Day 12

Mon May 3, 2010 (Lunes)

We are approaching the end of our stay in Colombia.

One of the things Papito wanted to show us was the clinic where he worked for so many years. I need to consult with Marta for the details of Papito’s career: he went from medical student in Manizales, to some kind of practicum or rotation in New Orleans (Marta’s first exposure to the US), to a surgical practice in Cali. In the last few years, a friend and associate offered him office space in his ophthalmology clinic to meet with the last of his long-time patients before he retired for good, which was only in the last year. We went to this office and met the wife/receptionist of the ophthalmologist.

From there, we went to Chipechappe Mall for some shoppy-shoppy. They’ve converted the old freight train station into a huge shopping mall. It’s way up on the north edge of the city, while our hotel was down in the south. Our drive back took us through the heart of the city, which was all the downtown New York or Hong Kong you’d ever hope for. Like either New York or Hong Kong, driving through doesn’t really do it justice, but walking through it takes good shoes and an ability to draw energy from the city. I can do that, though it isn’t my primary mode; Marta, however, is hopelessly drained by that kind of nervous energy.

After several stops for groceries and the like, we finally came back past the hotel (remember, it’s at the south end) and then further south and west up the mountain toward Nena’s house.

Her house is on the border of a huge natural park that was purchased by some extremely wealthy Gringo who designated it a nature preserve and prevented any further development within it. The preserve has long walking trails that Marta and I will not be able to experience on this trip.

We opened a bottle of wine, and had cheese and maduro (ripe plantain) for dinner. That was good: Colombian food is generally very heavy, and we’ve been eating far too much of it. The five of us — Papito, Nena, Natalia, Marta, and I — sat on her front porch and talked and laughed until what felt like very late, though it was only about nine o’clock. Natalia drove us home.

Marta crashed almost immediately. I got sucked into the TV movie she’d started, and watched until about midnight.

Rain has been intermittent, but heavy all afternoon and evening.


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