7 April 1999
Swamped as I have been in recent days by all the paperwork connected with our now impending move to Canada, I have hardly had time to think about all the things I will and will not miss about Colombia and Latin America. But let me just briefly mention a few:
Elena will certainly sorely miss her friend Sofia when we move on (and vice versa).
I still have not recovered the patient and easy-going nature I used to have - that is gone forever, I fear - but we do have some good moments, and, as I persist in reminding Elena, these tend to coincide with the rare times that she does what she is told when she is told it. I am hardly a disciplinarian myself, but I find it so frustrating when she totally ignores all my hard-earned and valuable advice, and proceeds to do whatever she want, and other than me, no-one else seems willing to so much as tell her off for such transgressions. I can see that I am fighting a losing battle, but that is no reason not to try. Is it? So, some feelings of bitterness and resentment still remain from time to time, and frustration and just plain tedium are still quite common, as I tell her for the tenth time to have another spoonful of her dinner, to put her slippers on again, etc, etc.
|30 April 1999||Back to top|
Still no fascinating trips to report, no last minute jungle treks, not even a tame jaunt to the beach. I do feel that I have kicked the travel bug to some extent, by a process of catharsis you might say. At this point before we left Venezuela, I remember being in a state of mild panic because I had left some trips undone. While I do regret not having done and seen everything I would have liked in Colombia (the main excursions I feel I have missed out on being to Isla Gorgona, Providencia, Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, and Barichara), I do not however feel the same kind of passion as I did a couple of years ago - which is probably no bad thing. At one point it became something of an obsession, more like collecting the experiences off a list, which is not a very healthy way of approaching it.
The logistical problems involved in travelling around Colombia these days have probably played their part in calming me down too, and since the ELN took to hijacking airplanes a couple of weeks ago, even air travel within the country is no longer necessarily safe - a depressing prospect and which makes it much easier for us to leave.
Not that we are the only ones leaving - several of our friends (Colombian and foreign) are on the move, and a recent poll in the newspaper suggested that 50% of all Colombians want out, most of the applications being to the USA, Spain and Canada (hence the huge queues I have had to brave outside the Canadian embassy). Most companies are downsizing as the economy sinks even deeper into the mire, and the general atmosphere is one of doom and gloom all round. For this reason too, we have had so much difficulty selling our car and Julie has had only mixed success in finding new jobs for the staff she is having to lay off. Our excellent cleaner and nanny may have to plump for a live-in job (the only even remotely possible work we can find for her after we leave), which is tough for her family and particularly her 8-year old son.
But anyway, now I have got all this travelling out of my system to some extent, maybe I can settle down like a normal person. There is obviously plenty to see and do in Canada, but I feel that I have already seen most of the most interesting parts, so I do not feel the same sort of pressure to get out there, and because we will be there for the long term (not just a limited two or three or four years), there is even less urgency. Which is not to say that we will not be travelling around - I might even take up my old hobby of driving people's cars from Toronto to Florida or Toronto to Vancouver, which allowed me to see so much of the continent when we lived there in the early eighties. But, because the impressions will not be so fresh and because travelling on the civilized highways of North America does not have the same sort of kudos as striking out into the bush of South America, I do not think that a diary would be appropriate or for that matter sufficiently interesting to potential readers.
Deep in the tedium of visa applications and removals negotiations, I do not think I will have time to make another diary entry before I leave, but I do intend to make one more from Canada before I put it to bed for ever - just to let you all know that we made it safe and sound. Exactly when that may be I do not know, but trust me there will be one.