When I said to people that I was coming to Colombia, I usually got those three reactions:
“Awesome, wow, lucky you! Take a lot of pictures!”
“Colombia? Why? What are you doing there?”
“Isn’t it like super dangerous in Colombia? Please be careful!!!”
Since I arrived last Saturday I haven’t felt insecure once. Neither in downtown Bogota, on the streets at night, nor in the bus stations or on the roads. Not an ounce of fear.
The hotel where I stayed at the colonial town Villa de Leyva, about three hours from Bogota, is called Suites Arco-Iris, and its motto is “the place of the happy days”. And it is. Located on the top of the hill, you can see the vast green mountains framed on huge windows from the comfort of your own bed or the terrace. One path leads you to a panoramic view, where you can watch the sunset or the lights of the city at night. Another path takes you to a waterfall, which I chose to do yesterday morning. On a low season Wednesday, I had the hotel and the path all to myself. I walked carefully as the leaves made the ground slippery. I was totally present, in the moment, like I should. And then I hear some barking far away.
And the barking gets closer. And louder. In a fraction of a second, there’s a dog right in front of me. An ugly, big, black dog. He as no collar, and there’s no one else in sight. And he barks non stop to my face. As I wear shorts and sandals, I can almost feel his breath on my legs. I have noting on my hands to defend myself. He shows his teeth. Fuck. I cannot remember the last time that I felt this kind of primal fear. I froze. I wondered what I was going to do next when he was done eating me. I prayed silently, as any good agnostic or atheist does in times of despair.
And then I hear a whistle. And another one. There’s a woman, she’s coming. She’s the owner of the freaking dog. She goes “calma, perrito, amiga, tranquilo, amiga…” MUY AMIGA. The dog calmed down and licked her hands.
We exchanged a few words, and I kept walking. My legs were shaking and I had tears on my eyes. I felt like crying, really bad.
And yet for some reason, I didn’t.
PS – I have included this product http://bit.ly/8rNePB on my shopping list. This way I can save my ass from potential dog attacks AND help the breast cancer foundation!