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February 1, 2020

San Gil*continued,

( *pronounced “Hill”)

The other day I wrote about meeting people while traveling.  I said that I did not think I was capable of much of that kind of thing.  I still believe it to be true, but yesterday was a little eye-opener.
Returning from visiting Barachara, a nearby colonial town on the Colombian historic register, I received a text from an expat living in Colombia.  He wanted to know what I was up to.  I met him through a connection from Ashland.  
I shared my day a little with David as I stopped at a balcony restaurant for a beer.  It is a great place as it overlooks the busy and pleasent main plaza.  I was introduced to El Balcony by Hale, the Turkish cyclist whom I met while walking my bike along the street.  

Sharing a Beer in San Gil
Sharing a Beer in San Gil
I had arranged through my hostess to purchase a bus ticket to Santa Marta, a town 200 km north of Cartagena.  Another expat had suggested that it would make for a good trip to ride from Santa Marta to Cartagena.  So, I texted Steve, sharing I was soon on my way.  He wanted a map of where I was staying, so I sent him one.
Leaving my high level perch and entering the sidewalk the man from the motorcycle shop stopped me to talk a little.  Just to say hi and how are you kind of thing.  Like what happens when you walk down the street of your home town.  
As evening drew on I went for a walk down some streets I had not yet explored.  This town is very busy on a Friday night.  The calles are crowded with food vendors surrounded by very full tables set up in the streets on almost every corner. Lots of music and conversation.  The motor scooters buzzing and weaving through the maze, while walkers try not to get hit.  
I watched the young children as they learned  from their parents how to negotiate safely.  I have become aware, from watching mother ducks and mother humans with their youngsters following in a line, just how much children learn from observation, beginning at a very young age.  Think about how babies learn to smile.
As I walked around I remembered that I had to stop at a panadria to buy something for breakfast.  I am sitting here on the balcony of my hotel having just finished the breakfast I purchased last evening and drinking my second cup of French Press as I talk with you. The press and the coffee I carry .  Good coffee is a wonderful way to start a day. 
I know the time by the shadow of awning on the table.  It is approaching the edge.  I will leave you and  begin the rest of my day when the table is completely covered by the shadow.  Boy, do I get distracted.
I headed back toward my hotel and the bakery where Hale and I shared stories of the road.  It is a small place and some of the tables are in the doorway.  As I made the turn into the shop there sat Hale and Gorge talking with the owner. I joined the conversation until the shop closed.
We walked toward their apartment and my hotel on the quiet, summer warmed, nighttime street.  We said our goodbyes with hugs, each going off to a different life, with good memories of our meetings.

So, maybe I am wrong about meeting the people of the world.  Maybe I should look at it in a different way.  John, a long time friend, said about my traveling, that I approach each day wondering what will happen while others approach the day thinking about what they must do.  Instead of wondering if I will meet someone maybe  I should wonder who will meet me.

No, I will continue to leave my bed with my eyes open and just let each day be what it is without expectations.

The table is in the shadow.

—Bill H.

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