Karma's a Pimp!

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South America » Colombia » Cartagena
March 24th 2012
Published: March 30th 2012
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Wow Karma works fast!

My last day at the Blue House Hostel was the 13th. Since then, the other three staff members have left within the same week, and the place has gone down the drain. The girls are not paying their employees and if they are, they've cut their pay without notice. This lower amount of money is not enough for these women and their families to survive off of. Two weeks have gone by and they haven't been able to fill the rooms, nor hold down a new cook. At this point, they're barely hanging on to the new cleaning lady. At the moment, they're in the process of converting the cafe into more of a diner/hang-out sorta place. I don't think they know what will become of the hostel part yet, especially since they can't get any business with their outrageous prices.

The ex-receptionist, Marisol, was completely worried of the possibility that they may not give me my full amount of days stay here that they owe me. -I've worked out with the girls to let me move into the dorm room and stay for 14 days (the equivelent of what I've worked for instead of having them pay me). I actually came up with this before I even found out that they have no money to pay their employees with. It completely makes sense now as to why they were so eager to do this deal with me. I'm actually getting the better end of the deal, because they charge more for the dorm room per night than what they owe me per day. But this also made me a bit nervous that something wrong was going to happen, and Marisol displaying her fears to me was no help.

The last post I wrote I had some leads on places, but nothing happened with them. Turns out these prospects were too expensive. However, a huge bonus occurred: my awesome friend, whom I met while volunteering in Ibague, called me just before I started my second hostel job. She told me how unhappy she is being at the organization in Ibague, and how it has gone way downhill ever since I left. So I convinced her to move to Cartagena where it's better and has more opportunity (she's planning on staying a while). Her boyfriend came on the 26th to be with her and she didn't want to bring him to the now awful life of Ibague. So here she is! This also meant that I wanted to wait to find a place. We're now planning on living together to save costs, so I called off the other plans. As well, I met this fun Californian, Steve, that has been traveling the world and has liked Cartagena so much that he's decided to park it here for a while. He'll also be joining the living situation! Finding a place to live here though is like finding a needle in a haystack! You literally have to talk to absolutely everyone you meet or see on the street. So wish us luck!

Weird things keep happening with my boss from the Blue House Hostel, well just Adrianna (part-owner), because Alejandra (the other part-owner) is clueless and just forks over the cash. (1) Marisol told me one day that Adri told her that she was going to kick me out a week before my time here is up! This wasn't surprising, however. So I talked to Adri in a way that wouldn't give her any new ideas to scam me, and made sure I was still good
View of the courtyard at Blue House HostelView of the courtyard at Blue House HostelView of the courtyard at Blue House Hostel

Adriana is a pro-kiteboarder and they really focus on offering kiteboarding lessons at this hostel. They use the tiny pool as more of a kitboard storage unit.
until the 27th. (2) She fully agreed and told me not to worry, of course I had unitl the 27th. This reaction was definintely not what I was expecting considering what Marisol had said. It's all quite confusing! (3) A few days went by, and Adri told me that since I haven't been having the breakfast that's included (I´m always at work before it starts), that she'll give me an extra day here at the hostel! Yay! (I think she has just realized that I've sent her a ton of business from the full El Viaejro Hostel and has been grateful for it). (4) I'm having the worst time finding a place to live and needed an extra day, so I asked her how much it would be (hoping to get some special rate). She looked at me with endearing eyes and said "Kate, don't worry about it, it's just one day." This from the same woman who was going to kick me out a week prior and completely changed the original work deal I had with them! Needless to say, I'm utterly confused by these things they do!! But I like the way it has been going lately, so
Blue House Hostel wall art -so rad!!!Blue House Hostel wall art -so rad!!!Blue House Hostel wall art -so rad!!!

I wish I could take it home. It's not even done yet. I figured it out one day, it's a whale eating three fish with the sun as death (they're going to the light). the middle fish has a line down the bottom, dividing line between heaven and hell -there's two small creatures that resemble good and evil on their perspectives sides. ahhh accomplishment!!
I won't complain! I'm already having to stay a second extra day now; still don't know what she's going to charge or not...fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, my new job is awesome! Shift changes, fun people to work with (a bunch of gay guys; we basically just sing and/or dance and gawk at the cute male guests! haha!), and awesome guests have come through, which I've hung out with quite a few of them. At one point, we were full of Argentines as there was some huge sale to come to Colombia. So it's really nice to get my Argentina fix, but it makes me miss it sooooo sooo much all over again! It's also so great to be able understand their Spanish, the coastal (costeñan) Spanish here is impossible! Only when I hear them speak, I immediately get all doe-eyed like a school girl to her crush and forget to actually listen to them! So then I end up having to make them repeat themselvesl!! Haha! Woopsy! Working here has been great for my Spanish though. I´m actually really surprised about it considering I thought it would all be English-speaking guests....Though it has been slowly tranisitioning to Canadian guests (which now I just want to move to Toronto, and really miss my Canadians).

The owner of El Viajero is this awesome Uruguayan. He's here for a short while and took some time to get to know me. He also let me know that since they always want at least one forgeigner working at the hostel, they will help me get my work visa!!! A huge blessing! Otherwise, I'll have to leave Colombia by June for the rest of the year! We'll just hold off on it for a little while to make sure we're both still happy with me there. He's also aware of how difficult it is to find a place, and he found a super cheap option in some woman's house next door. At least I'll have that available if I still can't find a place to live which as I've said before, has been insanely difficult. Another blessing: it´s so nice to have a boss that does business as it should be done!

There's also a ton of salsa which is so rad! I've already made friends with the abuelos (grandpas), which I'll go ahead and call Legends. Awesome, well seasoned salsa dancers with terrifickly
Anita, the x-housecleaner and Gladys the x-cook. They're so great, I miss them!Anita, the x-housecleaner and Gladys the x-cook. They're so great, I miss them!Anita, the x-housecleaner and Gladys the x-cook. They're so great, I miss them!

They were in my makeshift room where I used to live and I wanted a pic and Anita grabs my sunglasses and sticks them on her head! So silly!
giant smiles on their faces! They get so into it, it's so great! Plus they just want to dance, unlike the younger men, and they're confident and not too scared to ask you to dance! So refreshing!

One of my living options, which I canned, was to live with a friend that owns a kayaking company (he's looking to rent out a bed in his apt to make things cheaper). He's really chill and actually took me sea-kayaking the other day. We wound up going at night in the pitch-black with the city view all lit up! It was so rad! We also went swimming, and the water was incredibly warm despite it being night (ha! and also really scary if you dare thought about what you were doing of course!)! There's so many places to go sea-kayaking around here with incredible destinations, and he's going to take me when ever I call him up! Great friend in a great place!

Colombia has indeed been the hardest lifestyle I've ever endured. I think it might be because I'm not teaching English (though the world is still trying to get me to once again: I've got two prospects in the works); you kind of get everything handed to you when you teach English abroad. This time, I'm on the local level and get all the complications involved with it. I have to work six days a week for barely any money at all, and I have to fight for everything I have. Nothing's simple, absolutely everything´s a struggle. It would be so nice to get everything handed to me once again; instant friends, a place to live, great work hours, and awesome pay. You probably think I'm crazy by now for not doing it already and I fully agree! If I don't go out nor have to work at night, I could easily go to sleep at about 7:30pm! I'm so exhausted from work, and my brain is absolutely fried from an endless amount of Spanish. So yeah, I'm pretty crazy. I agree. But I'm also choosing this option and I´m well aware of it. We'll just see how long I last I suppose....Though one thing's for certain about being on this low level, absolutely everything good that comes my way seems like a miracle. You really learn to appreciate everything and take nothing for granted.

Additional photos below
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Yamile and her boyfriend Peter are here!Yamile and her boyfriend Peter are here!
Yamile and her boyfriend Peter are here!

Their first night we bought some alcohol and sat on the wall admiring the Bocagrande view while talking.

30th March 2012

Happy Birthday Katie!
Hi Katie - Not sure what you could do to top all the many, fabulous adventures you've been having, but I hope you do something really special to celebrate your birthday! Glad to hear that you are taking everything as it comes and enjoying life in Columbia. Love Isabel

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