After farewelling Cliffy in Medellin I retuned home to Palermo and to lots of news.
Paula had come off her motorbike – almost in front of the house but had luckily escaped with only bad grazing to her arm and leg. Could have been much worse given she was wearing only shorts and a tshirt and no helmet. The bike came out unscathed save similar superficial wounds, that sadly would not heal naturally.
Zika had made its way to Palermo, with poor Valaria (Alejandra and Nelson’s daughter) being the first to contract it. Thankfully she recovered quickly. We later got news that the Health Department was coming to town for some community awareness raising.
The other news was that Paula had decided to go back to Australia at the end of August rather than the planned October. The house wouldn’t be finished but she planned to get as much done before she left and to finish it on her return in December. So, that all left me thinking about how I should spend the last month of my holiday. I still hadn’t got across to Cali (the third largest Colombian city, where most of Paula’s immediate family lived) or San Agustin (Colombia’s most important archeological site) and the beaches and jungles of Panama were still on my radar so it looked liked they were now pencilled in for September!
Life was pretty cruisy in the week I returned. Paula’s brother, Juan, had extended his visit from Israel and Liliana and Eugenio were across from Cali while Juan was in town. It was a full house again with lots of gatherings here and there.
One particularly memorable day started with a walk to Juan Saul and Marta’s finca, Potosi, where we lunched and swam in the pool. I was doing my best to stay off the drinks midweek until I lost some of the weight I’d gained over the four months so I just sat back enjoying the view and aguardiente fueled chatter while I sketched. We were all shuffled back to town for the final of a three game soccer series between Colombia and Ecuador. The mayor of Medellin (it was the Medellin team representing Colombia – Nacionale) had announced that if Colombia won the game that the next day would be a public holiday for Medellin! Nolberto at Cafe La Tertulia had set up a big screen and projector for the community to gather. I felt rather special when I arrived and a chair was brought over to me. The crowd went pretty wild after Colombia scored first. Ecuador just couldn’t match it so what do you do in Palermo when your team wins? Well, you all jump on your motorbike, in the back of a utes or cram into a car and head off in a procession to Tamesis with horns tooting in answer to each other. After a few victory laps of Tamesis – to the cheers of the green wearing Tamesis supporters – you head back to Palermo. What a funny day – such a passionate bunch of people these Colombians! Love it!
The next day I visited the house to see how things were going. The electrical and plumbing infrastructure was now in, including the septic system, so work was starting on the wall plastering. It was looking great but the piles of gravel on the access road were hindering a bit of progress so we were all wishing the evening rain would stop long enough for the road to dry so the gravel could be spread.
Juan Estevan, Elkin’s son, was back in town and staying up at Las Delicias so Juan Pablo had invited him, Paula and me up to his place for frijoles and ron! Knew the beans were likely to contain meat and I’m not a big rum drinker but it was the weekend so time to cut loose. I didn’t touch the beans and I was wishing the next day I hadn’t touched the rum – first big hangover since leaving Australia. On the encouragement of everyone I ventured back to bed in the hope of a miraculous recovery. It was so lovely and quiet up at Santa Teresa, overlooking Palermo in the distance.
The walk back down in the fresh air obviously did me good as I was back into my sketching and macrame hanger making by the afternoon. Yep, that’s right, old school macrame hangers! Pinterest had been giving me lots of great ideas for them.
The first English classes back after my break were a bit of a disaster. None of the kids showed up, likely caused by my late notices and the cancellation of the class days before because the library closed with no notice! But they were hanging around while I did the adult class so hopefully a few will remember the dates and times I gave them for the next week’s class. The time hadn’t been wasted as while I was waiting I had my macrame out and two of the town’s intellectually disabled adults took great interest in what I was doing so it turned into a craft lesson for Juliana and Viviana. It was lots of fun for me and them!
The running shoes were getting a work out again. I was now doing a daily hike up to Las Delicias having realised the former role it had played in my weight management here! That and the midweek alcohol abstinence had to make a difference!! I was also back at the gym doing yoga sessions so overall feeling pretty well in myself.
The Zika thing didn’t really concern me but I must admit I was a little concerned when ghostbusters came to town! The fumigation truck in Cuba had scared me but the fumigation guy going house to house in Palermo concerned me more. I was quite surprised by the acceptance by the townspeople to have their place fumigated without any information on what it contained or assurances about its safety. Would certainly have a different response in Australia!
My classes in the library were also disrupted as they came to fumigate just at the time the class for the little kids was to begin but thankfully one of the mums had offered to get access to the office above Cafe Tertulia. When she came back with the key she bought about 10 little 4 and 5 year old kids with her. They were so cute in their attempts to learn, trying to repeat everything I said. It felt like the classes were back into the swing of things, which was a relief given my little trip away in the next few days had been centred around returning in time for the classes next week.
Tomorrow I was planning on attempting a bit of a run out of town and then on Saturday I was off to Medellin for a bit of the Feria de Flores and then a couple of days chilling in Rio Claro; it’s a tough life!