August 21, 2009 GMT
Charlton Heston Put His Vest On

6.7.09 Popayan, Colombia


Mincing Moses! It looks like the rumours about Colombia may be true! I'm only in the south, but the vibrating greenness of the mountains, the mood-bumping warmth of the people, the eye-popping, shirt-testing Oh-My-God-ness of the honeys, and the (so far) utter lack of getting shot, robbed or kidnapped are all starting to pull Colombia up my (facile and ill-considered) Best Country In South America list.

It's 178 miles from Pasto to Popayan. Supposedly it's the stretch where Bad Things Might Happen, but they don't. It's certainly the bendiest 178 miles I've ever experienced - feels like, if you did it as the crow flies, it'd be about 30. By the end of the day, I've learnt more about how to go round an uphill right-hand hairpin elegantly than in the previous five years. It's - I think - my favourite day's motorbikin' of the last nine months. There's a bucketload of waving and thumb-action, from 6 year old roadside kids to 70 year old moped grannies, truck drivers, BMX teens and Dayglo Tour-De-France-alikes. The only sociological group that doesn't show any interest is the police. Good country! Almost no need to bring in the whitewashed splendour of Popayan, the chatty Colombian army fellows that surround every bridge, the huge, balconied 15 quid hotel room or the perfect, scratchy-78rpm-tango-tunes bar round the corner.



Since Colombia has turned out to be Eden with rivers of sweet, sweet gravy, perhaps I should start worrying about Honduras. "Oh well", I thought, as I watched the news coverage, "I'll just skip round it, through El Salvador." Then I looked at the map. Since I don't have my water-wings with me, that plan ain't gonna fly. On the other hand I'm at least 3 months and 4 countries from Honduras, so let's have another Poker and worry about it when the time comes.


Poker is a 4% abv session-lager with no immediately discernable downside (fact check to follow). The slogan , when translated by someone who isn't very good at Spanish, reads "I always win with Poker". I'll admit to some reservations as to whether that hypothesis holds water, in relation to either the lager or the card game; as always, however, there's only one way to find out.

It's a cliche - and like most cliches, the phrase "it's a cliche, but it happens to be true", while disgusting, doesn't mean it isn't true, that a bunch of old men in suits sitting on a bench in a South American park will always look cool. Or women. If this paragraph doesn't make sense to you, why not visit, or just have another Poker and fuhgeddaboudit.



7.7.09 Popayan

Pig meat is, according to people who tend not to explain how they found out, the closest taste-cousin to human flesh. Having had a hot pork lunch at El Carbono today, I'm in awe of the restraint shown by most of humanity in not going as mad as chairs and just chomping into each other on a daily basis. I'm going back there for dinner.


Come on now - if there was an ethical form of cannibalism, wouldn't you want to try it at least once? If you were, like, really shitted? Say someone young and healthy died in a car crash, and as well as an organ donor card, he carried an Eat Me card? So his - er - offal was all transplanted into worthy recipients, but the steak 'n' ribs action was sold to a licenced restaurant? (Or "donated" if it helps.) You gotta give it a try, ain'cha? Even if it's just the bacon? (A proper cannibal breakfast is of course ruled out by the size of the human egg.)

The bus company in Popayan is called Trans-Pubenza. Is it just me?

Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at August 21, 2009 10:26 PM GMT

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