(Mum, please don't read this, at least not until I'm safely back in Paris.)
Now when I’m soon flying back to Europe, I guess I can write “the only time”, but fingers crossed that nothing dangerous happens to me anymore. I wrote this story long ago, because I knew that writing would help me feel better and get over what happened. There are many reasons why I didn’t post it right away when I came back from Brazil. Mostly I was waiting for my so called friends to send me pictures (they never did), and at times I was not even sure if I wanted to share this with you. Finally, I feel ready.
As I already said when I told you about my last days at Fundación La Vecina, I always try to keep my blog positive. Sometimes I write about things that slightly annoy me but even then I try to write from a pleasant and amusing angle, being curious and accepting that life here is different from how it is back home in Europe. Most of the time my blog is full of sunshine, beach life, cute kids, and sunsets on rooftop terraces. I admit, all these things are part of my everyday life. I love it and I know that I’m privileged. However, I rarely write about the misery I see in La Boquilla and how it breaks my heart being there four days a week and the weekends living the “chic tourist in Cartagena” – life. Nor did I write much about how I in the beginning was very lonely and homesick. I didn’t complain because I knew already then that later I would look back to my Caribbean life and remember it as a great experience, rewarding in so many ways. But some days, I felt so lost and I found myself daydreaming of going back. I thought of blogging also when things didn’t go well, but I think that by keeping my posts positive and by talking mostly about everything good, I was trying to keep this blog less personal.
That is going to change now, and what I’m about to share with you has been for me the worst experience here. This is nothing compared to feeling lonely or spending my days with a community that lives in marginalized conditions. I know that I have been extremely lucky because I have not gotten into any trouble or threatening situations here in Colombia. Naturally, because nothing bad has happened, I have started to feel less scared and to let my guard off. However, I have now seen that South America is not only sunshine, dancing and having fun. There are places that are seriously dangerous. So I’m just going to say it. In Rio de Janeiro, me and my friends visited a favela. And we got into a situation where we could have been killed.
Friday night, time to relax, in the mood for going out for a drink. But... where? In your home town or traveling to a new city, the problem is always the same. There are so many bars around, and yet there aren't. You read about nice places on your way to work, you pass by nice places on an evening run or when walking your dog. But when it's time to go out, you suddenly can't think of anything, even less of anything new or exciting (and that is exactly why I always end up in La Perle, no seriously I just like it too much). Well I'm about to make your life a lot easier, at least if you happen to be in one of the 7 cities that made it to my list.
Rooftop terraces in São Paulo are starting to become my specialty. I explored two more with M, and have now seen the São Paulo skyscraper view in daylight, sunset and darkness with millions of lights. In addition to that, we walked on the central main street, Avenida Paulista, travelled some more with the metro (no bus this time), went shopping and ate sushi, like we always used to do in Paris.
Our time in Rio was full of ups and downs. I'm not sure yet if I will write a Rio part 2 - post, one about tourists who were not happy at all but more like terrified and scared to death. And well ok, quite happy and relieved in the end. I think I will, when I'm ready. But this one is about us exploring Rio's famous touristic spots, going out a bit, and for most of the time, having fun and enjoying our time.
São Paulo is big. No it's not big, Paris or New York are big cities. And Bogota was a lot bigger, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it from high up. But São Paulo is massive, gigantic, whatever word you want to use. I spent two weeks in Shanghai last year and yes it felt similar but somehow I'm even more amazed now than what I was then. I'm giving you some facts so you get my shock:
So here I am, in Brazil (!), and I've been exploring São Paulo for a day. I've seen skyscrapers, street art and stunning views. I went strolling in the central park, Parque Ibirapuera, learnt to use public transportation and tried São Paulo's signature cocktail, a Pisco Sour. Not bad for one day I'd say.
Day 108, airport time: My life in Cartagena is starting to look like a happy routine, so it is time to go for a little adventure - in Brazil!
I haven’t been blogging for a while, I know. But thanks for all the page views and (Facebook) likes every time I post, it makes me happy!
After Semana Santa my life in Cartagena has fallen back into it’s routines and it feels like if I had been living here for a lot longer than two months. However, now it is time to take a turn and explore a new country. And not just any country, but Brazil! I’m writing this post at the airport in Bogota, and soon I’ll be boarding the plane to Sao Paulo. From there I will travel to Rio de Janeiro and reunite with two dear friends of mine, M and M: The Spanish M who you already know from this blog, and also Australian M, whom I haven’t seen since December, when she came to Finland for my graduation. I’m so looking forward to this trip and I can guarantee that with these two girls it will be fun!
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!