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A week in Colombia – Thursday

A week in Colombia – Thursday

By on Feb 23, 2016 in Blog |

A week in Colombia – Thursday

Today we went shopping. There are many supermarkets from basic ones similar to Lidl through to premium brands. We stopped in the cafeteria of one of the big ones and had a couple of fruit tartlets and a coffee. Their breakfast special was pain au chocolat and a coffee for 75p. We walked to the supermarket and passed an area where you can hire bicycles by the hour – for free! There are lots of cycle lanes in Medellin and until you get towards the edges, it is fairly flat (Medellin is in a valley so at some point you do have to go up!)

Afterwards I attended a couple of online webinars and Gönül cooked for tonight’s meal.  It is 29C and has been most of the week.

It was heading for a quiet day until our host got himself locked in the bathroom. We tried to open the door from the outside using a key. No luck. We tried a hairgrip. No luck. Then we sat back and thought about it. Gönül and I had just finished an entire series of 24 only last week. What would Jack do? We compared notes and came up with a plan. I asked our host’s wife to call a suitable Colombian contact and acquire a pump action shotgun. At first she seemed confused, then shocked, and finally undid a suitcase in her room and gave me her own. C’mon now, this is real Colombia, not the one you read about, that last bit absolutely did not happen. We tried a credit card. I’m so glad what I actually used was a plastic metro card because not only did it not work, but it also got severely mangled.

We called the neighbours and a plan was hatched. They got some rope and attached a hammer, screwdrivers and allen key to it. Then they launched it from the next bathroom high up into the skylight and down into the host’s bathroom. He then set about removing the door from its hinges. At which point the ISP engineer turned up to fix the router, which is in our bedroom – and opposite the bathroom prison. The scene now comprises two men standing on the sink in the guest bathroom, one on top of the other; a further man trapped inside the host bathroom; an engineer dismantling the spaghetti junction of wiring that connects the router, TV, extension cables etc. Gönül still trying to jimmy the door, the wife translating several conversations at once twixt Spanish and English and observing it all, Maggie. Yes Maggie. Seemingly nothing more sinister than a Sausage dog Chihuahua cross, she was the single common factor in all the incidents that played out. I had thought it odd that she had earlier been trying to bury a bone in one of her four beds, when we lived on the 4th floor and there was no chance of any other living thing snaffling it. Now as the images from that afternoon flashed before my eyes I realised it couldn’t have been a bone; more likely a key and chewed up circuit board. I wanted to check, but Maggie was right here, in the doorway to our room  – and she was eyeing me intently.


Maggie Stares



Abruptly the door fell open and a triumphant and very hot host appeared. The ISP engineer announced he had changed encryption to WEP, which was the company’s new policy (it’s a standard that was replaced in 2004 by a more robust one) and left apace. In celebration of both our returned internet connection and our hosts’ newly styled integrated hallway bathroom combo, Gönül produced a lovely meal for all concerned and the evening culminated in a happy ending 🙂

After a couple shots of the local Medellin rum I was ready to avail everybody of my theory. I waited for a gap in the conversation and as I did so, something soft rubbed against my legs. I looked down and a large pair of eyes stared intently back. I was mesmerised, falling into hypnotic silence…


Maggie stares up



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