My mom used to tell us a joke about a mother and her two sons, an optimist and a pessimist. For Christmas the mother bought the pessimist a room full of toys. She walked in and found the pessimist on the floor crying. “Why are you crying?” she asked the boy. “If I play with the toys I’ll break them and then I wont have anything to play with,” he said. Exasperated, the mother went to go look for her other son, the optimist. She found him out in the barn diving into their new pile of manure. “What are you doing in the manure?” she said. The optimist smiled down and said, “Thank you for the gift, I just know their is a pony in here somewhere.”
When life hands you shit, always look for the pony.
The past week or two we have not had the best of luck. It all started on our rock and roll bus tour. Three cities in 24hrs. We didn’t have the sex, drugs, or even rock and roll but we were certainly traveling like we were on tour.
While traveling from Salento to Armenia to Cali, to catch a bus to Popayan, our bus was pulled over by the police. They searched the 15 passenger bus for at least 30 minutes. They went through every nook and cranny of our bags, even checking our laptop, making sure it wasn’t a false front for drugs. They went through our documents with a fine tooth comb, making sure they weren’t fakes. When they were done grilling us, and had thoroughly dismantled our bags, we got back on the road. When we arrived in Cali it was late, so we decided to stay the night and catch a bus the next day. We headed to the terminal in the morning only to find all buses to Popayan were canceled due to protests in the southern region of the country. We had heard some talk of the protests but had hoped it would end quickly. This was a week ago and the protesters are still blocking the roadway. This threw a wrench into all of our plans.
Johanna quickly found a payphone and called the hotel to cancel our reservations. They were kind enough to let us cancel without a charge.
Exhausted, bags in tow, we decided to head to the airport and catch a flight back to Bogotá. Our original plan was to continue south to the Amazon, the pentacle of our trip. The protests have rendered our plans all but impossible. The protesters escalated from road blocks, to burning buses, and throwing homemade bombs. On top of the protests, truck drivers, and all long distance drivers went on strike. Remember, when life heaps on the shit, look for the pony.
Had we gotten a bus to Popayan the night before, we would have been stuck with the rest of the travelers on the road with no where to go for the past week. Luckily we are safe and happy in Bogotá where we can spend more time with Johanna’s grandparents, and maybe check out some places close by that we have yet to see. We are so lucky to have been afforded the chance to make this trip, and we are not disillusioned to the fact that this protest is only an annoyance to us, while it affects the everyday lives of the struggling citizens of these towns. Most people never get the opportunity to even think of seeing the Amazon, let alone touring an entire country for four months. So remember, along your travels, you will run into road blocks, and sometimes it will seem like life continues to heap on the shit, but where there is shit there is surely a pony.