Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pereira: Arrivals

I got in late and there was no driver to be found with a sign holding my name. I had a little local currency (having learned to do this after my taxi fun in the Dominican Republic) so I proceeded to the taxi stand. I showed the cab driver my phone where I had the hotel information and we were off. The airport in the small town was crowded but once we got away from the airport we were in the country for a bit of the drive. 


The roads at 8 p.m. at night were free and clear of people. The air tasted fresh and crisp as we wend our way around small curves and turns in the local mountains. Darkness, so black, so sweeping, was all around us and the stars were a perfect canopy in the late evening sky. It was absolutely exquisite and I enjoyed my ride to the hotel located on a corner of a the city square in downtown Pereira. 

At check-in I was informed that I the hotel had been slightly overbooked and was told I'd been put in a different room than the one I expected. Being tired, I didn't say anything, though later I thought better of it since overbooked meant I was in the hostel are of the hotel with a bunch of football players and a room with twin beds that were more like cots. The air conditioner worked, though, for the most part the room was clean, and the hotel was otherwise very nice so I got over it. I didn't intend to spend that much time in my room anyway. Since it was late and I was starving I asked if it was possible to get food with the English speakers downstairs doing check-in and they called ahead to get me some food. 

I changed into a something much more comfortable and went up to the sky restaurant for the first time. The hotel featured a bar/restaurant on the top floor and this is where my coworkers finally found me about an hour and a half after I landed.

"We got to the airport late."

"That's okay, I got a cab."

"We're really sorry. This is Hector, he will be your driver for the next few days."

"Hello Hector."

"Just, Hector doesn't speak any English, okay? You speak Spanish right?"

"Nope, but I'm sure we will figure it out."

"But..."

"I speak Korean."

"But...your last name is Spanish right."

Internally I sigh, because this happens all the time in Latin America. I smile at Hector, I take a sip of my nightcap. 

"Hola Hector. Hablo un poco espanol. No problema." 

Hector smiles, "Si, buenos noches. Te veo manana."

"Si." 

We arrange the time and place the my colleagues finally leave me alone in the bar where I finish my dinner and drink and look up at the stars twinkling overhead and relax. This leg of the trip will still be busy, but the conferences are only in the morning. I've been promised some fun trips to explore the country a bit between work and told that my work will be invaluable. I'm excited and looking forward to the events. 

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