The cruise ship experience begins. Laura and Arianna said, if you can make it through Montreal, you can make it anywhere. I’ve washed up gasping on the shores of Colombia.
I am doing everything the nurse said not to do. Eating delicious and unknown fresh tropical fruit in an open-air market and filling my water bottle from the tap. I have to taste these gems and I have to drink water at 2800 meters altitude. I’ll suffer the consequences. Then, a terrifying massage. Head neck face and jaw. All the stress and disappointment of the winter semester. Man did that hurt. Well, I studied ballet all my life. A certain level of discomfort tells me I’m alive.
Which takes us to Villa de Leyva, Colombia. No discomfort here. Does that mean I’m dead? We’re in the lobby to paradise. The mountains surround the white walls which nestle the cobblestone square. Cheerful flowers and starving dogs break the severity. I’m dreadfully weepy. The thunderstorm comes muttering over the crest of the hill and puts me down for a nap. Rain slides off the terracotta tile roofs and spatters noisily on the street. Like a ball of lint, the longer we travel, the more people we pick up. We are now a rowdy 21 people for dinner in the tree-planted courtyard of a traditional house, strung with tiny lights under the arches of a portico.
Of course I’ll miss the singing and dancing until the wee hours in the central square. There’s so much to learn tomorrow: the ritual site of the Muisca people with its standing stones and its tomb, on the flank of a verdant, sunny hill. The sunrays chase the cows, horses, goats, sheep crawling up the mountains. Swathes of gray sheets of rain threaten us as we broil under the tropical sun. Birdsong—it’s been months.
One of the white-walled farms is within the confines of the heritage grounds. The site is beautifully preserved, but so vulnerable. The Colombian government has other things to do. It’s up to individuals to finance these cultural initiatives. Philanthropy is unknown here. And we thought the arts and culture had it bad in North America and Europe.
Ahm, has anyone seen my passport?