It was an inauspicious beginning. I waited 12 hours to get a flight out of Charleston with the warning that the flight into Bogota was over booked too. So, I expected to sit in the Houston airport another 12 hours. Never give up hope. 11PM. I napped as seemingly hundreds of Colombians poured into the gate area. Finally, 11:40 I went up to the agent. “Any chance at all I’ll get on this flight?” “Si. No problem. That man will call your name in a few minutes” Woohoo!!
Soon, I was cozied into seat 3A. First class, room to sleep, a nice glass of red wine before take-off to help the process. When we were airborne I had another. The young, quite handsome, guy who spoke no English, next to me rolled over into the console between us knocking the deep red zinfandel onto my beige jean jacket. “No problemo, I assured him. Esta solemento una jacketa.” Maybe I made sense. He got some paper towels from the bano to help me clean up.
A few minutes later as I was filling out the tourist form, big drops of black ink dotted the form. I blotted them with my napkin and kept on. Later, the customs agent would peer at them skeptically. “Ink, I said. Disculpe.” She waved me on.
In Bogota I went into the airport bathroom to freshen up, and found that my makeup Revlon (natural beige) had spilled. Omg. Such a sticky substance.
At 9:30 am, Two hours later (24 hrs after I left Charleston) I was sleeping on a couch at La Pinta Hostel when Albero showed up. I had told him to wait until I called him, that I hadn’t had any sleep. He didn’t listen. He told the clerk at the hostel that he was taking me and would bring me back tomorrow. She smiled. I was whisked away.
On the way to the Catherdral de Sal, he stopped at a house in Bogota. “It is my house, but I give it to my ex-wife because she give me children.” “Fair enough, I think.” He introduces us. Claire I think, but find out later it’s Clara. I like her. She gets into the car.
The three of us sped off. For the the next 24 hours we tour the catherdral, have dinner, and spend the night at his lovely finca in the country. In my honor Alberto plays John Phillip Souza marches and a compilation of classic country music.