I had 2 main fears living in Dallas in the 80’s. One, that I would inevitably die of AIDS. Two, that I would get kidnapped by “someone” and would not be able to leave. I was still too young (7) to do anything about AIDS but the kidnapping part had me very worried, so I took some action. First, I memorized stuff: emergency phone numbers (my mom’s, the police and fire departments, friend’s houses), names of streets, turns and landmarks. Second, I thought of ways I could say I was in trouble in code so the kidnapper wouldn’t notice. So if someone, for example, kidnapped me and held me at a motel I would call an emergency phone number and act very calm as I said something like, “this is Pola and we need an extra towel in motel X room X on street X”. And third, I never EVER left home without money. Enough money to last me one day of unexpected events. Enough money so that if I did escape, I could use a payphone, a taxi and get some food. And this is the one that stuck. To this day I never leave home without money, not even if I’m just going downstairs to get the mail. Just in case.
Back to present. We took a day trip from Medellin to Guatape. It’s a small town about 2 hours away and it has one ridiculously huge rock — La Piedra — that you can climb and see one of the most beautiful sights ever. It came highly recommended and since the tours left at 7:45 and Avri only wakes up at 9, we decided to do it on our own. I knew we didn’t have a lot of cash and our “secret stashes” were running low so we counted what we had and how much the essentials would cost (getting there, up the rock, and back) and from that we knew how much money we could spend on food and stuff. I was nervous to begin with but it was supposed to be ok.
And then the bus didn’t drop us off where he was supposed to and we had to take an extra taxi. And then we had a nice big lunch and bought snacks. And then we got to the rock and the price of going up had gone up. We counted our money 3 times and however way we looked at it, we did not have enough money to go up the rock and get back to Medellin. And then, I lost it.
I panicked, I couldn’t think straight and I couldn’t believe I was in this situation I had battled for years. We had enough for one ticket, and the bus back so I told Avri he should go up and I would stay there guarding the little money we had left. I don’t know how many times he told me the same thing but after a couple I finally heard him. We would both go up and then take a taxi to the town with an ATM and get money for the ride back. This of course was a terrible idea because what if there were no ATMs anymore or they had no more money (this happens often here)? He told me to trust him (aka let go of decade long fears and have faith without a particularly good reason) and, somehow, I did. That was a big moment for me.
With empty pockets, we went up 750+ steps to “La Piedra”, gushed at how gorgeous it was, went down, took a taxi to the ATM in town, got money and got on a bus back to Medellin.
At Guatape I climbed a huge rock and made it to the other side.