In the spine-tingling words of Jack Nicholson c/o the SHINING —
“I was gone. But now I’m baaaaack!”
And man alive! When this cat goes away, the mice really know how to play — Little Mousey Computer Solitaire! Turns out, instead of the usual, sordid details of desperate on-line dating dilemmas, the sweeping topic of cyber-convo flooding my inbox upon my return was — well — none other than little ole me. Specifically —
Subject Line: “How the fuck was your trip to Medellin?”
Well my lovelies, I’ll tell you how the F.A.R.C.* it was. (*The first of many puns to come!)
Just hours into my very first day, somewhere on a footpath to the Sky-Cable metro, I stumbled upon this huge question-mark sign.
This, in the world of English Lit majors, is what’s known as “FORESHADOWING.” As it turns out, 2 years of college-level Spanish classes and shower-singing to Jonathan Richman’s “Te Vas a Emocionar” does NOT a bilingual me make. And because Medellin’s tourist industry is still in its rubbing-two-sticks-together stage, the only words I ever saw written in English were of a HOOTERS billboard in El Poblado.
So, it all came down to this. 10 Days and 20 ways I was Lost (and found) in Translation in Medellin:
1. Day 1: The flight over. How is it possible for a low-budget airline to offer a $500 round-trip ticket to South America, nearly half the cost of other carriers — you ask?
Well, as I quickly learned: It’s because their airplanes are fueled by wheel-running hamsters and burning coal fire.
Also, they don’t have to pay their flight attendants. Instead, they volunteer their services in exchange for daily captive audiences to practice their stand-up comedy routines on. My male stewardess had us all — especially the crash-fearing passengers such as myself — in stitches with this little ditty:
“Here on ___ airlines, nothing is FREE. Not the in-flight snacks, the blankets, or even the bathrooms. Remember those oxygen masks I showed you earlier that are supposed to fall down from the ceiling in case of an emergency. They actually require a credit card. Should we start to nose-dive, and I look down the aisle and see your face turning blue and puffing up like a blow-fish — that means your credit card was denied.”
Seriously: What’s funnier than a joke about free-falling 20,000 miles out of the sky, all the while gasping for what few and final breaths you actually have left — MOMENTS before take-off?
2. Day 1-10: I say most everything is smaller in Colombia. Camilla’s boyfriend Fernando (Fer) disagrees. “Things aren’t smaller,” he counters. “They’re actual size.”
- The traditional Colombian horse, which I secretly call a “PONY.”
- The traditional Colombian cup of coffee, which I secretly call a “thimble.”
3. Day 1-10: Some things ARE bigger in Colombia:
Not pictured: blue herons, full moons, and the machine guns held by police officers guarding the city in-roads.
4.Day 1-10: In Atlanta, my friends go around addressing each other with such dulcet pet names as “Brotato Chip” and “Babe.”
In Medellin, friends and family alike call each other “Mi Amor.”
5. Day 2: When I first told Camilla’s social circle the name of my blog, one of the women asked, “DIRTY Romantic?” To which I replied,
“What? NOooo… wait… hmmm… Actually…”
(Domain name change pending……..)
6. Day 3: Fieldwork. Brunch with Camilla’s female friends to test existing theory that —
Single, well-educated women in Medellin do not fritter away their free time obsessing over guys like we do; but rather, soak up the hours in dark cafes, smoking clove cigarettes and drinking fire water, immersed in heated discussions over political reformation and radical social revisions.
Conclusion: Single, well-educated women in Medellin fritter away their free time obsessing over guys like we do.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)
(Note: Mailbag Monday will be rescheduled for the end of the week)