The legend was true. They said El Dorado lay hidden in the jungles deep of Cudinamarca, or Boyaca was it. But they never found it even though it was right in front of their eyes. Maybe they were busy hunting, and not looking carefully.
For me it was different. It was as obvious as the writing on the board in the airport: El Dorado.
It has been quite some time I have been here. And ‘here’ is somewhere right on the diametrically opposite side of the globe I was born in. And it never felt like i am far away. Truth be told, maybe subconsciously, was prepared for whatever comes my way, and adapt to it. But notwithstanding that, I am sure i would have loved this anyway. The moments have been lived.
I remember talking to a freind of mine in Park Street last winter that all i crave for is a culture-shock. A place where poeple wont be the way i have known all along, where life and living would be different from what i am used to. And he said, sure (maybe because he was drunk), why i will never know.
I have done a few things which i would have never done otherwise. Since i am not in a mood for brutal honesty, i wont say what. Thing which could have only been possible in Latin America.
For example, playing football with a bunch of Latinos. I have always considered myself a little better than abominable at football, by Indian standards. However, i realised that i cant play the game at all, when these guys, some of who were almost 10 years older than dribbled past me with effortless ease. And the long shots, and yes the sprints. One would easily mistake the field for a grassy dance floor. Being the central midfielder, it was a real embarassment. However, after 4 goals down, i realised that one thing these guys dont do much is pass the ball. Thats when i decided to be the decoy guy, who runs away with a couple of defenders to make way for the others. This continued for some time, till the other team understood i was not worth marking since no one was passing the ball to me. So they started leaving me alone. However, when the ball finally came, i did score, from 5 yards albeit, but scored nevertheless. One of those priceless moments!
Also, i remember going to this place called Alimentarte, which is like a food festival, where we get to taste food from different parts. I had a good juicy steak and an amazing dessert, the name of which i cannot remember now. It was quite like the Book Fair we had in Maidan in Calcutta. Instead of books, its food and music and dance. The music and dance are like bhanrer cha of Calcutta, here, there and everywhere! The ubiquity though, doesnt mean one is satiated with it.
The best part however were the late night parties on weekends. When i took up this job i am doing right now, i never though i would have time for all of this. But how wrong was i. Cometh the weekend, cometh the parties. Everytime a new one. Though i have never been much of a party goer myself, but i must say i didnt dislike much the ones i went to here. However, it is to be kept in mind, unlike back at home, the parties are for all in here, not just for the son-of-the-rich. Given, the universal nature, one gets a glimpse into the private lives of these people.
However, the best part of my soujourn has been learning a new language. Espanol. Frankly, though, i cant speak much, and my grammar is totally awry, but i do understand most of it. These days, when my friends speak in Spanish, i listen intently, and say whatever i have to i chip in my bit in English. With the waiters, and taxi drivers, and poeple who dont speak English at all, i beleive i can communicate what i need to. Perhaps, this has been the single most important thing i have learnt so far, during my stay here.