Saturday, April 22, 2006

Where the kiwi has flown - #5 Cocora and Salento

From my diary*, 30 March 2002

Note: I can't find photos of this trip on my computer, but I think they're on a CD somewhere. I will add them as soon as I find them.

Easter Thursday was a day of water. N and I left Cali around 10am, caught a bus to Armenia and caught a buseta from there to Salento - but got off too soon, in Circili, at which point it started raining and raining. We shared a taxi to Salento with two random girls and took shelter in the church for a while, then tried to find somewhere to stay. The only places with rooms free were holes, so we walked up the steps, past the stations of the cross, to a mirador (look-out) with a roof. We swept out the water and pitched our tent. Then we went back down to the town for a trout dinner. The rain finally stopped and we wandered around, looking in shops (lots of cool hippy craft stuff) and eating obleas with arequipe and cream. Then we bought a bottle of rum and went back to our campsite. We spent the evening drinking rum and talking to a young man who had pitched his tent up there also - the rain had stopped and the full moon came out (it's always full moon at Easter, of course) and millions of stars.

Friday was a day of air - very windy. We packed our tent up to save it from being blown over, and went down into town to find some coffee. We were planning on going to Cocora after the coffee, but discovered the Easter procession was about to start. There were a whole bunch of local youths dressed as guards, a statue of Jesus (for whom the priest did the voice), a Pontius Pilate and a Mary Magdalene and everything and they acted out the whole thing. Some of the guards had to read their lines from their hands. Then the whole crowd followed them through the streets of Salento, which were lined with branches.

Eventually we headed out to Cocora (famous for its wax palms - the national tree of Colombia) - had some trouble finding a jeep to take us, but finally made it and pitched our tent just before sunset. We made a campfire and cooked our pasta and tried to keep warm (it's cold up there!). The next morning we packed up and started up the trail up los Nevados (mountain). We only had time to get to a mirador part way up before heading back down again - unfortunately didn't make it up to the paramo where the frailejones grow. When we got back down, it rained just long enough to send us to the restaurant for coffee, so we stayed for another trout dinner.

The next day we headed back to Salento, had coffee at a groovy little place with an ancient coffee machine, trawled the shops again, had trout again, and then headed back to Cali.


*My diary was, of course, on the floor in the lounge** under my togs***, which have been there since I last went swimming when the weather was still hot****, about a month ago.

**loungeroom / living room

***bathers / swimmers / cossie / swimsuit / bathing suit

****it seems regional Australia only does extreme temperatures. We went very quickly from being way too hot to sleep to way too cold - 2C overnight (although still 25C during the day)

Where the kiwi has flown # 4 USA '98

Where the kiwi has flown # 3 Lake Titicaca

Where the kiwi has flown # 2 A vignette of Cali

Where the kiwi has flown #1 Tsunami diving

Friday, April 14, 2006

Please tell me where my diary is

Not that long ago, a couple of weeks ago at the most, I was flicking through my diary and found an entry about the Easter I spent in Salerno and Cocora in Colombia. So tonight I thought it might make a good blog post. It being Easter and all. So off I went to get my diary from beside my bed.

Not there.

Then I remembered I actually wrote in it not that long ago. Which is kind of surprising, cos I hadn't written for ages. But then I did.

So I looked for it in the lounge. I looked in my bedroom. I looked under my bed. I looked under the pile of clothes on the floor. I looked in the kitchen. I looked in the spare oom. I looked in the bathroom of all places. I opened up the sofabed. I looked behind every piece of furniture in the house. I tidied the table that was covered in bills and junk mail. I looked in the most unlikely places. Thrice.

I did find some old diaries. 14 Feb 1993-17 July 1996 and 10 August 1996-3 December 2001. Fascinating stuff, for me. Rather annoyingly, I had a habit back then of writing about people but not actually mentioning names. So half of what I wrote I have no idea who it was about.

It's really really bugging where my current diary (which probably started January 2002) could be. My current theory is that someone obviously broke into my house, ignored my computer, digital camera, dvd player etc, and took off with my diary, and is now publishing its contents all over the internet. If you google 'Easter' and 'Cocora' you'll no doubt come across it. Let me know.

But going on the very slight possibility that it is still in my house, please leave your suggestions in the comment box as to where I should look for it.

Thank you. It's driving me mad.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

All those years of study are worth it...

... because when you work in research, you can justify a trip to Europe for a month on the basis of a half hour presentation at a one day conference.

The conference is in Salzburg (that's Austria) but I will also be taking in Switzerland, Germany, maybe France, maybe UK. And I'll be stopping in Thailand on the way back and I'm thinking of trying to wrangle a side trip to Laos.

Because I've already been to all the countries mentioned, and because I need another country this year to keep up with my age, I'm also thinking of a side trip to the Philippines.

Bring on July.


Monday, April 03, 2006


So there I was at the gym, minding my own business, and this skinny chick, who I've no more than exchanged a hello with (and who is lifting like half the weight that I am, by the by), suddenly says:

"I wish I had your boobs"

I didn't really know what to say.

What's the strangest compliment (or in a strange situation) that you've been given?