Pablo Escobar

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , on February 23, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

To those of you who in the past been complaining about my posts running too long: Fuck Off And Read Something From The New Age Section.

Here comes a novel: we´re picked up outisde the Pit-Stop hostel in a white minibus, we´re in Medellín, not far from the zona rosa. We´re going for the Pablo Escobar-tour.

The driver has a standard joke, he opens his cooling bag, filled with sodas and beers, looks at us, “I´m sorry, no cocaine”.

There´s an english guy in the seat next to us, he looks like he´s been up all night with white powder, he´s been waiting all his life to come to Medellín and walk in the footsteps of the Capo De Capos. He gets kind of starstruck when he meets Pablos brother Roberto; half blind, half deaf, after an enemy planted a makeshift bomb in his car.

Roberto likes the girls. We get a couple of minutes with him and he gets a young swedish lady to walk up to him and he talks more about how he´s gonna take her on a submarine trip, then on an airplane,  and then on a spaceship, then he does about his famous brother.

Roberto lives on the upper floor. Downstairs is the Escobar museum. It´s all kind of sad. We´re wallowed around like a group of sheeps. Looking at bulletholes, looking at pictures of Pablo and family. Visiting the cemetary, everybody hovers over his gravestone, me included.

We mill outside the house of Pablos last showdown with the reinforced police. We take pictures of the roof where he got shot.

Our guide is conflicted about doing the tour, her parents would kill her if they knew she says, everybody wants to get it out of sight out of mind. But she sees it as an important part of both Medellín and Colombias history; if nothing else, to get visitors to spread the word that the city famous for its cartels isn´t the almost civil war-torned streets of the early 90´s anymore.

So this is me spreading the word.

I guess this wasn´t so long after all.

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Valentines Day (Armenia)

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , , on February 21, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

We got a few hours to kill before boarding the nightbus to Medellín.It´s Valentines Day. A is sound asleep, stretched out on row of bright orange plastic seats.

Me and M are sharing a bottle of water and a bag of chips. We´re watching a bad movie on one screen and the Colombian version of the X-Factor on another. We´re scratching a stray dog who seconds before frantically rubbed his back against the polished terminal floor to scrub off some fleas.

We laugh about it, comparing this to a Tapas restaurant a few years back: candle-lit dinner, red wine (beer for me), music finely tuned in to the mood of fifty other couples desperately trying to bring romance on cue.

The dog wags his tail. The locals look at us with disgust for even being near him. An elderly black man gets really excited towards the end of the movie although it´s one of those you know within five minutes how it´s gonna play out (man, woman hate- man, woman marry, get a baby) but he´s shouting and gesturing towards the screen, like a kid at a theatre, “watch out behind you”, me and M brake the last chips in exactly equal halfs, holding hands.

Changing positions every two minutes because our asses gets numb from the uncomfortable chairs.

Salento II

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , on February 19, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

I´m in a hammock below the kitchen patio. Gently rocking. It´s dark. The light from the patio falls sharply on the branches of thick vegetation no more than 6 feet away, making that part of jungle stand out like it´s almost manufactured with pin-sharp details, leafs looking plastic. The rest falls deeper into black.

M just went in because the mosquitos plagued her. They bite me too but I want to savour this moment: fireflies flickering, crickets cricketing, the sound of something moving out there.

A moment like this calls for a cigarette.

Salento

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , , on February 18, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

We´re staying at the Plantation House. A landmark of oppression turned into a quaint mini-village of dorms and private suits. At the end of the garden: the hills and valleys of the Colombian coffee district. A few years ago this was a zone of combat. Now, we take an organized ride down by the river rushing alongside the foot of a mountain. The horses know the trail by heart, so all you really have to do is hold on when they lightly buckle mid-stream at a crossing.

The name of the hostel isn´t just for show, it comes with an coffee plantation still up and running. The owner of the plantation/hostel hosts a coffee tour. We slip and slide down a muddy road that on Bolívars time were the main stretch to Bogota. The plantation itself rests on a tongue of dry land; overlooking a patch of bamboo-jungle, overlooking pineapples growing ripe, and that almost sedating view of hills caressed with greywhite mist.

The town is a square and a couple of streets. One of them littered with restaurants and bars. At Camino Real they have a log-fire burning at the open-air part. The sky goes pitch black fast, the flames breathe on our faces, they play the kind of 90´s rock that makes a lump of nostalgia in my throat.

I down my last cuba libre for the evening, cue music, end credits: we´re strolling down deserted streets, fireflies sparkling around us, “November Rain” plays over the soundtrack.

Armenia (interlude)

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , on February 16, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

Armenia is a city not on the maps of any guidebooks. Except as a transit point. At the busterminal there´s a little old man, wrinkly and brown, with his lips sucked into his mouth due to the lack of teeths. He´s got an old-fashioned hearing aid clipped behind his right ear, a black leather cap and watery eyes that he dabs with a napkin.

He gets some soup and bread at the the near-by restaurant in exchange for stacking up the plastic furniture after closing time. We´re on a row of seats, looking at the TV showing “Fools Gold”; a bad excuse for getting Matthew Mcconaugheys shirt off as many times as possible in two hours.

But the wrinkly old man seems to like it, he´s standing beside us, hands locked behind his back, looking at the teve, looking over at us, smiling. We smile back. He especially seem intrested in M&A, but not in that dirty old man fashion. He just seem lonely, and the smiles exchanged are just human contact.

He takes his time with the furniture. Stapling some chairs, then coming over to us and the movie, then going back over to row up the tables. He takes his job seriously.

But as the restaurant pulls down their protective gate of corrugated tin, there´s not much left for him to do, so he takes his yellow little bike and walks off with a smile and a wave; we smile and wave back, wondering what kind of reality he´s off to.

He didn´t even get to see Mcconaughey and Kate Hudson finally getting married with a bun in the oven.

Calí II

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

I´m almost ashamed to say I´ve been there. It was a two day stop-over. I feel like one of those backpackers starting every sentence with “I´ve done…” and then follows a long list of countrys in fourteen days. Chasing names only for the papertrail. Experience that goes skin-deep, put Nicaragua on like a deodorant and it´s washed off and replaced with Panama.

Anyway.

We never cross the big bad rowdy Calle 5 during our two day visit here. On the other side is Avenue Sixta with its giant Salsotecs. On our side is Parque Del Perro, a small patch of green surrounded by bars and restaurants. As darkness falls, locals mill on the curb outside a couple of hole-in-the-walls. Salsa-music blaring. Green laserbeams from one of the more epileptic establishments cutting through the night.

At our hostel, Café Tostaky, I meet a vital, 70 year old man. He´s been here there everywhere. He seems nice.

In order to protect his identity I´ve changed his name to: Bertrand. Because the second time I meet him he falls into a lucid rant about goverments across the globe conspiring against him. He can´t give me specifics, but he´s been the subject of at least two attempted murders.

When we´re leaving the hostel for some dinner, we say “see you later”, and he says: “If I´m still alive.”

Well, now we´ve done Calí. Check.

Calí

Posted in COLOMBIA with tags , , , on February 14, 2012 by pajazzoproductions

As M&A leave for the zoo I walk around the colonial environments of San Antonio and I stop at the park we all visited yesterday. At an establishment consisting of a fridge and four tables, two men enjoying their saturday with a table full of empty beer bottles calls me over.

It´s Carlos and Archimedes. I stumble on my retarded spanish. Carlos knows a few words of english. Archimedes none. But we get by. Carl0s can´t thank me enough for coming to Colombia, for not buying into the public image of death and despair, he loves Colombia, he sings it out loud. Carlos favourite song is “Life is Life”. He´s 40 years old. Carlos favourite buddy is Archimedes.

Archie is a craftsman; he carvs wooden figurines, makes braces and bracelets. Carlos work at a foodplant factory, down in the industrial district. We passed it coming in: like every industrial area elsewhere, grey, big, unforgiving.

They teach me some spanish slang rated x. I try to teach them some swedish, but they´re not that into it.

We beer the afternoon away. It´s nice. But I treat Archimedes to some snus, little bags of nicotine you put under your lip, and although I try to warn him about the possible nausea coming if you´re a rookie, his previous level of intoxication and the nicotine makes him rush for the bathroom and when he comes back out he puts his head on the table and nods off.

That´s my cue to say goodbye.

 

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