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Coincidences in Manizales

The night before my big trip to the Nevado del Ruiz, I met the girl, her friend, and another guy friend at 9pm. He disappeared while he went to go meet a new girl nearby. We waited at the front steps of the mall for a while and eventually he called and we met him a few blocks away on the corner where he and his friends usually buy a bottle of Aguardiente to drink.

It was pretty awkward since the girl I was dating did not know any of hi’s friends and they were a completely new set of people for me as well. We sat there in silence, smiling dumbly for a little while until the two of us jetted out of there. She and I spent the next few hours wathcing the city from one of the outdoor balcony’s in the mall.

I met here and her friend at 9pm after a strenuous day of riding a bus up to high altitudes and lying in a hot springs for a few hours. The three of us and another friend accompanied us to las Karpas where we drank some beers. Las Karpas is basically a big tent with tables and cheap drinks.

I usually make an honest effort to be a part of the conversations. This night I pretty much gave up. They kept talking so fast and the few times that I did understand the conversation they changed subjects before I could chime in. After nearly a week of this kind of stuff I am doubting whether its really possible to improve so much just by living in a country speaking the foreign language. So many people claim to be able to improve but I still can not see how. She and I communicate almost fluently but that’s probably only because she speaks clearly, explains things to me more than once when I do not understand, and will finish my sentences when I am having trouble with the grammar.

The four of us went back to a friend”s apartment and drank a bit more while dancing to some reggaeton and playing darts.

The next day was a friend’s last full day in Manizales before flying to Bogota to begin his next semester of university. He and a girl we met a few nights before showed up at my hostel midday. We talked and played a few games of pool before walking down the street to their friend’s house, where we watched the Butterfly Effect.

The girl I was dating showed up at my hostel the next day. We watched a bit of TV in the living room as always while I showed her some pictures of my family. For some reason I forgot to mention that my sister is Chinese, despite her big interest in China. She acted pretty surprised to see my sister in the photo.

We met up with her friend Stefanie a few block away at one of the cafe’s for a drink. I still had trouble following and participating in the conversation. It fortunately did not last more than an hour. She and I then boarded a bus to the city center where we wandered without direction for a few hours eating ice cream in one of the parks and making fun of the strangely dressed people.

I was reading at a cafe drinking coffee and eating cake when I got a phone call asking where I was. She had gone to my hostel expecting me to be watching TV. We met up a little later at my hostel where we watched TV for a bit. We later met up with a big group of her friends at Juan Valdez cafe and again I felt lost in the conversation. We followed up Juan Valdez going to a club which is more my style with loud music and less conversation. After a few drinks the group, including me, was up and dancing. Some guy even drew a caricature of myself and I have to say I look just like Obama.

I took a taxi with her back to her house. She pulled out a mattress and put it in the living room for me to sleep. I happened to be awake when at about 5am her Mother put another blanket over me. Honestly, their family is so hospitable. That was until I realized her mother and brother actually start their day at 5am.

I woke up at around 7am when she jumped on my bed. Her mother made us breakfast of an Arepa, omlette, bunuelo, and hot chocolate. She and I spent the morning and afternoon fooling around the internet and watching TV. Thats also when we realized that we accidentally forgot her backpack containing her jacket and mine at the club. That makes this the second jacket I have lost. Its about time I go shopping. It’s really not to bad considering I am spending only about $15-$35 each day for everything.

Her Mom returned home later in the day and cooked up some Chicken and rice dish with french fries. I took a taxi back to my hostel and spent most of the day sleeping…that is until 8pm when I walked to the supermarket to get a few groceries.

Who do I see?

Her, her brother Sergio, and her mother! They live in a completely different neighborhood and yet I happen to see them shopping at a supermarket at 8pm on a Friday night.

I spent this past Saturday in the city center sitting in a park with the old men wearing Fedora hats watching them play chess, while I at a cup of jello with whipped cream.

The highlight of my day was probably eating at the most authentic local restaurant. The restaurant was falling apart. It had to long wooden benches for the patrons and the place was bustling. I ate a whole fried tilapia with soup, french fries, rice, and salad for $4.50.

South America definitely has malls that are nicer or as nice as what we have in North America. However, they also have second tier malls. Its pretty much a big spiral!

The blog is nearly all updated to the present. But on saturday night I met 2 Irishmen from Cork, a Polish girl, a lawyer from Barranquilla, and a crazy German wearing a black leather trench coat and skull bandana who married at 19, has two children, and is now divorced. The five of us went out for the night, starting at one of the restaurant’s I often eat lunch at.

It actually turns into a disco at night with tons of people drinking bottles of liquor at tables and dancing.

The crazy German guy was not satisfied with such a relaxed placed and proceeded to ask any attractive girl standing nearby, where we could find a good, busy club. We took a taxi to this club overlooking the city.

We were dancing with this group of girls but they kept asking each of us what we were drinking. They fully expected us to buy them drinks but each time I responded with, “nada”. They ought to be the ones buying us drinks!

Just as it started getting crowded at around 2am we all left to go back to out neighborhood. All of the clubs in our area officially close at 2am so i walked home while the rest of them continued the useless search for someplace open.

Jason Bartoli
Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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