The FishermanI was waiting at the carwash for my bike to be cleaned when I saw a man standing on the shore of the bay. He was fishing. But, he didn’t have a fishing pole. He had a length of fishing line with a hook tied to one end. I watched him pull in a small fish, something like the bluegill we use to catch in a creek where I lived as a child. He was using seaweed that washed up on the rocks as bait. And, he could cast out to about 20 feet with just the hook and some seaweed. He was obviously very skilled at this as I watched him pull in several more fish while I was waiting for my bike.
ColombiansColombians are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Yesterday when I tried to find my way to a hostel that I planned to stay at, I ended up driving in circles for the better part of an hour. And, every time I went by this one busy intersection, several guys tried to wave me down and get my attention. Prior experience with people in the street trying to get money, using various schemes, over the last month of travel thru Central America had left me callous to their repeated calls. But, after riding in circles for so long, I eventually caved in and stopped. Several guys tried to give me directions but, “Hoblo solo poco Espanol.” So, one guy flagged down a guy on motorbike and asked him to take me to the address., which he gladly did. I gave him a couple dollars and later found that they use moto’s for taxi’s. Later that evening, I had another encounter with another nice Colombian. Several of us from the hostel were looking for a place to eat when a guy standing on the corner asked if he could help us find something. He spoke pretty good English. But again, previous experiences with folks on the streets had influenced my reaction, and I ignored him. He took this a bit offensively and said he was only trying to be helpful and that is what Colombia is all about. Then, feeling like a jerk, I apologized and told him we were looking for a restaurant. He then gave us directions to several restaurants in the area. And, when he was done, he asked if we wanted to buy some cocaine... I politely thanked him for his help and declined his offer.
A multi-millionaire is born…This brings me to the next interesting story… I’d had problems with my ATM card since Mexico. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s been a challenge to get money at times. Then, yesterday I got an email saying my card was suspended due suspicious activity. After calling my bank several times, they informed me that I would need to call them every time I needed to use my ATM card, before I could use it. And, I would only have 10 minutes to perform the transaction before the card would be locked again. Great! So, I argue with them for a while and get them to agree to monitor my activity and wait until after my transaction is complete before locking my card again. So, I head off to the nearest ATM and wait in line for 20 minutes before its my turn. Then, I find that it has a transaction limit equivalent to $150 dollars, for which I will be charged $14 dollars in transaction fees. Great! So, I cancel the transaction and go into the bank and wait in line for another 20 minutes to try and get the equivalent of $300 dollars which should be enough to last until I leave Colombia. But, they say that they cannot do it and send me off to another bank. When I get to the other bank, the ATM gets an error reading my card. Great! So, I go inside the bank and the teller retries my card, getting the same error as before, and says that they cant do anything and that I am basically SOL. Great! What now? So, being the stubborn bullheaded type, I go back to the ATM and retry my card several more times and viola! It works! So, I withdraw the equivalent of $250 dollars U.S. because it is listed as an option and I didn’t want to risk screwing up the transaction by trying to enter a different amount. The ATM then spits out my money and everything is good in the universe. Woohooooo! Then it spit out my receipt and after reviewing it I realize that not only did I get my money, but I discover that I was now a multi-millionaire! The balance on my checking account read: Col$ 6,628,037.56 Wooohooooo! I’m rich!