Monday, December 13, 2010

First days in Barichara

My hotel room in Bogota was the best for the money I've
found so far... there is a shower behind that artfully
carved glass and it had hot water, too!!!
The trip from Bogota to Barichara seemed longer than usual and I guess it was because I was both excited and nervous to be returning solo. So much of my life I have had a “significant other’ (husband, boyfriend, fiance) in it and my experiences have been colored by those people. This time it was going to be all on my own shared only with those who care to read this blog.
Also, I was uncertain what kind of taxi driver I might get in San Gil and would he be understanding of my lack of his language? Would he be uncooperative at the other end about driving up a grassy driveway? I need not have been worried because I found a garrulous young fellow who was excited that I even tried to speak Spanish and he was exceptionally willing to be helpful at the gate. What a relief!
I arrived as the sun was setting so there wasn’t much time to get the bags dragged inside and get lights on. I unpacked quickly - easy since much of it was stuff for the cosina (kitchen) and most of the rest could be stuffed into a drawer.
Happy to be “home,” I put my teapot on to boil and puttered about while the water was getting hot for my first cup of tea. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have much in the larder and nothing in the refrigerator except a soda. Then I remembered I had some crackers from the couple of days I spent here before leaving and perhaps they were not stale and I had brought peanut butter back with me. Sigh... a feast as I listened to the quiet night sounds... I fell into my bed exhausted from two days of traveling and concentrating on a new language.
My casa faces to the east, so I am always going to get early morning
light, provided it is not cloudy or rainy.
Here is a shot of the first sunrise. I was up early and there was no power. My current attitude about these things is that if I wait, it will either come on or I will get information about the situation and getting upset about it is unproductive. So I prepared to take photos until it got light enough to see in the cosina.
Since I only have cold water anyhow, a shower wasn’t a consideration until the sun got higher and the temperature got warmer. I hope to fix that with the installation of a solar shower, either permanent or transportable. I cannot imagine that anyone would pay $600,000 USD for a house with only one bathroom that has only cold showers - that is the asking price for this place I am renting.
There is another problem - more serious than cold water. The mold in the third bedroom has gotten worse since I was away. I have no reason to be in there except to sweep now and then, but the mold has spread. I spoke to someone about it and was told they were planning to whitewash over it. I said sternly, “NO, that will not be sufficient. It will have to be dug out of the wall and rebuilt. Whitewashing over it will be a temporary fix and will not solve the problem. The dirt is contaminated and is permanently damaged.”
I spoke with Randy from Corasoma and they have a mold issue in their sleeping quarters as well. He is now sleeping someplace else until they resolve the problem. With all the rain that has been assailing Colombia, the mold issue is rearing its ugly head for the first time. A doctor friend of mine and I talked at length about the health issues of mold and she said there has never been so much moisture and so she has not seen any health-related issues connected to mold ever before but she was going to do some research as she suspected the rain (lluvia) was going to continue for awhile.
The view of Barichara as seen from La Loma where
my casa is located. You can see the clouds still lie
heavily on this northern section of the Andes and
brings the cooling wind up in the afternoon. Evenings
are still somewhat on the chilly side, for me at least.
The solvable problem for the first days was getting the car started. That was how I ended up in conversation with Randy as he came down with the magic battery charger and we started up the car without any difficulty. I have to find a way to leave the car and not have the battery draining while I am gone. It is a new battery, but the alarm system on the car pulls all the juice out of it if it is not started once a week.
When I woke up this morning it had been raining through the night - not hard, but still wet. But wet conditions do not stop the roosters from announcing at 4:30 a.m. that the sun is beginning to rise. I do not need an alarm clock here.


  1. Glad you're safe. Being alone is a great way to do all those things you've promised yourself you would do.

  2. Oh how I love your posts - glad you are safely back - pictures look fabulous of your stunning view. Hope all continues well x

  3. Thank you, readers, for your concern and best wishes for my safety. I wanted to add that there are a lot more dangerous places for a single woman, even a granny, to be in than here. For instance, I would not dare walk even one block, never mind through a sort of wooded canyon, anywhere in MIami, Florida or New York City after dark. And yes, men and women of all ages in Bogota need to be careful at all times of the day and night because of the robberies and such, but using good common sense, staying in secure hotels and planning your travel to be during daylight hours when on the ground minimizes the risks. I'm not a risky traveler, but I'm not going to be a fearful one, either.