The weather can be a rough deal some days in Cartagena. Seated right alongside the Caribbean, the wind blows so strongly sometimes that you're thrown off balance; yet the sun is so hot you don't know whether wind is to blame or dehydration. Given our affinity for old men in little old bars, who collect Beer Trophies all throughout the day, it could be the Costenitas or Aguiltas (mini beers) contributing to our disorientation.
Whatever it is, it's delightfully trying.
But that's really the only rough deal. Sixteen days deep in this place -- after a respite with a congressman and his girlfriend, who wants to bring bikram yoga to Bogota, on a horse farm -- I know that I don't want to go back to the dismal streets of Manhattan just yet.
A week before we left New York for this beautiful worm-hole of a city, I received a call from my mother. I wouldn't have known it was from her, hadn't my cell phone told me so. When I answered, there was only a muffled whimper on the other end.
"Mama?? Mamaaaa. Mama!" I asked and then exclaimed a couple times, using a slight, Mexican intonation reserved only for her.
Then there were several minutes spent cajoling her to speak.
Finally, "I jus' don' know. I jus' don' know why. Why? Why you (joo) have to do this to me. Mijita, you so hard-headed. Why Colombia? COLOMBIA? You're So Hard Headed! With your brother and the new baby -- with that Woman, bah, that Woman -- and now you. What about your Security?!"
Oh, my security??
That question had arisen many times in my brain tunnels prior to the trip -- and in old Margs' as well: we both have admitted that we thought about considering our plane fare a big mistake and forgoing the whole deal up until days before the trip was set.
My security in New York no longer exists; I lost a job I hated, I love my roommates, but lord knows how long I'll be able to bunk with them, and I have but a few people I might miss if I choose not to stay (somehow) there. One of them is with me.
Perhaps there was something in my subconscious that sought out environs that seem "insecure" ... based on HBO portrayals of this place ... who knows? What I do know, however, is that my security in New York is no more secure than it is in Colombia -- here, at least, I know I can buy food for two days for $2 and speak with some of the most endearing and grateful people I've ever met.
No es posible in Nueva York.