I’m facebook friends with a shaman’s assistant in Colombia. Even indigenous healers are making facebook events these days. He invited me to a ceremony this weekend on a farm outside San Gil, but I decided not to go. We only just arrived in Villa de Leyva. There is a natural flow to travelling that would be disturbed if I were to leave for the ceremony now. More opportunities will arise, I’m sure.
Some call Villa de Leyva a paradise. After the noise and pollution and anxiety (and excitement!) of Bogotá, I almost agree, but not completely. It’s a sleepy town of 9000 people where all the houses are painted white. People walk slowly. Cars can drive only 15km an hour through town. Everyone says “buenas tardes” when they pass by. It’s a nice place, but there really ought to be running water in paradise.
My first lesson about the precious importance of water was at Burning Man. I was very high on seven hits of animal crackers when the water stopped working in our camp. In my inebriated state, I was pretty sure it was the apocalypse and we were all going to die. Water is very important in the desert, after all. Here, in Villa de Leyva, my experience of water shortage is not so dramatic. It is not the apocaplyse. It is mundane. But the consequences are also more tangible. Perhaps diarrhea is technically less tangible than a regular, healthy shit – diarrhea kind of slips through your fingers – but you know what I mean. I don’t know what made me sick. My guess is that I ate out somewhere where they couldn’t wash anything properly due to lack of water.
Despite its imperfections, Villa de Leyva has been a very welcome change from the big city. Next, Kinga and I are going to spend a few days (at least) taking care of the chickens on a little farm outside town. Something is exploding as I type this. It’s fireworks. People here need no excuse to celebrate.