¡Qué larga semana!
I have been to Gautavita, Villa de Leyva, Zipaquira, Sogomoso, Diatermo, Paipa, Tunja and back to Bogota.
Lots happening this week but so as not to bore you i'll make it short!
We head off to Guatavita to the home of the next Rotary Governor Luis Jaime Carrera and his wife Marcella. On route we go to the rotary club of Zipaquira and to the salt cathedral which was built underground in the saltmines. its fascinating and huge!!
From there we head up to Luis Jaimes House. Its a beautiful place high up in the mountains overlooking Guatavita lake. Marcella is a singer so we sing all night! well she does - we are instructed to listen!
In the morning we go to a riding school for children with disabilities where the rotary club present them with new wheelchairs. It was a bit bizarre because we didnt know that would happen and i felt a little out of place but the guy who owned the riding school was quite decent and we chatted away to the kids.
Later we headed off to El Dorado Laguna Gautavita where it is said that the Muiscas threw gold into the lake as an offering the gods. It was a long way up (by foot) to get to the top of the hill where the laguna was and i was knackered! It didnt feel warm but by the time we got back to Luis Jaime`s house i was burnt like a lobster! More rotarians (there are loads of them believe me!) came to the house and there was a guy playing the accordian and singing. We hung out with the housekeeper and her daughter - my new wee mate Lupita!
Oh and the cow gave birth to a calf!
We started to head off to Villa de Leyva. Ian had complained of a sore stomach earlier, the same sore stomach he had had for a few days. We stopped off at a roadside cafe as he felt sick so we thought we would let him rest but he started to feel worse so we took him to a medical centre in the nearby town. Liz, who is a nurse stayed with him but it became apparent that he was quite ill so he was taken by ambulance to the next biggest town Choconta to the hospital there. They would only let one person in so we ended up speaking to Liz through the fence surrounding the hospital grounds. We had set off about 9am and by 6pmish we found out that he has suspected appendicitis. We called a few rotary people and like International Rescue, Gloria the governors wife appeared and arranged for him to be taken by private ambulance back to Bogota some 1.5hours away where he was taken into surgery and had his appendix whipped out pronto style by the top surgeons in the area. We were told to continue on to Villa de Leyva and we arrived very late through a wee cobbled street where we were met by Doctor Sunbedtanlover (cant remember his name!) who took us up to the house of Jose Antonio Salazar. Jose wisnae hame cos he wiz meeting Obama so his housekeeper showed us to our rooms. It was a strange day and it felt strange to be only 4 of us. Slept in a bunk bed again! Getting used to negotiating wee stair ye know.
We kept in touch with mission central and they let us know that Ian was well and his operation went fine. We headed down into the main town area via a local housing project that ROtary had funded for single mothers and also to an archelogical site of the muiscas. From there we headed to a school and the young people gave us a presentation of their social enterprise ideas. Micro business is a big thing here however was a bit concerned that a lot of the young people were into starting up alcohol businesses `- in fact 2 girls had made thier own baileys type drink. I was delicios but i was still worried! YOu can so smell the onions being planted in the field round here! Delicious!
Later in the afternoon we escaped el clutches of rotary and wandered round the town (see photos - muy lindo!) I bought a great bag made from an old record cover. 10 squid goes to the person who can email me what the name of the record was!
Later we went to another rotary meeting but this one was more relaxed and Johnny Depp cooked us dinner (well he looked like him after a few vinos) We danced, we talked about films, somebody`s mama was inaugurated into the club, we drank and we ate! Twas a good night. Earlier in the day i seen some travellers wandering through (the rucksack and dreads gave it away). I was sitting by myself in the main square listening to my music (80`s film soundtracks - very surreal) and people watching and had itchy feet not to come home but to follow them to whereever they were going next!
I`m rolling two days together as that is what it feels like! So we go to Tunja get transported to Paipa and then to Duitama and Sogamoso and stay again in Paipa. Well Paipa hotel.......The Shining or if you are old enough to remember Trusthouse Forte Hotel resort in 70`s Aviemore. From sitting in the reception with its piped Rod Stewart to its 1988 upgrade nuveou art on the walls it was all a bit bizarre! The spa waters....well they were cleaning the pool when i went up but i was reassured that they were warm and soothing and stank suitably of eggs! Very quickly i was uncomfortable being thanked by some children for giving them new school uniforms at a deaf school, learned more about the Muiscas at a museum, learned the history of Tunja from a famous (in Colombia) author and also chatted away to a rotarian about taking an exchange student for 4 months to live with me in Glasgow. He didnt ask if i had a spare bedroom so Mum/Claire please be prepared to clear out your spare rooms! Colombians are coming to town!
The best bit of the Paipa has to be Liz falling into bed and politely asking me if i can clean up her projectile vomit as her nausea was making her feel worse! Its not the prettiest site at 3am but with swathes of clothes wrapped round by head i managed to clear up what Liz couldn`t stomach (get it!!LOL). Nicola duly cleaned the rest up in the morning after the racid smell had gone.
I can get angry but today i got frustrated that i couldnt swear in spanish! Long story short Liz was invited to speak at a mental health conference and she asked me to co present with her. The ongoing lack of communication between rotary clubs meant that a 7am start ended up with us arriving at the conference after 10am having been to everybody´s uncle and their dugs house for them to tell us to `sit, relax, have coffee, no worries!`. Oh for a bit of independance! But apparently our unhappiness has filtered thru and tomorrow we head off to the home of Humberto Guaqueta where will not need to meet rotarians or make presentations! Woo hoo!
So so far
Number of chickens i have eaten = at least 50
Number of potatoes chewed = 2 hectares worth
Number of talks in full spanish = 6
Number of rotary clubs we have been passed around to = 10
Invitation to present a paper on international observations on mental health = 1 (thanks Kiran for making that sound CV worthy!)
Money spent = Approx 60 pound
New words learned = muchos!