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Talking spanish, surgery and swear words in Popayan, Colombia

Written on: Sunday July 27th, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

On the bus to Popayan we got a chance to practice our spanish (after 6 hours of lessons we are practically fluent!) with a guy next to me, we chatted about the upcoming Olympics and what our countries have hopes in.  It involved a lot of miming of sporting actions: me doing rowing and discus, and him doing cycling and something else I still haven't figured out to this day.  We figure Colombia has such good cyclists because the only ones left alive deserve gold medals!
On the way we drove through Cali, which is famous for its fantastic salsa dancers and fake boobs but we didn´t stay as we don´t have either of these qualities.  Its pretty hard to miss boobs in Colombia.  Either women have them out breast-feeding or they are hoisted right up in your face and not moving an inch as they come towards you.  Colombia is THE place for plastic surgery and it is not a big deal to get your boobs or bum 'enhanced' (in fact you can get a good discount to get both done at once).  We sat next to a girl from Cali at lunch one day, and it didn´t take long for the discussion to turn to boobs.  She is a university lecturer and about to continue her studies in the States, and even she admitted to considering getting hers done because anything less than a D around here is insufficient! 
Popayan is another beautiful colonial town, but Sunday in Colombia is family day, so not much is open and the streets are unusually quiet from honking traffic but lots of people in the parks.  The museum was open so we spent a few hours stepping back in time and checking out the wide variety of stuffed animals and reptiles carefully positioned in mid-action death poses, as done before interactive computer screens took over.  We had the best meal so far in Colombia here, and then figured out why when we met the french owner!   
Like most towns, public transport consists of 16 seat mini-vans madly racing around with a guy hanging out the side shouting out the destinations fast and furiously.  We were practically wetting ourselves when our bus was going to the town of Fuka, it just didn't stop being funny each time the guy would shout it out 5 or 6 times at each corner. 
In Colombia motorcyclists and their passengers have to wear a flouro vest with their licence plate printed on the back, I decide I want to get one for myself to wear when biking back in London, but now I want one they are impossible to find!  Gave up and got on the bus to San Augustin.