Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Leave Colombia

18 September 2009

I leave Colombia...

With a counterfeit 10,000 peso note. Not sure how it ended up in my wallet, but it has quickly become my favorite souvenir.

Maybe with a few extra pounds around the waistline, thanks to too many cold cervezas, freshly-roasted corn on the cob drenched in butter, sinfully yummy treats made of arequipe (basically caramel) and the arepas. Oh those damn arepas... imagine a big piece of corn bread in the shape of a thick pancake, lightly fried in oil and butter, and filled with a sweet white cheese that oozes out as you try to slow the speed of inhale. It's heaven on the go for a snacker like me.

With tremendous respect for a culture that is diverse, progressive and open-minded. I never once felt odd for being a solo female traveler. I was never stared at or made to feel uncomfortable or intimidated in any way, as I might be in many other corners of the world. Here's a secret for you: Women completely rule in Colombia. They are modern, educated, sophisticated and confident. Just don't tell the guys this. They would probably deny it.

Having made new friends from Montevideo to Asuncion to Alberta to Tel Aviv, not to mention every corner of Colombia. This is why I travel, after all.

With a few new excellent slang words to round out my Spanish vocabulary.

Waxed, manicured and pedicured for such little money that I felt compelled to give the gals a ridiculously large tip.

With immense appreciation for a remarkable country and its incredibly kind people. I have never before felt so totally welcomed or unconditionally accepted as a foreigner. In every respect, Colombia greeted me with open arms.

Equal parts grateful and annoyed that as a well-kept white girl from the United States, I generally breeze through security and Customs without a second glance. I recognize that I probably just jinxed myself.

So excited to finally be en route to Brasil that I might start jumping up and down and screaming with glee right here in the Customs line at the airport in Bogotá. But I won't. See previous mention.

With the knowledge that I can live and survive just about anywhere, all I need is a yoga mat, a decent pillow and an internet connection.

On my way to Rio but already wondering where the next adventure might take me.

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