the times I play with “Juandis” make me nostalgic for the bygone days when I’d take care of my brothers during their infancy. It also make me yearn for the day in the (hopefully) not too distant future when I will take care of my own children and nurture them as best as possible.

Just the other day I thought of Cris (a.k.a. the young lady I tried to impress by trying to become a vegetarian) and how much I miss her. She was one of the few friends I could ever confide my most private thoughts to. Yes, I wish we could’ve been a couple and it still hurts that that could never be the case, yet it hurts more that our friendship has become increasingly distant. Dammit, I really miss her. (I wrote to her in early December before leaving for Colombia and three weeks ago when she sent me an automatic change-of-e-mail-address message. She’s yet to reply).

In the meantime I’m happy to say that nobody on my dad’s side of the family has decided to disturb us. (Sadly and pathetically, some of them ode us and have even accused us of killing him on purpose in order to pocket his money. Imbeciles). Do understand that I did not say that for my own sake but since father was insistent on family unity and the need to cherish one another. Believe it or not I bear no ill will towards those that hate me, but instead pity that they should think in such a despicable and unfortunate manner. (I found out a few days ago that one of my aunts on my dad’s side rudely remarked that she should not be compared “to those despicable and shameless murderers” when she was questioned about us by an acquaintance. Idiocy knows no bounds). I hope that sometime in the month that I’m here I can go visit my dad’s grave and quietly express my eternal love, admiration, and gratitude towards him. He deserves it.

Last night we gave away Christmas gifts to the family. That was undoubtedly the best part of being here; the opportunity to bring joy and thank them for all they the care they’ve given to us. I guess that’s what makes this trip worth all the time, money and energy; the chance to thank them all for the beauty and benevolence they represent. Beyond the petty complaints I love them all and I don’t want to be anywhere else on Earth.

Tomorrow I’ll have the other entry to my journal as well as a prologue to my three-and-a-half weeks in La Palma, Colombia. I’ll try to include some photos I took, too.

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