Friday, 3 November 2017

Out of here!

I read about the arrests of the politicians who arranged the independence referendum with great alarm. I see Carles Puigdemont in Brussels with his arrest imminent. And I am out of here, for the moment temporarily but, when I return from Thailand and the Philippines on 10th December, I have two weeks to decide if I will put my house up for rent before going to Colombia.
Oh, I didn't tell you about Colombia! I have written previously that I am going to spend one week in Bangkok from next Friday, the 10th, and then I go to Manila where I have rented a condo for three weeks. I arranged that a long time ago, before things got really bad here. And of course, I will be writing about it here.
I am going, partly because I really like Colombia where I can speak Spanish without the feeling that really I should be speaking Catalan too. But it is only two weeks after returning from the Far East - I have to synchronise with European time, a difference of 7 hours, before going back in time another 6 hours!
The other reason I'm going to Colombia is to escape the strife here which is making me very stressed. I think one thing guaranteed to do that is if the very foundations of one's life - where one lives together with friends made - is under threat. I see no resolution now. Catalans were angry with Madrid before, now they are seething at the sight of their politicians behind bars. I don't like to see it either but these people are wrecking the place where I live, relationships between friends and family. They are costing Spain vast sums of money. so I am angry too.
When I go to Colombia, I may stay there. By that, I mean that I will come back as scheduled on 1st March but I will be looking for a house to buy with a view to living there permanently (to start with, maybe just the winter months but who knows). I did look at Valencia as an alternative but I know no one there and other parts of Spain don't really appeal to me. In Pereira, I have a family that views me as a member of their family. Nini says that they would take care of me which is very touching. I don't have that kind of relationship even having lived here for 14 years. Admittedly the fact that I have helped Nini financially in the past adds to my attraction but the friendships are real, not purchased. Now she has a husband to take care of her. That was the theory anyway but at the moment he has no job. I used to tell her previously before I knew she had a bf  to find an airline pilot with Avianca!

This was Nini when I took her to
Cartagena de Indias last time.

And I go back to Ukraine for 10 days in early April, just after Easter but I will be there for Pascua, Orthodox Easter. So, between now and the end of April, I will be abroad for more time than I am here. My decision when I come back from the Philippines is whether to rent out my house, selling it is not an option because I would lose money on the deal. It would be a 3 year contract and the place is absolutely packed with all my things, art, technology. So I would have to put that into storage. But it would make my time in Colombia super-cheap because I would be paying less for rental there than I would receive here.
I would be homeless! But then, I could easily rent a place for the short time I am here. The problem is what to do with all my stuff (Trastos, in Spanish).
These are the ideas swimming through my head. I am even rather bored at the idea of another summer here. The pool in Celrà, going to the beach on my bike. I had a look at some of the roads outside Pereira in Google Street View  and they look great for cycling with a wide space for pedestrians and bikes, the same as here. In January, I will either buy or rent a carbon road bike. I would miss the sea but then I could have a weekend by the Caribbean!
I have lots of ideas for things to do in Colombia. It will be the start of a new year and it is a great time to think about new projects. I will be able to teach English, IT, art.
In January will obtain a Cedúla Extranjero (CE) which is equivalent to my Spanish ID and then I will be able to open a bank account. BBVA where I have an account here is also big in Colombia although, of course, it is a quite separate operation.

For sure, Colombia is a long way away but the only point about that is that I would have a long journey back to Europe to see my friends. As for living there, I would quickly adjust to it, I speak the language for a start. I would have to check out health care, income tax (if I lived there more than 6 months in one year).
 I have dreams of a stone house with a large open-plan space inside, a rough wooden floor, which I can use for my art. I could easily afford that, either to rent (because I would be receiving rent from my flat in Celrà) or to buy. I could have an exhibition in the Art Museum. No need for heating or air-conditioning, the temperature all year round is a balmy 25c. The days and nights, 12 hours each, all year round because it is so near to the Equator. But for the moment, my visa-on-entry allows me up to 90 days in Colombia with a possible extension of another 90 days. By the way, my British passport expires in September so I plan to renew it when I come back from Ukraine in April.
All this galavanting around is costing me a lot of money, mainly because at my stage in life, I can't face an 11 hour flight in economy. So I have to watch carefully what I have stored in my savings for when I may need care. I think at the moment I am nibbling away a little bit from my savings on account of spending 4k on two business class tickets in quick succession (but going to Colombia was more expensive last time, I paid 700 euros less for this year). Normally, I would only undertake one major journey each year. It all depends on how many years I have left on this planet and for how many of those, I am fit and well. And no one knows that. Life is great at the moment (each day a gift from God, I say regularly) apart from a little local difficulty but I plan to rise above that. Every cloud has....


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