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Where I stayed
La Calera/ my own apartment/ random fincas
What I did
Andres Carne de Res

Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, March 30, 2012

Ok, so a lot has happened since my last entry.
In short: my family returning to Australia, a change in marital status, a new apartment, a couple of holidays and getaways here and there, an increase in the party life. Where to start...

SO. After my family left, I was feeling a little downhearted. I missed them a lot, situations with the other half weren't going so well, I was having trouble finding an apartment...
 
Then things changed. The marital status changed for the best, I found a job I love and a room in an apartment in a really central area. I partied (a lot), traveled and began my new, independent life.

New, independent life

Holidaying in a country is one thing, but living there is completely different. You have to get yourself set up. Thankfully I got a job pretty much immediately...unfortunately I was still living at La Calera. Early mornings are an understatement when living that far away. Within two weeks I got an even better job with better hours, pay and insurance. A job which I love! 
I had a little trouble finding a room in an apartment but I got there in the end: the apartment is near a gym, supermarket, hairdresser, lots of restaurants and a walking distance to the nearest mall. 
I live with three people (officially, though there's always more around).
It's so good to have your own keys to your own apartment (well, room in an apartment) and be able to come and go wherever and with whomever you want.

Tolima
 As for holidays, I have only made two trips since I started working at MyFavouriteJob and they were both to Tolima, a hotter region about five hours away from Bogota. 
The first time I escaped a very cold and emotionally draining Bogota to be with my uncle and his family. To finally be in the sun, swimming for the first time in months (maybe 10!) was a liberating feeling. It reminded me of home and made me miss it, but it instilled in me a passion to travel a lot while living in Colombia.

That first trip, I managed to get a small taste of Ibague (the capital city of Tolima) in that short weekend away. My uncle showed me one of the churches he restored, they gave me Tamales Tolimenses (the best kind) and we went to Tierra Caliente, a resort with a huge variety of swimming pools and even a zoo. I spent a gloriously warm day with my uncle, his lovely wife and my new cousin. We also visited St. Luis, a tiny (tiny tiiiiiiiny) town where another cousin works at a hospital. She has to do some rural experience for a year before she can work at a hospital in the city.

The Saturday night, my cousin and I went to a night club I believed is call Tereque, a kind of rural looking nightclub at which I have since had mixed experiences.

Andres Carne De Res
There are two, one in Chia (the first and most famous) and one in Bogota D.C.http://www.andrescarnederes.com/ 
I went to the one in Chia, with a bunch of crazy people and hung out with even crazier ones. The group was for Hostel owners and guests promoting their hostels so I met a variety of foreigners and locals. All insane. 
There I met someone who would enable the next trip to Tolima...

Tolima Two
So this revisit to Tolima was basically a whirlwind decision to even go. Somebody else's spontaneous invitation became a whole trip of spontaneous decisions. 
The first night, thanks to some random Colombian connections (not my own), we stayed at the President of Colombia's finca... location undisclosed.
The next morning we were kicked out by the mal parida and crazy housekeeper who confiscated some of our stuff and sent us on our way early the next morning.

After that debacle we were kind of drifters, waiting for various people in charge of accommodation to get back to us. That was a couple of hours of filling up the time with devious things, not to mention Melgar (where we spent most of the day, another part of Tolima) is humid and we hadn't bathed since the day before. It was pretty late when we finally had (another) finca arranged for us. To this day I have no idea where it was but it was somewhere between Melgar and Girardot. As soon as we got there it was BOOM shower time and then out again. Where? Back to Tereque. 
That night was not something I'd like to repeat.

Cut to the next day, a hungover mess. Get some of that Colombian chicken a la parilla in you after a big night and voila, good as new (I swear, the chicken in Colombia is the best I've tasted around all the world). 
 Then it was off to a parecero's very hospitable aunt's house to have lunch and a swim and then the Girardot Reggae festival! For free (each ticket costs around $140.000)! Highlights were Inner Circle (yes, they're still around! Remember? Girl I want to make you sweat, sweat til you can  sweat no more...) and Kinky, a Mexican electro-rock band. They are LOUD. One parcero was so high he got freaked out and we had to move as far away as possible from them.
Memories include: getting separated from the rest of the group, sneaking into the hotel pool, meeting random parceros with promises of the hotel jacuzzi, finding out they meant the jacuzzi in their rooms, running away, finding the rest of the group, getting even more crazy, losing them again, two of us girls getting filmed bursting a water balloon between our chests, getting interviewed about it, getting lost in the labyrinth of clubs and stages, kissing in the rain and coming down from the clouds and watching/looking after the other crazies.
We were there from 4pm one day until 6am the next day. One would think I would feel worse than I had the day before, given the things that occurred, but no! I woke up feeling (and looking) better than before, much to the disbelief of my hungover companions.

A crazy weekend, though one I wouldn't change.
We are featured on this website: 
http://www.soho.com.co/web/multimedia/hot-paraiso/26221 

 
Festival de Teatro Iberoamericano
If you ever have the chance, go to Bogota during this time. This theatre festival is well-known in South America and is gaining recognition around the world. They don't just present shows from Colombia, they invite performance companies from all over the world. This year the featured country is Russia. 
So far I have seen Tom Tom Crew (from Aus!) do their crazy acrobatic, Tarzan drumming, beat boxing thing and I was impressed. I also went to the inauguration parade with some housemates and saw some pretty colourful costumes and performances.
 
Jawbreaker
My most recent accident. My mum said I was a cat when it comes to accidents, which means I have six lives left. I lost my ninth life when I fell down a drain at age five and split my head and chin open. I lost my eighth this year when my ex crashed the quad bike and I split my head open. I lost my seventh a couple of days ago when I fainted at friend's place and split my chin open and fractured it, along with two jaw fractures.
First the ambulance drivers said "oh, it's only a scratch" but we insisted they take me to the hospital. Fifteen hours and many tests later, I find out the real diagnosis.
I am currently back in La Calera, being looked after by my lovely tios. They took me home that night and I will be interchanging between here and Bogota after my "surgery" (I don't know what else to call it. They're wiring my mouth shut for a while!) in two days.
My party and travel plans will have to be put on hold for a while and I'm really anxious to get back to work, but sometimes you've just got to sit back and wait for things to fall into place. 
In the case of my jaw, I mean that quite literally.
  
 



 
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