I can’t believe it is time to write this wrap up! I knew it was coming but now I sit in my hotel lobby counting my final five hours in South America. To be honest I am ready. Where as two weeks ago I couldn’t fathom leaving, now I feel complete. For now.
The final two weeks have probably been the most challenging so far. The big shift in weather from beaches and sun to a constant grey really affected my mood. This and I also found Bogota challenging to navigate, the rapid bus system is an excellent solution and I should have made an effort in my first week to get a pass and learn. By the second week I went with uber, cheap and safe but you also encounter Bogota traffic.
Hindsight is wonderful and I wouldn’t write Bogota off in further travels as the food,culture and nightlife is spectacular. However for me I would probably only spend a long weekend here. The highlight of the last 2 weeks was funnily enough back in Medellin. Where I spent one more weekend to see a concert. This had been on my bucket list since 2016. Super Concierto had a huge line up, however I was there for Reggaeton Super star J Balvin and Salsa God Marc Anthony. Neither disappointed and the sheer size of the venue and energy of the crowd was amazing.
There is so much to reflect upon but my biggest takeaway is the joy of an unexpected suprise. Argentina was my first stop and set the tone with beautiful wine and food. The brisk days and cobble stone streets of San Telmo were romantic and surreal. For the amount of time I spent there it still holds a special place.
In Colombia the suprise of new friends, dancing on the street and crazy adventures goes without saying. However I realised there are smaller moments that as a stuffy gringo with an Australian upbringing I found wonderful. There is a genuine affection here within families. Husband and wife regularly call each other “my love, my life,my soul,my heart” which to me seems much more honest then my traditional generic “Hey Babe”.
People speak to each other in the lift. Every place I stayed, I was greeted and wished a wonderful day. I know I certainly keep to myself at home and at most give a forced smile and “hi”. On the bus there were buskers, they would greet the bus good day AND the passengers would respond! Even if they had no intention of tipping.It is these little courtesies that gave me a smile in unexpected moments.
Now I know I am romantacising to an extent, there is a lot of things “wrong” with the country. I am more aware of my security then I would be in Perth to an extent. Although I would say an equal level as if I was walking through Northbridge solo late at night. I have definitely been scammed and over charged for things because I am an easy target. The assumption is I am a stupid, rich white guy. In truth they aren’t wrong although our ideas of “rich” are very different. While I could easily focus on this and give you a dollar sum or assume everyone is out to get something off me the truth is there has been so much more good here. Colombians by nature are wonderful people and the time/events/drinks/food given to me freely more than balance out a few dollars here and there.
Back at the concert the final song by Marc Anthony was Vivir mi Vida. This was the closing song of my fringe world show Tel LA Novela as I liked what it said about the next chapter in my life. As I have wound my way through these years and indeed written the next chapter that song always pops up to remind me. Especially when I feel lonely or challenged. Live my life for me and no one else. Through rain, grey skies, sunshine, friends, good times and bad. You get one shot, “Que la Vida es una sola.”
I am so grateful to everyone who has made this country so special for me. Family and friends across the world have realy come together to support me. Weather you are in Australia, Venezuela or Colombia thanks for everythjng you have done.Colombia has not seen the last of me but for now voy a España!