August 21, 2009 GMT
And God Created Woman (Except Not)

4.7.09 Pasto, Colombia

The word "hooray" scarcely seems adequate

Sundown in the main square, Pasto. It's cool (jacket on = sitting outside) and dry. What exactly do I fancy? Strong coffee with spirituous liquor sounds about right. I order one, and by the third it's plain that Colombian coffee with a generous hit of Cuban rum is today's Best Thing Ever. A dog yelps gleefully in the tree-sprinkler's jet. A wobbly man - the ghost of Saturday Yet To Come - attempts to hail a cab, missing out each time as three separate drivers pull up and conclude - correctly I would guess - that;
a) he's spent all his money on rum
b) he'll almost certainly be unable to remember where he lives
c) the probability that he'll honk over the upholstery is at least 80%.

Yesterday's Best Thing Ever was Natalia, a Colombian customs official and the most punishingly attractive slice of 25-year old womanhood this side of - oh I dunno - Tokyo? You're expected to sit opposite her chirpy, heaving form and write important details on a piece of paper without either howling like a frustrated moose or collapsing into a pool of your own wretched tears. Good luck if you're heading that way.

Thursday - I finish re-reading The God Delusion.
Friday - Sarah Palin resigns (during a characterisically nonsensical press conference). Coincidence????


Insurance Digest: I made it all the way through Ecuador without being asked for it. Thank Blimey, since I didn't quite seem to have any. In fact I was stopped only once in Ecuador, 20 miles from the Colombian border, by some M16-toting narcotics-squad lads. Thoroughly decent chaps, the lot of 'em - a cursory glance in my topbox and I was on my way. Just as well, when one takes into account the 5 keys of uncut Bolivian Yap I had in me panniers. (JOKE! Come on - who sneaks drugs into Colombia?)

It's a short, but imprecise walk down a garden path that starts out surrounded by foxgloves, hummingbirds and friendly bumblebees, and terminates in a foul, sucking pond of cold green duck excreta, from ordering rum in your coffee at 6.30pm, to secretly adding it yourself at 8.00am. It's not a path I intend to take.


In most of South America, you're not supposed to flush your bum-wipes down the toilet - you are exhorted to chuck them in the bin. The plumbing generally isn't up to coping with wads of tissue. Like most toiletary issues, you get used to it. But often the bin has no lid... Don't look! Don't look! You will never get over it.

Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at August 21, 2009 10:10 PM GMT

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