Friday, 4 February 2011

All By Myself

Masturbation was NOT an option! Too soon?

It´s almost one month since my return to Bogotá and things have changed. My previous land lady,the oh so charming Maritza, has fled to New Zealand (can I get an Amen?) in search of more money meaning that her outside man has been staying in the apartment so as to carry out the administration of the apartment and ensure that I adhere to dear, old Maritza´s house rules and recommendations. José doesn´t particularly like me but he tries to have conversations with me that are irrelevant, unnecessary and VERY awkward. Furthermore, I only started at the University this week meaning that I found myself having A LOT of free time to myself and no one to talk to during the day and night for that matter. So what did I do to occupy my time alone in the apartment? This blog seeks to answer that question by chronicling a day in my life.

1)Talked To Myself

My mother has always told me that talking to yourself does mean that you´re crazy unless of course you answer yourself. Keeping Mom´s advice in mind has made me feel less crazy- then again, being crazy is relative- about what I did on that day. I staged grand conversations with myself in English and Spanish that covered a number of topics. I actually answered myself making the neighbours think that there was more than one person in the apartment at any given time. It´s understandable that I talk to myself because I have a very active imagination and I always have an opinion to share; this is just a fancy way of saying that I LOVE to talk. The funny thing is that after about an hour I was annoyed at the sound of my voice, it´s just so high and irritating. Now I understand why people randomly walk away or else ignore me when I´m talking to much.

2)Random Explorations

Once the novelty of talking to myself had worn off, I had to find something to occupy my time. I started to observe the fruits in the fruit basket, touching them to see if they were spoilt. Before I realised it, I was on her bookshelf admiring her book collection. She has a wide selection of books that focus on langauge learning, cooking and "How You Can Have God In Your Life!" There were three bottles of Argentine and Chilean wine and they were all sealed. There was a wine container box thingy labelled, "El Buen Vivir Comunicaciones", filled to the brim with pens of varying sizes and ink colour. On further examination, I noticed that ALL the pens were labelled with the name of some alcoholic beverage like, Black and White Scotch Whiskey, Santa Lorena Wine and Grey Goose Vodka. Employing my skills from Writing for Academic Purposes Option Two, I deduced that Maritza probably worked in some sort of alcoholic distribution company like Angostura but a Colombian version. Bolstered by my amazing deduction and "macoing" skills, I proceeded to the cupboard at the end of the corridor. I knew that it was filled with boxes but I had never opened them so I figured that it would be another adventure- EAT YOUR HEART OUT DORA! I opened all ten boxes and noticed that there were mostly paintings, ceramics, decorative straw hats and other knick knacks that you decorate your home with. Obviously, Maritza hadn´t finished unpacking following her move to the Takay Apartment Complex. After yet another stellar deduction I started to wonder whether or not being a Deducer was an actual form of employment. We need to get some people on that! As I was placing the boxes in the cupboard my eyes drifted to her locked bedroom door. The cogs in my brain started whirring and I was actually pondering, picking the lock with a knife so as to "see" what she has in her room without being bothered. I decided against it because I felt like a criminal just thinking about it and I was pretty sure that a knife couldn´t pick that lock. The next exploration site was the area on the side of the radio where Maritza has her CD collection. Guess what I did next?

3)Sang Loudly and Danced

I had been listening to soca earlier and I was still in the singing mood so one can well imagine the joy that I experienced when I found some karaoke CDs. They were called, "Let´s Sing, Volumes One to Three" and they included songs from artistes like Seal, Eminem, Shakira, Destiny´s Child and Queen just to name a few. I put on Volume One and lay back, quite contented, listening to the mellow jams that this CD boasted. Suddenly, I heard the first chords of "What´s Up" by 4 Non- Blondes (YouTube it if you don´t know who they are!)and next thing, I was on my feet with my remote mike in hand screaming at the top of my lungs, "WHAT´S GOING ON?" It was all uphill from here as the songs got better and better so much so that I stripped to my undies to dance like Tom Cruise did in "Jerry McGuire". The singing and dancing continued for the majority of the evening and I wasn´t worried about my neighbours hearing because they´re like potted plants, just existing! When I started to sound like Whitney Houston post- cocaine abuse, I decided it was time to wrap up the karaoke session so I sat on the ground, held my remote mike and belted out "My Life Will Go On" by Celine Dion. My eyes started to sting at the end of the song as I envisioned Leonardo DiCaprio/Jack Dawson sinking to the bottom of the ocean as Kate Winslet/Rose Dewitt- Bukater vowed to never stop loving him. Titanic oui!

4)Cooked and Observed My Neighbours

After my marathon karaoke session, I was hungry so I decided to bubble ah pot of tinned red beans with bacon to be eaten with the macaroni and curried chicken I had in the fridge. While the red beans were cooking I found myself doing what I do best sometimes, that is, observing my neighbours or "macoing" through my kitchen window. This was about the time when everyone was coming home so I was able to guess based on what they were wearing where they worked. The majority of them work in the hospitals as nurses or doctors. I was trying to use my Grey´s Anatomy knowledge to deduce what part of the hospital they worked based on the colour of their scrubs but that failed. There are a lot of families that live in the complex as well since men, women and children yelling, "Papi!" kept coming into the complex. While I was "macoing" a new family was actually moving in and their little white, panel van was fit to burst with all manner of household things. The mother kept on scolding the boy because he didn´t want to help move the stuff into the apartment. Honestly, if I had to climb those twenty five steps to Apartment 501, toting a bed post, I would have not wanted to do anything as well. Eventually, night had fallen and the smell of cooked red beans wafted through the apartment. I thought, "Observing your neighbours can be so tiring!", as I sat eating and watching Ugly Betty.

I really hope this blog post answered the question posed in the first paragraph. Until next time, ah tired!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Return Trip to Bogotá

Never a dull moment...

After a month and five days in sweet, sweet TnT, it was about that time to return to Bogotá. I felt really calm about returning because I started to regard Bogotá as a home away from home. Given my track record, one can surmise that this trip was an interesting one.

Before I had even left for the airport I found out that my dad coulddn´t take me to the airport since he was running late at the mechanic. This was about ten minutes before I was supposed to leave home so that I could reach the airport on time so one could well imagine my state of mind. My preoccupation was further escalated by the fact that every taxi I knew and called either didn´t answer their phone or were on some beach in Toco. Furthermore, I was concerned about whether or not my suitcase would be overweight since I had packed A LOT of Trini delicacies like two black cakes, kurma, drops, sweet bread, red mango, fudge, paw paw ball and Lipton (not exactly a delicacy but...). Luckily for me there was no need to worry because, 1)I found a taxi driver, 2)I arrived at the airport just in time, 3)I met a friend who works at the airport meaning that my suitcase which was overweight by five pounds was cleared and I didn´t have to pay a cent and 4)my Dad, Mom and Grandma were able to come and see me off; we even ate Royal Castle (it wasn´t that good). Before I knew it I was bidding my family farewell, taking off my shoes in Immigartion and modelling in my socks towards Gate 10 while¨"Oh Oh" (probably, NOT the name of the song) by Brick and Lace played in my head.

The first leg of the trip was a three and a half hour flight to Panama City and by my standards it was relatively normal. The airhostesses or like I call them, maids on a plane were super nice and catered to our every need. They fed us turkey sandwiches, mini pretzels, Oreo wafers and two glasses of orange juice. Oh my, it was GOOD, so much so that "Afro- Trinidadianitis" eventually stepped in. My slumber lasted some 30 minutes meaning that I had an hour and thirty minutes left on this flight so naturally, Mr. Boredom paid me a visit. I started to talk to my friend about random stuff and eventually, our conversation progressed to Carnival 2K11, the fact that we were missing it and the songs we had heard thus far and liked. We both agreed that Destra had indeed come out "real BAD" this year because all her songs have TREMENDOUS potential especially "Middle Ah D´ Road" with Swappi. I dunno how but we started singing a song from either this Carnival or a Carnival gone by. I must admit that we got into it like any Trini would and we started to move in our seats. Suddenly, my friend tapped me on my foot and pointed to the seat on the other side of the aisle, laughing. I turned to looked and understoodd why immediately; there was this guy dressed in a shirt and pants, hunched over in his seat with both hands covering his ears and shaking his head from side to side as though our singing distressed him. I laughed heartily and all singing ceased at once. Thinking back as I´m writing this post the poor guy was probably feeling the effects of cabin pressure. I needed to find a new way to entertain myself so I decided to go to the bathroom. If you would get your minds out of the gutter, you would know that I needed to pee and I had thus far never used a toilet on an airplane. Gosh, airplane toilets are sooooooooo confusing with all their gadgets and signs. I felt like if I pushed the wrong button the plane would go plummeting into the sea of lights below. I was in for a shock when I flushed the toilet because the strangest, most powerful "sucking" sound came out from the toilet as its contents went down to parts unknown. This got me thinking, where DID the contents go? *Googles it* Forty five minutes after my toilet adventure the plane landed in Panama City.

The second leg of my trip was an hour and a half flight to Bogotá. We(my friend and I)got off at Gate 16 and we had to walk to Gate 28 to catch the next flight. We had about twenty minutes to board so we weren´t walking that quickly. About halfway to Gate 28, I noticed that I had left my cellphone on the other plane *insert EPIC FAIL moment* so I had to RUN back to Gate 16 so as to enquire whether or not anyone saw it. I met a girl at the desk and told her what had happened. She then asked me what my seat number was and proceeded to enter the plane to look for it. I could have SWORN that the plane was still in Trinidad because Ms. Lady took forever to come back with my phone; I was still grateful when she brought it for me. We had to walk a little faster now owing to the fact that Ms. Lady had taken so long and that I was careless with my possessions. At about Gate 23, we were out of breath when this guy in a red blazer comes running up to us.

"Parsons? Baptiste?", he asked.
"Siiiii.", we answered.
"Están esperando/ They´re waiting.", he says.

We started to panic and made a mad dash that would make Usian Bolt really proud to Gate 28. At Gate 25 we actually started to hear our names over the PA systems being pronounced in a lovely Spanish accent full of impatience. This girl spotted us and ran ahead of us to tell the airplane to wait for us because we were coming. Panicky, a little excited and out of breath, we arrived at Gate 28 where an agitated airport person asked us where were we. I stupidly answered that we were on the other plane. Our final dash was through the tunnel that connects the airport to the plane. Laughing, I entered the plane and registered that EVERYONE was seated and filling out Declaration Forms. It was exhilirating walking down the aisles and having everyone look up at you. The food on this leg of the trip was good except for the chicken sandwich. It was cold as though the airhostesses had never heard about that little known invention called the microwave and the bread was DRY and FLAKY which made swallowing a task in itself. After eating, I began to fall asleep again when I was jerked awake by the plane seemingly plummeting a few feet from the sky. A woman screamed and my friend clutched my arm while I stupidly asked, "We land or wha´?" We were calmed down by the Captain who told us that there was nothing to worry about and that we had just passed through a little turbulence. By that time I REALLY wanted to feel the ground under my feet. Oh thank God, we finally touched down.

It felt GREAT to walk down those steps and feel the cold Bogotan breeze on my face. I was in Bogotá again!

PS: The contents of the airplane toilet go into a holding tank. There are several of them on every aircraft. They are plumbed so that they can be drained at major airports where they are serviced. The contents are then dumped into special sewerage systems. The blue fluid is replenished by the same truck that drains the tanks. The tanks cannot be dumped in the air by the crew, regardless of circumstances.

Google is AWESOME :D