Thursday, 11 January 2018

A sunny day.... and back in Pereira

I'm writing this soon after arriving back at my apartment in Pereria. Nini and Alexander have gone to the centre of Pereira for his appointment with the physiotherapist and I have come back here with a distinct feeling of anti-climax!
We met in the hotel lobby at 6.15am this morning in Buenaventura, had a quick coffee and took a taxi to the airport, the journey was half an hour.
As you can imagine, the airport is very small. The runway was short, right in the centre of woods. The flight was delayed by 90 minutes and I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with their suitcase which was far too big to go in the cabin. We all had boarding passes so we could simply have walked to the departure gate. My original plan was to check it in again at Bogotá, we would have had loads of time. Satena and Avianca don't have an agreement with moving bags from one aircraft to the other - interline, it is called, I think. Alexander was offered the choice of our transferring the bag ourselves between planes but I think human nature took over and I was a little piqued that the Satena agent didn't involve me. I had been chatting fluently with him just before then, explaining that they were like my "little family". But the explanation was more prosaic, the label on the bag was linked to Alexander's boarding pass and the agent had no way to know that I had bought the tickets.
But the delay was so great that the option that I chose turned out to be the wrong decision and, when the plane taxied to a halt barely one hour before our Avianca flight was to leave, Nini leap to the back of the plane and asked that we take the suitcase with us in the transfer bus. They took it out of the hold and placed it at the bottom of the steps. I have travelled through many airports in the world, but it took a young girl of 24 having flown once only (with me) to take control. I am glad someone was thinking clearly. I am totally depressed at the way my mind works (or doesn't) sometimes. It was humiliating, I am supposed to know about these things.

The Avianca flight arrived back in Pereira on time, we all went to the centre of Cuba for a meal together and Nini and Alexander with Sofi went off to the centre of Pereira. Soon afterwards, there was a violent thunderstorm which would certainly have put paid to our flight back here. Sitting at home on a sofa watching TV is a whole lot more predictable but a whole lot less fun!

Yesterday made up for the wash-out on Tuesday when it rained almost all day, it was hot and sunny. We took a boat to the one destination we had not previously visited, Piangüita. It was by far the best of the three. I really worry about these boats, sometimes they go too fast for the sea conditions and passengers especially at the front are subjected to quite violent shocks as the bow hits the waves. I don't know enough about human anatomy to know if this is stressful for the spine. Also, their handling of gasoline scares me. They were casually tipping petrol into two containers and then into the tank at the back of the boat with a boat-load of passengers waiting. The smell was very strong.
On the way back, things were rather bizarre. The boat pulled up at a beach lined with dilapidated houses on stilts and there were three small boys playing in the sea. The driver went up to one of the houses and came back with a drum of gasoline and he paid for it with a small wad of notes. I found that strange!
I just read in The Times that the Catalan chaos continues with the possibility that Carles Puigdemont will be installed as President of Catalunya.... from Belgium! Now I am even more depressed. I am not terribly happy here at the moment but with no wish to return to Catalunya, it is crazy. It is my worst nightmare, what is happening there. The lies, the twisted words.
Maybe things will look up tomorrow when I go to an expat group but I am very anxious not to abandon my friends Nini and Alexander here. But the two will not mix, I am sure. And then on Tuesday, I have my own Meetup group. Two guys coming but it's a start!

Things did look up the next day! Partly on account of 11 hours sleep!


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