So, I can’t even count how many times I have gotten on the bus and seen someone I know even though there are hundreds of buses and a really ridiculous amount of bus companies. We tried to name them all the other day and we came up with 15 easily and there are of course some that we hardly use and couldn’t think of.
I love finding people in random parts of the city. I also love that Colombians pretty much assume I am Colombian unless I open my mouth to talk. So when a gringo friend gets on the bus and we start having a conversation, I love to see the faces of the Colombians who were near me when they hear me speak flawless English.
Well, I was leaving a play that I went to see and I was taking the bus home by my self. The bus was half full in a way that for every bench seat for two there was already one person. So you go through the turn style and scan to find the lesser of all evils and I see this guy with nerd glasses like mine. I took one look at him and thought, this guy is totally a gringo. However, I have been wrong before, there are some particularly gringo looking Colombians. Anyway he gets a phone call and I try and hear his accent as best as I could over the blaring vallenato music. And although his Spanish was good, I definitely picked up some gringaliciousness. So I ask him where he is from And I asked him in Spanish from and he answered that he was from China. “Completamente 100% Chino” he said and then I leaned in to get a better look at his eyes and he was totally not Chinese. I didn’t know what to say. Call his bluff and look like an idiot? Play along? I played along, “oh, that’s nice” then he asks where I am from and I said Chicago. Then I switched to English. He was taken aback that I was actually an American because I think he thought I was lying like he was. He’s from Kansas I found out and he teaches English at the local University. He says he lies about where he is from all the time because people just eat it up.. I’m going to have to try that one day. Anyway, I talked with him for the rest of the ride and then I got his info to friend him on FB. Nice guy. He plays in a bluegrass band in town. I’m going to have to check it out.
I was at a friend’s host family B-day party and they kept passing around appetizers and we thought these were going to be cookies but they were actually meat.. Delicious meat
Posh-Corps is what some people call what I am doing in Barranquilla now. After all the hype about PC and a year of preparing to give up all the 1st world amenities, I was ready to be put in an African hut, bathing out of a bowl and only being able to get on the internet once a month when I traveled into a city.
That’s not Barranquilla. PC officers call it the ‘urban jungle’. I suppose they say that to try and remind us that although we have running potable water, beds, pillows, locks on our concrete houses and in many cases wifi at home, it is not without its own set of challenges. I think Louis CK put it best in one of his comedy sketches about technology these days. For a long time, people went without ANY technology and were perfectly happy. When the first brick phone came out and cost a fortune and had horrible reception it was still amazing to use. As our expectations get higher our irritation grows with what is still truly an amazing thing. When people get mad at their 3G for going too slow to find an answer on Google, Louis CK retorts, “It has to go to SPACE. This little tiny phone is transmitting something that you can’t even see to space which has to send it to Google, who has to send the answer back to space and then back to your phone and you’re upset because it took more than 10 seconds?!”
I mention this because if I had been put in the wild somewhere living off of nature, I could live happily as people once did without internet. However, I’m not in the jungle or the desert, I’m in Barranquilla, with internet that loads pages as fast as my old computer would run video games off DOS. I sit watching a movie on NetFlix and catch myself having a conniption fit when the video won’t buffer as fast as it plays and it has to stop for more than 5 minutes to load the next 5 minutes.
Boo Hoo am I right?
I don’t have air conditioning. I suppose I can complain about that? At least I have electricity for fans in my room. Once, I used to ask that for once could we please have a day where the humidity percentage was lower than the temperature?? Then it was 113 degrees… and well, you can’t have more than 100% humidity because, well.. That’s rain… Although, I’m convinced some days that the humidity hovers at 99% and then without clouds, droplets just form and fall to the ground and then get evaporated instantly. Those are the days that your clothes feel wet, even though it’s not raining. Those are the days I wish I didn’t wear glasses. On days like that if you try and clean your glasses it only wipes around the grime and sweat that plagued them in the first place. And then you just wind up making designs on your lenses like you do when you try and wipe off the face sweat on your phone. It makes you really consider, “in which direction is this grease swipe going to be least annoying to me?”
Overall though, heat and all, I love it. It is very exciting every day. The people are sweet, and my new host family is just the best ever, I wish you could all meet them.
More to come 🙂