Most Embarassing Bus Journey!

yes, i could keep moaning on here about all the things that wind me up about this country im in, and probably piss off every Colombian whilst doing so, but every once in a while something happens here that really makes me laugh so i thought id share that too! Its not all bad……

Yesterday i began my 2 hour bus journey to work, bored stiff as my headphones broke so i was staring aimlessly out of the bus window (you never know what weird and wonderful things you might see on the streets of Bogota)

So on gets a guy in a suit, clean and smart with a nice watch, therfore probably not going to try selling something, or playing any weird music for a few coins. PHEW coz those people always make me feel sad and like i have to give them money. He pays his fare and sits next to me. FINE.

10 minutes after sitting there, he gets up turns around and starts welcoming all his happy colombian family on this beautiful day. He was one of those can make anybody smile types. So he starts asking how people are, making jokes that had the whole bus engaged and laughing and blessing each of them. Scared to get picked on, because im a wimp and i also dont want the whole bus to know im not Colombian, i instantly closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, a regualr trick for me!

He was selling something afterall, medical books, how to use natural remidies to cure various diseases etc, something i like to call witchdoctory here. if you have a cold, its ok, just drink a plant infusion, if you have mosquito bites use pure alcohol with talc to make a paste and rub it on the affected area, if you have high cholesterol keep eating animal fat and bones because its a standard colombian diet, but drink a ginger and tomatoe infusion and youll be reducing your cholesterol, hahahahahahah. i still think its ridiculous bu hey some of them seem to work.

But then things get embarassing. During his game of having people answer questions correctly about the body “what is the longest bone in the hand?” “what is the function of the kidney?” etc, i open my eyes. He sees me and thats when my humiliation starts…………

He leans into me and says “ohhhhh you have “ojos claritos”  (clear / blue eyes). I reply “si señor” and look away, but thats not enough.

He invites me (literally pulls me up) to standing position and tells me to turn around so the whole bus can see, and then asks the entire bus to applaud if they think my eyes are beautiful! Everyone was clapping and i went bright red. So then he embrasses me further by asking everyone to clap for the embarassed gringa!

He at least gave me his medical book for 1,000 COP (about 40p) instead of 3,000 COP, something i shall be giving to my mother in law! although i wasnt going to buy the book but ended up doing so, maybe i underestimated his talents as a salesman!

Just when i thought my day couldnt get any funnier, a young guy got on about half an hour later, maybe about 20 years old, and starts rapping for money. Something really clever they do here is adhoc their rap about the people on the bus. obviously kinda tricky to do without stopping bearing in mind people get on and off and yet they keep up with the flow.

He starts with the lady infront of me being on her phone, then starts rapping about my eyes being so blue and pretty. (this must be the only thing i have going for me here!)

With that the people who were still on the bus from the earlier embarassment start clapping again and whistling! WENT RED AGAIN!

I know i moan alot about the things i dont like in Bogota, but days like that really make me smile and laugh.

As funny as it was, im hoping to get new earphones and “be asleep” for further journeys, I just dont like sticking out however flattering it might be!



A very close call

So a while back someone said I should change the name of my blog because having gone through everything to have a baby here and becoming a mummy, I am no longer an idiot. Well I couldn’t figure out how to change it, (maybe the name is appropriate after all) but more so after Friday night……

I’m writing this in a blog because so many people are asking what happened to me this weekend, and it pains me to keep re-telling the whole story (not to mention typing right now is a bitch) so I’m just going to tell the story on here.

So having spent the whole of Saturday spring cleaning our room the last job to do was clean the bits in the kitchen. We had just that day given my mother in law a brand new set of extremely sharp knives and a lemon squeezer. The knives were open but the squeezer was still in its packaging secured by those annoyingly tough plastic security tags.

So I grabbed for the new knife, and began sawing away from me – it wasn’t working, so this idiot decided to start pulling towards me, needless to say the knife slipped and went straight into my hand. It went all the way in and out in I guess less than a second and instantly the blood began to spurt out of my hand like it does in really bad horror films, there was puddles of it on the floor and it was on the worktop, ceiling, and as far as the patio (a rooms length away from me).

Obviously I screamed for Juan, which I had to do twice as after the first scream he was shhh-ing me and telling me to relax, it turns out he thought I had seen a spider or something. When I screamed that I thought I was dying he and my mother in law rushed in. within seconds I had lost the feeling in my whole hand, was wrapped in a tea towel and was in the car.

There was a discussion in the car about which hospital to go too (because there are certain ones you have to go to depending on the health cover you have here – but I knew the nearest one would be at least a 40 minute drive, I screamed to just go to the emergencies here in my ‘barrio’ –I would have paid anything just to be told right then that I wasn’t dying.

We arrived at the hospital in Fontibon and luckily for an AnE at midnight on a Saturday I was the 3rd person in, so I was seen after about an hour ish. LUCKY!

Needless to say while Juan left me to go sort the car out, and I was sat there shaking and crying/ moaning, I had all sorts of sympathetic looks from people worrying about the gringa had been stabbed!

I did learn one thing sitting there being in extreme pain – pain makes me a really mean and judgmental person, horrible in fact. I was complaining about having to wait saying that it was a hospital for poor people that was understaffed with only 2 doctors working, that hadn’t yet given me anything for the pain, and so low budget there was blood stains all over the floor – Juan later told me the blood was mine! Ooops (I take back all horrible things I said, sorry).

I was called through to see the doctor and through nerves, shock and fear actually did quite well surprisingly in Spanish. But he could see how scared I was and asked Juan to come through to be with me.

I was laid down and given maybe 5 or 6 horrendously painful injections to numb my hand which had me screaming so loud I’m actually quite embarrassed by it now (I even apologised to the doctor when he had finished). He then began my 10 stiches while I laid there crying listening to the doctor and Juan chit chatting about Juan living in London, where he learned to do stiches and the horrible place at night which is Fontibon!!

When I was done and sat up the amount of blood all over the floor nearly made me faint but I was ok.

Finally he told me to go see the nurse for an injection for the pain and a tetanus jab. The nurse only washed my hand with soapy water, asked me if it had been a suicide attempt as I was so close to getting the main vein / artery – whichever it is that I had nearly killed myself, then sent me home with a prescription – not very reassuring.

We found a 24 hour drug store, got my meds and was at home by maybe 2.30am.

No sleep at all and 4 painkillers later and I was still in excruciating pain by mid-morning. I went over to my local pharmacist and she gave me an injection for the pain (which didn’t even help) and told me to come back later for the tetanus. She told me the meds the hospital had prescribed were the cheapest ones available and were a bit crap! So that explained the amount of pain I still had!

I spent my first day at home in constant pain but every hour or so it would get unbearable and id begin to shake and cry again. Thank god for having some of the best people I know around me to help out with distracting me and to help with Niko!

I had my tetanus jab and at night managed to get some sleep for the first time in two days. 2nd day the pain was more bearable but I was still a little worried that I could only just about move my fingers and still couldn’t move or feel my thumb, but I’ve now convinced myself that’s just due to the swelling and I’m trying to relax about the fact that I have a semi paralysed hand in a claw shape.

Today is day three, I’m able to wiggle my fingers, and slightly move my thumb although it’s still numb with pins and needles. Its a little swollen but I have so far escaped without bruising. The swelling shows how far the knife went into my hand which is through the skin between my index finger and thumb, and as far as to the middle of my wrist.

Now that I’m not in shock and can think rationally and humanly, it is a little funny that I have been in a bit of a dangerous barrio of Bogota for nearly 3 years now and managed to stay safe until I was stabbed – BY MYSELF! My granddad summed it up nicely in an email

“Hi Claire, just heard from mum. If you are going to embrace the Colombian knifing culture, do it to someone else! Silly to attack yourself”

So that’s the story of this idiot abroad, I’m very grateful for everyone’s well wishes and concern and for the help of my husband and close friend Zoe who have looked after me since it happened. And right now as over the top as it might seem I’m just so happy to be alive and without permanent damage (although I’m still a little concerned about my thumb) but I have a GP appointment on Friday so fingers crossed.

And that’s it, ill keep you updated! PS- I have the cutest son ever who’s very concerned about mummy’s “owchie” and keeps giving me kisses!