Next day was the 3rd of April, one of the most exciting days of the whole trip. During the morning everyone at home left to their lives and finding myself alone I decided to go out, I visited the main mall in Bogotá, but as I hate to spend so much time in shopping it didn’t took so long time to get what I wanted and get out from there, with so much free time in the morning I decided to make a spontaneous visit to a couple of friends, and they were so pleased about it, it is so nice to produce in people emotions of surprise! I was offered a lunch, unfortunately I had to rejected it, because I had invited already a friend to take lunch in the center, so I had to leave. I met with my friend, and we took lunch in Creppes & Waffles one of those things you always end up doing in Bogotá. The plan of the day was fixed, Manu Chao free concert!, arriving to the center we saw a loooong line to get into the square where the concert took place, but after the lunch the line just disappeared, then we realized that there was already too much people and the police just couldn’t take care of it and the entrance then was without security controls, so the plan was manu chao+ free concert+ no police, sounds like a good combination. The concert was just soo good. As always Manu Chao is incredible, the environment was just perfect! Maybe quite too much people for that place but.. it was something that will happen. After the concert we stayed in with some other hundreds that wanted to chill out on the historical streets of the center of Bogotá with some drinks, joints, live music improvisation, however it wasn’t the end of the action. About 2:00 in the morning the amount of police in the zone increased and there were motorcycles constantly going and coming, I went to the bathroom with so bad luck that when I tried to reach my friend again the ESMAD (riot police) was taking back control over the city center, using tear gases, my friend run down street and i stayed up, the police was in the middle, with the people that was around me we just could hide in a Bar and when the Police “cleaned” the zone I went out and took a taxi home.
Next day was a more relaxed day,some staff to do around the city and in the night I met for a while with my friend Catalina, a friend of her and her almost brother Camilo that I didn’t have the chance to meet before, we just took a beer but not for so long, Next day was the departure to the Amazon! in the morning I had to do a fast packing and go to the airport, we were going with my family. The flight from Bogotá to Leticia is about 2 hours. Leticia is a small town, but more civilized than one would expect from a place in the half of the jungle, the weather is as wet as it could be, first day we had a walk around the city and we knew and tried different fruits that we even didn’t know they existed as Aguaje, Camu Camu, Açaí and Cupuaçu all of them really tasty as much as the Pirarucu fish we took for lunch, how good is the food there! Later we did a long stop in the central park where every evening you can see the spectacular show of thousands of birds between parakeets and gulls trying to get a spot on the trees to sleep over the night, this with the background of an amazing sunset.
In the night we crossed the border, that is just 1 street to the Brazilian town of Tabatinga, clearly more developed than the Colombian side, we continue eating with a dinner in the restaurant “3 fronteras” with a, non vegetarian at all main, dish and the so famous Guaraná do Brasil, With the stomach again so full we just hardly manage to come back to Leticia and sleep. In the morning we were moving by boat, the only way possible, to the 2nd village of the Colombian amazon, Puerto Nariño, on the way upriver we visited some small but interesting places, unfortunately because of the very high level of the river the island of the monkeys and the national park where closed, but we visited some local communities in Macedonia, Puerto alegria and Yagua, where one can have a vague idea of how is the life there but not even a clue of how was before. Also we had the chance to get in contact with not so dangerous animals, as small bears, turtles, snakes, guacamayas and jaguars and the Victoria regia flower, typical from the Amazon.
Puerto Nariño is a really small town, with no streets, no cars, no motorcycles, only walking paths and the river that brings them everything, from fish, transport and tourism, is their lives. The best of this place is so far the nature, despite the tropical insects that makes mandatory for surviving to sleep covered by a mosquito net, the big trees, the green, the river, the clear starred sky reflected in the water as a mirror, birds, some very sociable like the guacamaya that visits you in the restaurant and with its beak takes you out from your own food and steals it in your nose, and many times with your help.
One of the main attractions of the Amazon is to see the pink dolphins, but after 2 unsuccessful tries of catch them we gave up :(. Before the last night we came back to Leticia, and we ate the last fish of the trip, it was the last night and we wanted to do something different so we went to a place called Comara in Tabatinga, that is a small drinking and dancing place on the shore of the river, the most interesting was that the music is a live show with 2 singers, one in Spanish and the other in Portuguese, and meanwhile the Brazilian was singing there were Brazilians Garotas dancing and bringing joy to the people. Next morning in the last hours in the Amazon we bough local made handcrafts, and after several years I got back my old custom of have an Amazon wood dolphin in my neck. Back in Bogota, again I went to the Park of the street 93, and drank a natural juice and had a nice walk on the dark and warm nights of the tropic
By then I only had 1 week left in Colombia, and it was the time to meet with those I didn’t meet yet, or meet again with the rest and said goodbye to everyone. After the first 2 weeks in Colombia I was getting used to many of the things that shocked me the first days, of course nobody will get used to the traffic and other stuff that makes life hard in my hometown. However I fully enjoyed these last days, despite the nostalgic feelings of the goodbyes, those were very good moments. After the Amazon trip I was relieved in many things, but anyway I didn’t have too much time for myself and many people to meet with, the first place I wanted to go was my home university, there I met with my bachelor professors from engineering, astronomy and tennis, all of them recognized me, some of them after some seconds with surprising reactions. I shared many cups of tea during the day and nice talks about Colombia, Sweden, the university, projects, etc. I felt at home. I also visited some new people that has arrived to the alma mater, and met some new groups that could be good contacts for an hypothetic return to Colombia in the future, being there from morning to the evening, I took lunch with my far aunt who works there, and also visited the research grouped EMC-UN where I worked the last months in Colombia, surely, I enjoyed a lot the environment at my University, there is always a positive and passionate way to work, not in vain, is the most important (and) public university of the country. In the night I went to an Irish pub, where I had some snacks and a Beer sharing my experiences and stories of the last trips.
Next day I decided to give myself a time, and fix and organize some things at home, taking advantage that it was my father´s birthday, I stayed the whole day at home. We had a familiar celebration that was very special since it was the first time in years that we could share a moment like that all of us together, presents, food, or drinks, don’t have any meaning when the company is complete with the familiar love. At this moment of the trip there were few days left, being Thursday it was the beginning of the last weekend with still few people to meet, the first was my aunt who invited me for lunch with my father, we shared a wine with the occasion of my visit and my father’s birthday then I visited my old workmates at WM where I worked for more than a year, there are still some guys left from the team we were.
In the night it was one of the meetings I had planned very in advance, I was going to meet my friend Catalina and know her new life in her place, despite she and her friend, needed to wakeup early next day we had a late dinner, followed by a bottle of Swedish akvavit and some Colombian beers, we spoke a lot, told a lot of stories, and laughed as in the old times. Next morning I said good bye to them knowing I had gotten a new friend, but as usual we said good bye as if we would meet very soon. It was Friday already and I had another invitation for lunch with another aunt, her husband, and my cousin, It was a very warm afternoon, more than expected. After that I run to meet my cousin-sister Paola to know her new place and speak about life in general, and in the night I had the final party with my friends from the university that I only met until this night, we had some beers at the Rock place, that now doesn’t seem to be as good as it was before, I shared with them the last Swedish salty candies I had, and some souvenirs I had for them. Later on we moved to a nother place, a Salsa club that was really really good with a live group and Cuban rum, there we stayed until the end of the night, On Saturday, despite the long night I woke up early and made a couple of visits in the morning, Before going for lunch I stop in a handcrafts market and bought some presents for the people in Sweden as well as some candies, This day I had a lunch at my grandmothers place, and surprisingly my request about the dish was taken, It was surprising because “Juanesca” is a dish that wasn’t made long time ago in this house, my grandmother is less active now but she did an effort to make it for me. That made the day.
In the night after have dinner with my family at home and give thanks for having these days together, I was starting to pack already, but I got the unexpected invitation from a friend, we went by car to a place I couldn’t visit before, La Calera, a viewing point in the mountains next to Bogota with a sight of the city and its night lights. Everything with the background of a latin music live group. It was the best way to say good bye to my hometown. Next day at the airport I said goodbye to my people and the way back to Sweden started. The plane took off while I was watching the city disappear on my window… an image that kept my vision blurry for many hundreds of kilometers, once in the Venezuelan cost, the dinner was served and my mind had to come back to the reality. These days in Colombia are now new memories that I will keep always. I can’t wait to see all of them again, and to see those I couldn’t.
Back in Sweden, Göteborg welcomed me with snow during the first night, yes, snow the night of the 16th of April is not surprising at all in Sweden.