I write from the medium-sized city Manizales, on the spine of a mountain ridge, halfway between Bogota and Medellin. I’m typing at fast as I can to finish this post before I catch a bus to supposedly the best party in Colombia.
For the past three nights I’ve stayed with my American friend Justin who has been teaching English here for two years at a private high school. I met Justin while a study abroad student in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2004. As my semester was about to end and bags were packed to return to Costa Rica for the summer, I was in an internet cafe letting the then-girlfriend who left Mexico only a month earlier know that I would see her again soon. Justin just happened to be looking online for an apartment. With a prefaced apology for spying his screen, I told him I had a beautiful apartment overlooking the city center, with balcony doors that opened directly into the bedroom, let in church bell sounds, and created a surreal afternoon siesta space perfect for reading (and laying in bed below the transparent curtains that would blow inward like dancing ghosts). Ok, I wasn’t so poetic with the description but he came to look and ended up moving in that afternoon. We were roommates for four days, finishing final papers during the day, chatting literature at night, he an English teacher after all. On the fifth day I began a long bus ride back to Costa Rica. Justin and I have stayed in touch, and though I’ve technically only known him for a few days we’re practically best friends.
In an hour we’re heading to Medellin with his friends for the city-wide Feria de las Flores, a cultural festival with bands, parades, contests, dancing, expositions, and—as every Colombian man I meet likes to remind me—plenty of Colombian supermodels. You can view all the programmed events on the following link:
Around August 15th I’ll return to Bogota to reunite (again) with Bob and Surly, who by now have acquired some serious abandonment issues. Soon thereafter we will push onward to Ecuador.
Justin is moving to Brazil in five months, so our international encounters will continue south of the equator. It’s an unspoken contest to see whose Portuguese will be better when we meet again….