Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Apparently, I had to travel to Colombia to have my first nightclub experience. 

During my second weekend in Bogota, the other assistants and I went to Club Zombie to provide moral support to one of our friends that had a gig at said nightclub. BIG UP SIMBA AMANI! All I can say- well, write- is, that night was a disaster!

When we arrived at the club, I immediately noticed the characters that were assembled outside. They looked as though they were channelling Eminem from that movie "8 Mile" with their baggy jeans, baggy T- shirts and their "one size fits all" caps (surprisingly, these "one size fits all" caps can never fit on my head, I wonder why?) I thought they were all thieves so I clutched my wallet ever so tightly. In retrospect, this should have been the first indication of how the night would turn out. Anywho, I paid the cover charge- $8000 pesos, which is like $24 TT- and entered the club.

The first thing I thought when I entered the club was, "Gosh, the music is horrid!" It sounded like Eminem meets Coolio meets DMX meets Daddy Yankee. In short, it was NOT dance worthy for us Caribbean people. But you should have seen the "8 Milers", they were jumping, screaming, fist pumping, bopping their heads, and trying to be well, black and failing in EPIC fashion. As mentioned before, our friend had a gig so apparently he wasn´t the only artiste that was going to perform that night. There were these Colombian "rap" groups that started to appear on stage. Words can´t describe what they soounded like, it´s possible that a banshee´s screech would sound ten times better than them. They kept on yelling, "RAH, RAH, RAH!" and the worst part is the crowd was actaully cheering them on. Like, are we listening to the same music? If it weren't for Simba´s "upcoming performance", I probably would have left (I probably should have left when this thought entered my mind given what happened next).

So there I am, sitting amongst my Caribbean peeps eagerly awaiting Simba's performance and I notice that there are police officers in the club, moving through the crowd and asking questions. Well, yours truly was instantly bummy. I mean, I had nothing to be afraid of since I didn´t have any nose candy on me, but then again, is BABYLON! Well, you know how we Caribbean people FAST and PARANOID; everybody breaking dey neck to see what´s going to happen next and others were panicking. Mr. Babylon comes downstairs with a youngian in his custody- if you see the little girl- blonde hair, really slim with her mother´s milk still evident on her face. Obviously, she was a minor in an adult club, drinking alcohol, and going wild for Colombian "rap" with her friends. Well, who tell she do that?- they throw she ass in the police van and within minutes another police van and some motorcycles arrived at the club. 

AA, well if you see thing, the officers called up the manageress in all her glory, dressed like a lady in a yellow pum-pum shorts and a bikini top. Now, I have no idea what they were saying but after the conversation the patrons heard an announcement from the DJ, "Club Zombie is closed for the night and the police want that everyone leave!" Well every Tom, Dick and Harry left the club and assembled outside whilst Ms. Yellow Pum-Pum Shorts got thrown into the van next the girl. It seemed as though the police were going to lock up the club´s employees as well because I noticed the bouncer walking, well running in the opposite direction- go figure!!! So, my first club experience ended in disaster- I didn´t get to dance, I didn´t get to see Simba perform and I was standing outside in the cold, reading the "Closed Until Further Notice" sign and feeling unbelievably unsatisfied with my experience.

The funny thing is that the following week I found myself in Zombie AGAIN!! Apparently, the manageress felt bad about Simba not performing and decided to give him another gig. This time the club seemed to have undergone a face lift, everything was different. The bouncer was new, the price was reduced, the crowd was different and the music was PHENOMENAL- I mean they played a Shurwayne Winchester!!! Simba was great as well, I mean what else do you expect from a Trinidadian? As for myself, I danced the night away, well until about 2ish when all Colombian clubs close!!

I know I haven´t been blogging a lot but I´ve been unbelievably busy working and adjusting to life here. But come next week, there´ll be another post so, hold on tight and come again!!!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Lessons Learned During Week One in Bogotá


As you guys know- if you didn't know, then you're obviously living under a rock- I've been in Bogotá, Colombia for little more than a week now. Gosh, I've been having a good time! The culture here is so different, and naturally, I've had to adapt and in adapting, things are learned. This post traces important things that have happened to me during my first week and what I've learned, thus far.

Lesson Número 1: Bogotá is COLD. I mean, ever since I decided to apply for this program, everyone that has been to Bogotá told me that it was cold. I was even asked in the interview, how I would deal with the cold. Thus, I had a general idea of what the temperature would be like in Bogotá. But, hearing and experiencing something are two mutually exclusive things. The understanding of how cold it was really hit me when I exited the airport in Bogotá, and a cold breeze blew, making my whole body shake. Sadly, this wasn't my last 'cold, culture shock'. I arrived at the apartment where I would be staying to see five 'coverleds' of varying thickness on my bed- a fitted sheet, a normal sheet, two knitted blankets and a quilt. To those five, I added a sheet and a blanket of my own. One can only imagine how cold it was for me that night, I felt like knives were piercing my skin, chilling me to the bone with my balls retreating between my legs in search of heat.. "AY DIOS!" To top it all of, that night I needed to use the toilet for number two purposes and I sat my bare butt on the toilet seat only to feel the cold seat on my legs. My poor balls! Haha! Luckily, after a week, I think I'm getting accustomed.

Lesson Número 2: Most people in Bogotá have a wicked sense of style. They wear every look here- preppy, emo, glam rock, punk rock, bohemian, the 'motorcycle leather' look, the 'normal' look, the 'I'm on drugs' look, I mean, EVERY look. Plus, they actually look great rocking these different styles. And OMG, Colombian jeans are the bombdiggity. I mean, they stitch the jeans in such a way that it accentuates the best parts of your body. Gosh, I need to buy myself some Colombian jeans, so when I come back to Trinidad, all eyes will be on me.

Lesson Número 3: The lady I live with is a disingenuous, deceitful little _________ (fill in the blanks). So, the first few days here she was the epitome of nice- she made breakfast for us the first day, offered to take us dancing, and talked with us in a jovial manner. It's about here that I should have noted her sing song voice; Mummy always says that sing song voiced, overly sweet people are the most deceitful- case in point Professor Umbridge from HP. Anywho, about the third day inside, Madam sat us down and gave us one set of 'house' rules to live by. For example, she doesn't want us to invite other Colombians to the house because she doesn't trust them meaning she thinks that they're thieves- talk about a double standard. I mean, she man comes by the apartment every weekend for sex- guess who locks their suitcase everyday before they leave the house? I mean, she is a Colombian! She also told us that we can't have girlfriends because Colombian women are dangerous and we have to clean the apartment every eight days. The thing that put the icing on the cake for me happened last Saturday. 

During the meeting where she laid down the law, we asked about the groceries and we understood that we can use the groceries in the apartment and replace them as they run out. I can't cook much, so every morning is fried egg with something. Saturday morning we were doing the usual fried egg, all happy and crap. Then, Maritza came in:

"Muchachos, do you like the cinema?"- she asked.
"Sure!"- we answered.
"Well, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most economical days to go to the cinema."- she informs us and then, "Are those MY eggs you're using? Have you been using MY eggs?"
"Yes!"- I answered, a baffled look on my face.
"Well, I prefer that you don't use my eggs because Jose (she man) bought me those eggs- apparently they special- and he was wondering who was eating them."- she said.

All yuh, I buss out one laugh! I was so shocked, confused, and in awe that this big woman standing here telling me, don't touch she egg. EGGS all yuh, EGGS that are easy to buy. The thing is we were going to re- buy her eggs that evening given the rules about supplementing the groceries, but she has no patience and the egg have a place in her heart. Well papa, now self I not eating no egg during my stay in Bogota. Mad people living at that apartment complex in Calle 25 oui! 

Lesson Número 4: The transportation system in Bogotá is so much more advanced than Trinidad. They have huge highways with crossovers at different intervals, not like the ONE CROSSOVER Trinidad has by Pasea on the Highway. They have an amazing bus system called the Transmileno, which operates like a train system, with different stations along whatever routes the bus takes. The bus has it's own lane on the highway, meaning it's really fast and you can reach another part of Bogota in like one hour, which is a short time considering Bogotá is like three times to size of Trinidad. Oh gosh, ah love it!!! The only fault is that it's always PACKED with people, jamming up on you, pushing you to get out the bus, and what not. But, one good Trini cut eye and they know they better say, "Lo siento" if they mash yuh.

Lesson Número 5: Drivers in Bogotá are SO IMPATIENT. My first day in Colombia, I almost got bounce three times, almost fell down in a bus, and almost fell out of said bus when I had reached my destination. The drivers of the little 'busetas' (something like maxis) don't wait for you to sit down before they start to drive, they don't wait for you to come off the bus slowly, you literally have to jump out the bus and taxi drivers will run you over if you don't cross the streets quickly IE run across the road like a wild horse, screaming "Oh gosh, doh bounce meh!" I always have to be careful and extra vigilant because I don't want to call Sagicor and cash in on my life insurance policy. Ah have to return to Trinidad in one piece.

Lesson Número 6: Learning Spanish in a classroom and actually, speaking it on a daily basis with natives that are not your teachers is not easy. The first day I was here, oh my word, I felt like I now started to study Spanish in Form One. I was horrid, I said nothing until the next day when I felt comfortable and more capable of doing this. The prayers did help as well. It's easier now, but I still have a ways to go before I'm at the level that I want to reach.

The final lesson I learned is that I miss my family and they miss me. I really love them and I'm going to make them proud beyond their wildest dreams. Until the next adventure my dear readers, love you guys. 

Garvin signing out from Colombia.