Las Lajas, Colombia – Snow in Colombia

We look out of our window and everything is white. Is that the proof that in this country nose candy lies everywhere on the streets? Hardly. A dramatic thunderstorm with long-lasting hail shower lets the temperature drop from 30° C / 85° F in the hot morning to 8° C / 45° F. That is called diurnal climate. All seasons in one day, typical equatorial highland climate – we are in 9,000 ft after all. We still camp on the parking lot above the pilgrimage town Las Lajas. Joerg had for some of days an indefinable afternoon fever without any other symptoms, which hindered us from driving on. Is it one of these odd virus diseases passed on by mosquitoes that disappear as fast as they appeared? I bake a convalescence cake just to be on the safe side and lift my cake embargo lasting for years. Whatever helped, it seems that we are ready to continuing our trip.

The parking lot is well visited by busses with pilgrims, especially on weekends. Then the parking lot attendant turns up who collects the parking fees. We stay undisturbed. Besides a small chat the man doesn’t want anything from us. Astonishing. A bit above the parking lot a family lives who owns a water connection and kindly supplies us with drinking water for our water tank. When filling up this morning – we want to be prepared for our onward journey – we talk to the adult son of the family who washes cars in daytime about the necessity to learn Spanish when travelling individually in this part of the world.

A reoccurring question is, if Spanish is difficult to learn. The grammar is difficult, I explain him, much more difficult than in English. He hesitates: Isn’t German the same like English, isn’t that our mother language? Besides the disturbing gap in the young man’s education he expresses what we often experienced. If a Latin American speaks another language (mostly English) that is a magnificent achievement. They assume that every tourist naturally speaks English, that it must be his mother tongue. They don’t even consider that learning a foreign language (English as well) might be linked with the same difficulties for us. To put it in a nutshell: All non-Latin Americans are gringos, and all gringos speak English. Beautiful simple world.

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