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We are in Guatapé now, a charming town full of weekend revelers from Medellín, of which, I suppose, we are also members. It is the kind of town you typically pass through and think, I would like to stay here longer, but I haven't the time or the money. But here we are, staying the night for once, and not paying up the nose for it either.

We felt relieved to get here, so relaxed did it seem after the bustle and noise and crowdedness of Medellín. Of course no place in Latin American seems quite as empty as the U.S., but at least here I am not knocked off my feet by fat men in a hurry. No one, anyway, is in a hurry in Guatapé. And we resumed our usual routine of sitting in the central plaza at night, chatting about all the people who weren't with us. I don't think there's anyone we know whom we haven't talked about by now--and most at considerable length. If they only knew how much they were on our minds.

Traveling reminds me of a kind of loneliness that is easy to forget in regular life. It is the loneliness of being somewhere strange and knowing that there is no one nearby who cares about you at all. It is the most fearsome type of loneliness, even though it's not real because next you will think, But I can just call so-and-so, who will help me, or who will at least call my parents, and then you are in the secure, all-loving embrace of family, and loneliness is far away. Until you remember that one day your parents will be gone, and then you may have had a falling out with your friends or are too proud or timid to ask them for anything--or maybe you're mad and they just can't deal with you anymore--and then it's frightening to think that the only people in the world who are obliged to care for you (and who take this obligation seriously) won't be around, which means you... But then you wake up from your nightmarish fantasy and shake yourself a little. That's enough of that.

Posted by chschen 16:00 Archived in Colombia

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