Does reality exist? To me it is more and more becoming an abstract word that means less and less! Define reality is subjective to me. I dont hold the explanation/definition to this word. I have only one in a billion definition. If I would claim that mine is the most objective, correct, best analysis etc, I could not be more wrong. So so many people today claim to be the one who knows. So whos reality is right, the poor beggar on the street trying to make a living but also trying to find reality and find a reason/meaning to his/her life..or is it the rich man flying around in his exclusive jet, drinking choice whisky, wearing  expensive watches and more and more. Or is it I the ordinary middle class person that have a comfortable life but is not poor and not wealthy rich? Or is it the IS fighting and killing people in the middle east or the munks fasting and shaving their heads not allowing themselfes any material possesions….or is it the dictators of saudi arabia with such wealth that they could eradicate poverty on the earth.

One stupid theory that they predicted was going to be reality was that let the richest become richer and they will through their increased wealth let some of their riches trickle down to the poor and thereby eradicate poverty. This reality experiment did not happen but what happened is that that the richer became richer!

So the conclusion is that there are 3 realties, we are born, we live and we die! regardless of nationality, wealth/poverty, continent, culture, religion….and more!

some thoughts..

Sadly to say the success of my life and achivements will only show at who is present at my funeral…so in a way I hope not too die toooooo old…because then most of them will have beat me to the goal…and I would feel very alone there in my coffin…
I am kind of a fan of funerals….because it is the only ceremony you can attend uninvinted and feel welcome….birth, wedding, birthdays…etc…all by invitations…but a funeral  is open for all, even enemies can sit in the same room….And you are the guest of honour…lying in your coffin…not even the lid open to peek to see who came…boring….

God forbid that I will be buried and remembered for my money (not so much anyway!ha)…my goods…my riches….let me buried for my passion…my life….my giving and most of all my children and my grandchildren….Being myself..more than trying to be somebody else….


is a word that fascinated me from the first time I heard it. The word has so many meanings to me, for example, ”like the truth”, ”instead of the truth”, ”looks like the truth”, ”the quality of seeming to be true”. It is so close to the truth but still not the truth. Today we are so clever and we use this way of communication very much in our every day life. We dont lie to people but on the other hand we dont tell them the whole truth many times or the full story. We keep some parts of the story to ourselfes and thereby making it look like the truth, verisimilitude! It is not a lie but it is also not the truth!

It is so common today that we dont react to it and we should. The problem is when we in our turn tell the story to the next person with our version….where does it end up then? It is not even close to the truth and not even verisimilitude anymore!

Also most of us dont do it out of malice/evil but just because we dont have time to tell the whole story and more important we feel that the person we are talking to is stressed and dont have time and maybe not even is interested. There are so so many pitfalls that often leads to misunderstanding and a thereby verisimilitude!


has many angles/aspects depending on many factors and can therefore sometimes be interpreted wrong and also misunderstood! There are or is some loyalities that are more strong and almost impossible to retract! The loyalty that you have within your own family. Even though many times this loyalty can be very strained and going through difficult times with a lot of tension, hard words, often there is still a sense of/kind of loyalty that counts in the end. The loyalty that you have towards your children is unquestionable and maybe the strongest loyalty whereas  children not all the time feel the same kind of loyalty towards the parents, not when they are growing up at least! The loyalty between friends can also be strong but there are certain degrees of loyalty in friendship that can change very rapidly. In loyalty between friends you expect it to be on equal terms, like you expect the same back as you give and vice versa. If this balance is disturbed by something, the quality of the loyalty can be affected and if it happens often it should affect the loyalty. Friendship loyalty is not a one way street but very much a two way street!

I have had kind of a crisis in my own life now where I thought that old friendship meant unquestionable loyalty. This is anyway my way of looking at it and I have lived strongly by this value! But lately I have experienced that maybe there was an imbalance and the interest of me and loyalty towards me, I had misjudged it and saw it in one specific situation that kind of opened my eyes and made me very sad and disappointed. And also a little angry. So this is where I have revalued or evaluted my loyalty and lets say on a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is good and 1 is bad, so have this loyalty dropped from a clear 9 to a 4! I dont look for their approval and dont feel so happy now when I meet them. I dont look for meetings any more and other things. It make me sad, because I looked for this loyalty. I feel that loyalty is a kind of love and is included in love. I am strong social person that value loyalty more than money and material things. You cannot compare these two things.

So you can maybe say that I have or had high expectations of myself and thought of myself as something special! Yes maybe you are right, but I also felt that the loyalty I gave did not come back! So I apologise for having to high expectiations of these friends. But this does not mean we are enemies, far from!! But my feelings are not just the same anymore. It can be repaired but it can be difficult.


…an increase by natural growth or addition!

I like this definition ”natural growth or addition”! Life is a natural growth where things/experiences etc are added all the time. And I like the definition ”added” not subtracted! Which means that life is positive and you are always adding to your life, of course for good or bad. Often we marvel over people that have gone through terrible things and they still see it as an addition to their life and not a subtraction. Sometimes it takes some time before we see the addition but the attitude is that there is a ”light at the end of every tunnel”!

Another thought I had about accumulation is that most people see it as a race to have as much material things and money in the bank and then you die happy! My idea of accumulation is to look at life as a journey with temporary stopovers/stations and then move on until the final destination. My accumulation are the experiences I had in life, first of all my fantastic children and my grandchildren, friends, living in other countries, learning new languages and cultures, having good health, having had fantastic relationships with beautiful women (and still have!) and not so much the things I have which are not so much. Things/money are tools to get us somewhere and not a goal! Somehow I have survived with very little money/things and intend to let it be that way!

having the ass glued to the wagon…

……that drives you around in life without you having a clue or idea or maybe you dont care who is in control!

We can go through life and steal it and then look back and regret life! Wishing we had done things differently..when we  knew all the time that we we were just living a substitute life while life, the life we should have lived, passed us by. Sure we see other people that succed in changing their lifes but how and why? There are certain events in our lifes the makes us more inclined to change, when we not only talk about change!

Catastrophe..out of the ashes of the old comes the new…but in the moment it happens it is chaos

Grief..when someone close to you, someone you love passes away..same here..out of the black mourning slowly the rainbow will come

Economical crisis…unemployment, accident etc…here is our charachter truly tested and make change possible

Illness…to realise that I will never be well again!

But let me go back/reverse a little..this thing how we see ourselfes and others..we and them! We all (i presume this!) have in our acquaintance someone that have gone through some kind of change, crisis, chaos etc. How did this happen? Ask them how they cooped with it and how they dealt and came through it. What thoughts did they have when in crisis, what decisions did they make, what did they decide to change and WHY?

Why I am so obsessed with this subject is because I meet people both in my work, social life and when I travel that are not satisfied/happy about their lifes and present situation. WHY? Why dont they do something about it? I view them as being ”thiefes of life” ..and go through life without grab a hold of life! They are just using/abusing life and then when it is over and they die/pass on, they die as one big questionmark…

A story told from the French Legion that were stationed in North Africa made me wake up a little. Many young men joined this anonymous army to find excitement or escape from the western lifestyle. A soldier retold this story that when one of his comrades got shot and fataly wounded in a battle..he got to see him die in his arms and was the last person to see him alive..he looked deep into the dying soldiers eyes and saw something that woke him up and gave him a different look on life and made him take a hold of his own life. What he saw was not the fear of dying or the pain of the wound or sadness but it was just an empty gaze starring with one big question ”Why did I ever live?”

This is what scares me ….and keep me alive and living!

Not to complicate things and make myself to a depressed loner that lives like a hermit, hiding in the woods from everything and everybody..No that is not me! And not trying to live an ascetical monk life as that should be the answer, compensation for happiness. Maybe for someone else but not for me!

This is the core, the essence to it all ”What do I want from life?” Not just talk about it and wait for things to happen….what do I do, so my ass does not get glued to the wagon so somebody else drive me around and I cant get away…does it take a lifecrisis..a chaos…a chatastrophe?

My small philosophy as a young 64 year old is how to learn to appreciate my age and not looking back or yearn  for times gone by (I get a little nostaglic sometime, I am still human!), but I have found a way to say YES to my age, my sunset! Before 40 it is sunrise, pretty boring and not so colourful as a sunset! The sunset with all its colours is where you take all these experiences and start living with them and make use of them. Experience is a treasure not a luggage to be put away, it should take you to new levels, new destinations, new experiences! In short, LIVING!

The definition of who I am is more clear today then when I was a confused not yet 40 year old!




Lessons ”maybe” learned from reading books..

Goethe wrote in his biography after he decided to break with his old life; ” Who knows where I am going? It is with great difficulty I try to understand where I come/came from!”

Rousseau wrote this to help people understand his complex/dual/rebel personlity; ”…there are moments when I feel and act so different that people can easily confuse me with someone else that has an entirely different personality!”

Nietche suggested/wrote that the common/average man/woman are ”..angry spectators of their own past!”

Salman Rushdie states/proposes/suggests that ”the modern/contemporary I/me/myself is a weak construction that we build from small pieces/experiences of this and that; dogmas, injustices experienced from childhood, newspaper articles, random commentaries from people, movies seen, insignificant victories, people you hated, people you loved!”

Z. Bauman and M. Taylor writes that ”the psyche is always/constantly in an unbroken/uninterupted voyage/journey to being…a never completed/finished I-identity!”

Societal economics today is to be compared/likened to a ”plasticity” I(me) a collage of fractured pieces in a constant being/motion/in-the-making, always having to be open for new experiences/challenges/impressions – this is the ideal psychological condition in comparision to shortsighted work/employment experiences; a constant risktaking ”plasticity”!

And there is not enough time/space for a deeper understanding/comprehension/cohersion/reflection when ones lifes work/efforts are smashed to pieces in just a moment, because in the big picture of life it is just one mosaic piece, a sandcorn on the beach of time/eternity, yet it hurts like hell and this is not how you see the situation when you are in it, living it. But todays society does not give you time to heal/reflect, but tells you to get with it, get over it and move on! There is also no time for analysing the seriousness and the painful consequence in failing, because it is just another episode/chapter among all the other episodes in life!

No time for reflection! And no time for living!

The story of Pilar and I!

Here I intend to write down our story that began 2011! A beautiful and passionate love story!

Chapter 1

This is not an ordinary story or a fairytale. It might be written from an angle or a view not so often read or written. Is it made up or did this really happen or is it just another exaggerated story told by a person that have no contact with reality? These stories just don’t happen and if they do it is only someone elses story. I write like this as an introduction because people always tell me that this will or cannot happen to them/me. My answer is “Why not?”.

This is my story about how I meet Pilar 10000km away and why I feel and think it is worth tellling. Read it, you might learn something and be inspired to do the same, it can also become your story! Don’t let life pass you by and wait for things to happen, make them happen! It might not be like in my case a woman 10000km away, but it definetly is a change in life.

It all started at midnight april 2011  when I came home from work. I work as a youthcounsellor at a home for teenagers in my hometown and it has a workschedule that requires work at odd hours. So here I come home thinking to plan my vacation in Spain the coming summer. I sit down in my comfortable chair in front of my laptop ready to make my reservation! My eyes caught an add anouncing “Cheap tickets to South-America”! That was enough for me to check it out. Why? You might think! Well I have been to Colombia several times and fallen in love with this beautiful country and its people. My desire has always been to return, but because of circumstances that concerns my family, my mother is (was) old and a journey that far made it difficult for her. Colombia is far far away and Spain is a much closer.

Anyway here I sit in front of my computer at midnight after a long days work with an add offering special prices to South-America. But first a glass of red wine to relax me and some serious thinking. Well I got to look at this offer before I book my ticket to Spain, just in case. The offer was fantastic! Lufthansa was just opening their flights to South-america and also to Colombia and they had a campaign offer! The price, returnticket from Copenhagen to Bogota, 565usdollars (4000swedish crowns)! Unbelievable! It was halfprice from ordinary price. Of course the choice was obviuos, but still….! Could I do it because of my familysituation and other questions that also came to my mind. Of course I like to make spontaneous descions, but this was quite a big one and I had to do it now, because this was the last day of the offer, Tomorrow the ticket would be back at the ordinary level of over 1100usdollars (8500sw.crowns) again! So after some thinking and a few sips of wine I found my motivation and reason to buy the ticket. The reason and motivation? This year I would turn 60, so this was the birthday gift to myself. Enough thinking, I pressed “OK” and now the ticket was bought for october 13, 2011. I would arrive in Cartagena in Colombia late at night the 13th of October and wake up 14th of october on my 60th birtday. Great!

But after a few days I started to get some other thoughts in my head and questions! Since I had been to Colombia a few times before and had experienced a lot of what Colombia has to offer, what purpose will this trip have? Well I decided that I will call it “the journey inside of me”, and I decided to set up 3 goals.
1. How my relationship with my dear friends in Colombia will develop.

2. visit my godchild that I have had for a couple of years now and

3 last but not least “Is there possibly a colombian woman for me? And this is where chapter 2 starts!

Chapter 2.

I contacted my good friend who is also a good photographer and asked him to take some pictures of me. Pictures I could use to put on the dating sight called Colombian Cupid, an ordinary dating sight where ordinary people place their profile! So this is what I did. I had already decided to be very honest about myself and not try to hide the way I looked, my age, my background, interests etc. The profile should be true and honest. I paid a subscription for 3 months and was going to give it a fair chance. If I meet someone “Great” and if I don’t at least I tried. So the search for my colombian woman was on.

Maybe you think “Why not look for a woman a little closer?” I don’t really know more than that I love latin women, the latin lifestyle and then of course Colombia. And I also have a more longterm vision and plan for my travels and trips to Colombia. And now my hope was to find my Colombian woman. Anyway I clicked on many profiles and I got a lot of responses from women all over Colombia. The age I was looking for was from 40 to 50! And yes there were plenty out there. More than I ever expected. So I narrowed it down to women who could write good english, my spanish is not yet fluent. Being able to communicate is important to me and not just sitting looking at each other. Out of respect, I think being able to talk to each other, expressing ideas, thoughts, beliefs etc is of outmost importance in a relationship. So now I sorted out over 50% of thoose who clicked on my profile. Actually english is not that common in Colombia and my experiences are that even among the educated it is not so widely spread.

So now I had a few left that still were interesting and I had a good communication with. My second step to narrow it down was to find someone in the region of Cartagena and Santa Marta, since it was in this area I planned to find a more permanent place as well. Now there was not so many women left. Again the language,English, really was what made the big difference. Out of all these only 2 women were left and were outstanding! One in Cartagena and one in Santa Marta. Both wrote english very very good and I had nearly daily communication through email with both of them. The one in Cartagena was a little problem for me because she was only 36 years old and I felt she was a little too young whereas she in Santa Marta had turned 40 and was within my search, the age between 40 to 50. But the one in Cartagena had such charm, very mature, educated, always said the right things and on top of that extremely beautiful! Mailing to these 2 continued for a month and was very good!

But I knew the day would come when I had to choose! My goal was ONE woman not TWO! And the one in Cartagena popped the question one day! “Do you have any other woman in Colombia you are communicating with?” Straight on! It really put me on the spot! What do I answer to question like that? Can I say “Yes I am communicating with another woman also that I am interested in”. If I did this, knowing the latin woman, she would maybe say BYE! The communication with her would be over, finished, fenito! The latin woman wants exclusive rights and not someone else in the boat or to be more straightforward in the bed also. This was fine with me, because I was also looking for only one woman. I had to make a choice and in some ways I knew in my heart which one it was.

My many options was down to one woman and guess her name? Yes you are right, the title of my book, Pilar. It is fascinating how it became her out of all these other women and did I make the right choice? Or am I completely on the wrong track? You don’t know and I will never find out if I would have stopped here! So I had better move on to the next step. It was still nearly 2 and a half months before I left for Colombia. In a way good because this would give us time to get to know each other more! This is where chapter 3 starts!

Chapter 3.

So now it was only Pilar and me. We wrote each other nearly every day and if she didn’t write I got worried and wondered what had happened. She always answered “Don’t worry! I was just busy doing many things!” Pilar is an esthecian and works giving therapehtic massage to overweight women and by this helping them to loose weight. Quite a tough job and requires a lot of strength. Anyway our email-correspondance continued and one day I asked for her phonenumber and if it was ok that I called her. Of course was her answer and she gave me the number. A little nervous and not knowing what to expect we decided that I call her on saturday, 27th of August, in the afternoon here in sweden and morning in Colombia. In the summer there is a 7 hour time difference, Colombia being 7 hour after.

So saturday came and in the afternoon I picked up the phone to call. It took me a couple of times before I got all the numbers right, countrycode, areacode and finally her number. The signal was getting through and her phone was ringing. First signal, second signal…..on the fifth signal a gentle soft voice answered “Hello!” and just hearing that voice put me at ease and we had a conversation for about 5 minutes. Her english was better than I imagined, easy to understand and easy to have a conversation. A wonderful conversation that further confirmed my choice of woman. This is what I had to go on, take one step at a time and hope it would work. Pilar have a beautiful daughter, Valentina 8 years old. They are very tight and love each other very much. What made me respect her is how she takes care of her daughter and puts her first and spend a lot of time with her. A fantastic mother, being single and all. More about this in the later chapters.

She lives with her sister and her husband. This sister is also Pilars best friend and is very important to her especially after their mother passed away. I learned a little about her family, she is the youngest of 4 sisters and 1 brother. Her mother passed away about 8 years ago. Her father is a retired teacher. We started to make plans how we would meet when I came in october, which was only about 2 months away. My first suggestion was to meet her in an exclusive bar, Santa Clara Hotel, in the old town, very romantic with soft music and dim lights. But then having second thoughts it was not such a great idea for a first meeting. Why? It would give the wrong implications, first of all it is in the evening making the wrong impression that you are only thinking about getting her into bed and only sex.

If you want to learn to know a woman and respect her, this is not the best place for a first meeting. It is like telling her that you are only in it for the physical part and that is what you are interested in. This was not my aim, thinking or intention at all. So I changed my plan and place for our first meeting. Just a thought to my reader and that is…What are your motives? Where do you want this to lead to? Is it a short term or longterm relationship you are looking for? My goal was a longterm relationship and not just a mayfly!

Anyway I changed our meeting place to a historic place, the main entrance to the old town. The gate of the clocktower. It is like a place taken out of 15th century picture book. Remember Cartagena de Indias is a World Heritage city and it is unique how the old walled in city is so perfectly preserved. This is where I decided our first meeting would be. I wrote her and suggested this place. I even suggested the day and the time, 15th of october at 1pm. All this was ok with her. Imagine making such detail plans for such a meeting over 10000km away. Making it sound like we meet downtown in 15 minutes. It was still a month left and during this time we exchanged daily emails and many phonecalls.

And the closer the day of departure the more butterflies in the stomach. I had many preparations for this trip because I had to bring things to my friends also and to my godchild at the Barefoot foundation school. I went all over town trying to find special things for Pilar and her daughter. I would be gone for only 2 weeks but it seemed much longer with all these preparations. I would not do a lot of travelling around like I did the other times but like I wrote in the first chapter, this was going to be the the journey inside of me. Sometimes I wonder about myself why I problematise things. “Normal” people make their journeys, look at som touristattractions, swim in the ocean, get some sun, eat good food, drink a lot, live in a comfortable hotel, do some excursions and so on. They are happy with this and it is simple, they come back with a nice tan, stories about how nice the food was or was not, the weather and so on. They do this time and again, from country to country. I call this surface travelling, where you don’t really want to learn more about the country you visit, the people, history, culture, language etc. They scratch the surface and that’s it!

So this is why I wonder about myself and how I travel. Before I fell in love with Colombia I used to go to Greece 2 times a year for 4 years. Always to the same place, Agii Theodori, learn to know the people there and they learned to know me. It was always nice to come here and it became my second home. I worked on the greek language, learned the culture, history etc. For me learning the language is essential to learn to know a country. Read more about this here(not ready yet) in my background!
So back to my preparations for the october trip that was going to change my life. Little did I know how much.

As I wrote we had daily communications with each other. Very open about how our days went and what happened in our lifes. One day she wrote that she had one of thoose days, when she brooke a tooth, her computer stopped working and a some woman cancelled an appointment. When I read this email an idea came to my mind. Maybe I could help her somehow in this situation but without her knowing it in advance. I contacted my friends that have a hotel in Cartagena if it would be possible to use the hotel to be able make this surprise happen. At the time they were still here in Sweden and it took some convincing before they agreed to my idea. Naturally they were sceptical knowing that a lot of men get ripped of by women who only are in it for the money and nothing else. So they agreed and talked to the sister in Colombia and the staff about my plan. Now it was time to tell Pilar! I had not told her anything at all more than that I felt sad about her broken tooth and computer and I hope it will get solved somehow. So after a few days, when my friends had agreed, I wrote her that I had a surprise for her and that she should go to this adress of the hotel at 2pm. There at the hotel she would present herself with an identification card, state her business that she was here to pick up an envelope from a person called Torbjörn Aste. I also told her specifically what to do and to be very formal. She would receive the envelope put it in her purse, say thank you and go home. So would my plan work all the way? I tried to see if there were and flaws but NO and Yes it did work!

She went there, they asked quite a few questions about who she was, what she did, and where she lived. Naturally they were suspicous as I wrote before, but I felt maybe I little too much. Anyway Pilar handled it very well. She got home and opened the envelope it was one of the surprises in her life, receiving something from someone 10000km away whom she never meet yet. Needless to mention it made her day. While she was at the hotel I wrote her an email that she would read when she came home. I wrote that it is not so much money but I hope it will cover the dentist expenses and maybe a little more. Dentists in Colombia are not as expensive as in the west, less than half price but still as good. The amount was not much for swedish standard but in Colombia it goes a long way. For me “It is more happiness in giving then receiving!”

Chapter 4.

This chapter I will call the trip! I always enjoy the days just before the actual departure date. Thoose days are so intense and hectic even though one thinks that all the preparations are done. Suddenly a million things come up, mostly checking and re-checking all the bookings, confirming that all the flights are ok. To reach Cartagena in Colombia take 3 flights, Copenhagen-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Bogota and finally Bogota-Cartagena. So there are a few flights to confirm. Also transport to Copenhagen airport. I see myself as an experienced routine traveller but I am still excited every time as it was the first time! And also this was the first time that I travelled alone to Colombia.

When I travelled to Greece a couple of years ago I mostly did the trip by myself and I also made a trip to Alicante, Spain, on my own, so yes I have done quite a bit of travelling on my own, but never this far. Being alone on the journey relaxes me in many ways. When you are 2 you have to consider the other persons choices/likes/dislikes/desires as well the other person thinking about me! This means a lot of compromise and planning whereas when you go by yourself it is easier to be spontaneous and make sudden changes/decisions without having to go through a big discussion. In a way I am never alone because I meet a lot of people all the time, it is quite easy for me to strike up a conversation.

So now it is the day, I travelled with my car to Malmö where my daughter lives with her husband and my granddaughter. I usually sleep there and live my car with them when I am gone. The flights are nearly always early in the morning so it is easy for me to get up in the morning and take the train at the nearby station to the Copenhagen airport. And this is what I did this time also. I arrived at the airport quite early to have time for any obstacles that might happen. Do this all the time, to avoid the stress and make the journey a pleasure as well. Go through all the routines at the airport, check to see that may flight is on time, do the check-in of my suitcase, passport control, security check. When entering the taxfree zone, after a final check to see what gate my flight is departing from, now I can sit down, relax and take a good beer at my regular pub at the Copenhagen airport. Now I really relax and feel/enjoy the journey!

But this time I realised that I had forgotten one important item. My camera, terrible. I had to document this trip with photos. It was not only meeting Pilar, it was my 50th birthday and also  going to see my godchild in Barranquilla. So I finished my beer and went of to a duty-free electronic shop to look for a camera. You think they would be cheaper here but no! Anyway I got one that could do the job and give me the pictures that I needed. I cant believe that I forgot my camera!

The flight to Frankfurt took less than 2 hours dep.9.25 and arrive 11.00. The Frankfurt airport is one of the biggest in Europe, but I had time. My next flight was 14.30. It took me some time to travel from one terminal to the other and here you also have to go through another security check. I don’t really relax before I know that it is the right terminal and I have confirmed and located what gate the flight departs from. The I relax. There was some time over so I got to buy some gifts to bring to Pilar. She had told me her favourite perfume, Angel- Thierre Mugler, so I bought this for her and some other small things. Time to board the bird, flight 542 to Bogota, that was going to take me across the Atlantic ocean to Colombia once again. This aircraft was the latest and newest of Airbus 300. Very comfortable, this was the economy section, with great chairs, modern touchscreen with lots of selections, movies/series/games/music etc, and the most comfortable was the toiletts. They were one stair down instead of where they normally are on the same floor. Also there were 5 of them downstairs so you never had to wait for a long time. This proved to be of the utmost importance on my return to Europe when my stomach was in uproar. Anyway this was a very comfortable airplane to say the least. The other times I flew to Colombia was with Airfrance and Iberia. This was the best by far.

Beside me I had this Colombian woman, Anna, that was travelling to visit her sick father in Bogota. She was married to a german and had lived in Germany for many years. We talked a lot about Colombia and I told her how much I liked her country. She was at a point in her life that she felt that she needed a change because she felt that in Germany she would never really be at home. She is a graduate architect from a prestigious university in Bogota but in Germany she is just working in a store as a clerk. And she always feel a little out of place, even though she has a comfortable and an easy life, but still there is something missing. I really encouraged her to take the step and return to Colombia, We only have one life, one chance. Once a Colombian always a Colombian. So we had a good chat and time flew! Ha!

The journey across is about 9-10 hours effective flying time. We landed in Bogota 17.00 hours local time. There was a 7 hour time difference(still summertime in Europe). Going through customs in Bogota is quite a trip. First of all you have to fill in a form on the airplane to tell why you are there, how much money you have, where you are going to stay etc. So you land and before you even go to collect your luggage you have to face immigration. Very serious and sober and they ask some questions. Always say you love their country and you are just a tourist visiting. After immigration it is time to find the luggage and after luggage yet another checkpoint where I leave the paper that I filled in on the airplane. After that it is customs where they check your bags. They checked my luggage and I explained that I had some gifts for a woman that I will meet and also gifts for my godchild. They looked at it and after a few minutes they let me through. Next step was changing money to have some pesos. I always become a millionaire when I come to Colombia. 400 euro is a little over 1 million peso. I try to get it in 20000 peso bills because the 50000 can be difficult to change. The taxidrivers seldom have change for larger bills and the same in the shops sometimes. Just a tip if you ever come to Colombia. Changing money also involves filling out papers where you going where you stay and finally you have to sign and also give a fingerprint on the paper.

I arrived at the Eldorado international airport and had to transfer to a domestic terminal, Avianca, to catch the flight to Cartagena. I got a taxi which is the fastest that took me there and there I had to do a new checkin. This terminal is very small and easy to navigate in. I had a few hours to wait and enjoyed the feeling of being in Colombia once again. Love the colours, the smell, the noise, the dynamic latin world! Bogota is not so hot even though it is nearly right on the equator. The reason is that is on 2600m above sea level. The climate in Bogota is like having spring in Sweden all year around. In other words around 20 degrees C all year around. A Tropical Spring! And in the evening it can get quite cold even below 10 sometimes. On the other hand when I landed in Cartagena it is like going into a wall of heat. The flight from Bogota to Cartagena takes about 1,5hour.

When I landed in Cartagena it was close to midnight and my friends were there to meet me and took me to their house a little outside of Cartagena. A beautiful apartment in a gated community. A very airy spacious light apartment. We did not talk so much because I was tired and needed my sleep.

14th of October! 60 years old/young! I got several cups of coffee for breakfast, they know I am a big coffee drinker when I come to Colombia,  a cake with a candle. This is important because Colombia has the best coffee in the world (according to me) so every morning I drink about 4-5 to cups and it is so so good. Funny enough it is so smooth that it does not kill my stomach like sometimes one cup of Swedish coffee does. A beautiful exciting birthday to say the least. I had a beautiful day with my friends, celebrating my birthday the whole day! Fantastic! Such fantastic friends that mean a lot to me. But that is another story because this is the story of Pilar.
Saturday came and I got a ride into Cartagena. They left me in the center about 1 hour before our actual meeting. As always in Cartagena it is hot and humid, so I looked around where we could meet and be comfortable. I found an air-condition restaurant/coffee bar situated just on the square. This would be the perfect place for our first meeting!

Chapter 5 – the meeting!

coming sooooon!