Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Puente Trip: Neiva and San Agustín, The Series- Part 1: NEIVA



To the south of Colombia lies a little town called Neiva where the climate is very similar to the Caribbean, the people are warm, welcoming and wear short pants to school and ride motorcycles. *insert moment of nostalgia* Living in this town is a fellow Trinidadian English language assistant named Lisa* (not her actual name)
who was nice enough to invite us to her home away from home- props to you :D

The day was Thursday 11th, November 2010, the time was 5:30pm and the place was aboard the Coomotor bus on its trip to Neiva. I knew this bus ride would be an interesing one from the get go since five minutes into the trip the bus driver crashed into this guy knocking him off his motorcycle (Oh, the horror!) All "man jack"- Trinidadian and Colombian alike- got out of their seats and poked their head out of the windows to see exactly what happened to the poor guy (apparently macoing is universal). The icing on the cake was when the bus driver looked out the window and asked his co- pilot, "¿Lo cogí?" or "Did I hit him?" Well, I buss out one laugh, fully aware that this was not a laughing matter but then again I have my schizophrenic moments. I wanted to yell at the driver and tell him, "Of course you hit the guy! Did you think the guy just likes lying on the ground, holding his head with his motorcycle on its side?" Shock does make you ask some stupid questions yes but then again some people do that even without being in shock. Eventually, the whole commotion was taken care off and after thirty minutes in bumper to bumper traffic we were finally on the open road to Neiva.

One hour into the trip this aroma starts to creep through the bus. Apparently, Mr. Toilet decided that he wanted to grace us with his pungent smell and make our noses explode. Hours Two and Three were spent catching up on my "handsome" sleep, I mean all this- meaning the fineness that is Garvin- takes time and rest. By Hour Four I was hungry, restless with a numb butt and wanting very much to reach my desination. Hour Five was spent in wonder as the bus had stopped on this DARK, EERIE stretch of road quite similar to Wallerfield in East Trinidad to pick up some construction workers with their dusty slipper- clad feet. I mean, REALLY? Then I´m further shocked as the driver stopped again, this time to pick up a woman with a bread basket and a tub of gaseosas (soft drinks). Naturally, Ms. Lady started to walk down the aisles selling her products. I was perplexed because, 1) she looked really sweaty as though she had been sitting under a tree for ages, 2) her fingernails looked as though she had been digging in the various orifices of her body for the whole day, 3) her clothes were tight thereby accentuating all the rolls in her body and 4) her hair was loose and kinda dirty. I´m not scornful eh but when you have to buy something to eat from somebody you have to be careful. By Hour Six I had had enough of this bus ride and was over the moon when the bus slowed down and the co- pilot said, "¡Neiva!"

My first few moments of enjoying my first view of Neiva were cut short as an old man who had been on the bus with us went running behind the bus screaming, "¡Aye, Aye, Aye!" *insert giggle* Apparently, poor Gustavo* (not his actual name) had got off the bus to pee and took too long so he missed the bus. It was a sight to behold, poor Gramps running as fast as his old legs would carry him, yelling for the bus and the people in the Terminal laughing at him. I swear I only laughed as I was writing this blog post (starts to hear the lyrics of that song, "Teacher Percy say if you tell a lie, yuh goin´ to hell as soon as yuh die!"). What an ending to an interesting bus ride.

After two hours of sleep, I got up the next day for a little "tour" of Neiva as my friends and I accompanied our friend Lisa* to her University. The first thing I noticed was that the climate in Neiva was very similar to that of Trinidad except for the lack of breeze and unnatural humidity. My only problem was that after three months of cold, cold weather in Bogotá my body had started to acclimatise after three months meaning that the heat in Neiva was sooooooo unbearable at the beginning. I was sweating, hyper- ventilating and I was just out of my element, so much so that I was fishing for words when the students asked me questions. *Just take a moment to understand the GRAVITY of this situation. I, Garvin Tafari Parsons was at a lost for words.* It struck me how different Neiva was to Bogotá. The people are so much friendlier and so much more welcoming than the majority of people here in Bogotá. The "busetas" (little buses) cost 1000 pesos (cheap over here). More surprisingly was the fact that if every seat in the bus is occupied the people- Neivans, I suppose- don´t enter. Believe me after three months of being in a city where every bus is usually FILLED TO CAPACITY, this was a welcome surprise. Overall, it was just amazing being in another part of Colombia for the first time.

This post more or less focused on the bus ride to Neiva but the truth is that the majority of my trip was spent in San Agustín. The adventures from my two days in San Agustín would include three blogs. YIPPEE!!! God bless everyone :D