A matter of interpretation

The most simple conversations, occasionally, were the hardest to understand

El trasteo Armenia, Quindío, Colombia
Moving          Armenia, Quindío, Colombia

       A few days later, Magnífico and his father had a conversation. His father was milking the stoic Lencha, while Magnífico milked the restless Camila. Like her namesake, the cow moved to and fro, wanting to be outdoors wandering around, with little patience for these domestic affairs of the day by day.

El pique Armenia, Quindío, Colombia
Wheelies           Armenia, Quindío, Colombia


“So, I talked to Camila about the land and the house.”

“How’s that,” he answered with a good-natured smile, “are you thinking of inviting her over to spend the afternoons with you?”

“Sure thing, but I’m sort of thinking that I’d like her company for more than just the afternoons, if you know what I mean.”

“Well, I think she’s a sweet, loving girl. When she grows up, she’s gonna be a great woman. You can bet on that! So, what happened?”

Arrieros, carrieles y café Armenia, Quindío, Colombia
Coffee, muleteers and pouches           Armenia, Quindío, Colombia

“Good, everything fine… But you know something, Pa? Sometimes I feel like we’re talking about totally different things.”

“Start getting used to it, same thing happens when I talk to you Ma. But that’s precisely what gives life such a good flavour, you know what I mean?”

The coffee ploant Armenia, Quindío, Colombia
The coffee plant           Armenia, Quindío, Colombia

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High reaching plans

If we could make our lives could reach as far… as our dreams

Ribera del Magdalena Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Magdalena’s river bank           Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

“Since you love to scamper all the way up there in those high places, it’s fitting to build a house high above for you. Down on earth, where the rest of us live, you be bored to death after a while. The clearing below is beautiful, but that’s where your folk like to do their Sunday picnics. We can use what’s already built. We just need to enlarge it, and we’ll have a great place to live.”

El ciclista Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
The cyclist           Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Magnifico carefully thought how to answer, and after a while, he smiled as he said:

“Of course, you’re right Camila. That’s exactly it! We’ll extend the house and include a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom to fall asleep in as we look out at the stars through the window.”


Puente sobre el Río Magdalena Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Bridge over the Magdalena River          Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia

“You know what surprises me? I can´t believe how well you know me!” He added while smiling from one ear to the other.

“And what did you expect, after all these years of hanging out with you. Sometimes, you’re just so conceited…”

La lancha Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia
The dinghy         Girardot, Cundinamarca, Colombia


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A house in the heights

From his vewpoint high above… the world below appeared to be but a fantasy

Hotel Carmen Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia
Hotel Carmen           Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia

“But, come on, you just love climbing all those hard to get to high places, just like a monkey, so I get this feeling that you’ll get to be very bored after a while! Back there, anywhere you look, it´s just flat lands.”

“Yes, Ma’am, that’s true enough. So then, how about the old pine tree clearing? There’s the trusty ol’ pine tree and plenty more trees I can climb over there.”

Subidas empinadas Neira, Caldas, Colombia
Steep rises           Neira, Caldas, Colombia

“Nice, but what would happen to the Sunday picnics with your folks? You can´t take that away from them, can you?”

“So, Camila, if it’s neither in the back of the orchard, nor in the clearing, it would good to know where you suggest we build the house.”

En la esquina Neira, Caldas, Colombia
The corner          Neira, Caldas, Colombia

“You see, but you don’t, do you? You wouldn´t find the spot even if we were standing there. On the pine tree, of course. Right where your father built that tree house for you. Of course, we would want something bigger…”

Calle Santander Manizales, Caldas, Colombia
Santander Street           Manizales, Caldas, Colombia


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Houses and where to place them

Looking back, he understood that his first love of his life was also, so much fun!

Vista al lago Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
The bridge        Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia

“So Camila, which would you prefer: some place behind the orchard or in the pine tree’s clearing?”

“Well to be honest, neither of them.”

Magnifico was puzzled and he remained thoughtful for a few minutes.

Figuras en el agua Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
Figures in the water           Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia

“Well then, where do you propose we build the house, Camila, or maybe you want us to live in the open and under the stars?”

“Don’t be silly, not even Georgina, your mule, lives without a roof over its head with these nasty, cold winds” Camila answered as she played carefully arranged her hair.

Cargando café Supía, Caldas, Colombia
Packing coffee         Supía, Caldas, Colombia

“You said that there’s a place behind the orchard, didn’t you?”

“Yes Ma’am, that’s what my father told me.”

“But then, the way you love to climb all those high places like if you were a monkey. Don’t you think that you get real bored after a while? All that land is flat anywhere you look.”

La siesta Guadalupe, Santander, Colombia
The siesta       Guadalupe, Santander, Colombia



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Plans for life

In life, many plans never turn out, but still, we can keep on dreaming

Estación San Antonio del Metro Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
 Metro Station            Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

“You know, Camila, the land is to build a house, and I was thinking of you for that house.”

“Umm… got it! Of course, It will be a pleasure. I’ll be happy to help you build it, but on Sundays, when I have some time off from chores.”

“Thanks Camila, but that wasn’t what I had in mind. I was sort of thinking that you would like to live there.”

“Aw, thanks, but I already have a home with my parents, and I like it very much. At the moment I can´t see myself living alone.”

El Hueco Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
El Hueco           Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

“What do you mean by alone? I was talking about when we’re married.”

“Married? And how do you know if I’d marry you? You haven´t even asked me to marry you…”

“Now listen Camila, that’s what I’ve been trying to do!”

“Well, really! Then where you should have begun, don’t you think?”

Estación San Antonio Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
 San Antonio Station           Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

“Camila, will you marry me?”

“Of course, I’ll be happy to marry you. Or, perhaps you thought I would let you marry someone else? Just do me a favour. Ask again in five years when we’re old…”

Atardecer en el centro Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
Sunset in the city centre            Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia


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A small plot of land

He raised the most difficult question in his life when he was only a child

La Calle 14 Socorro, Santander, Colombia
 14 St.           Socorro, Santander, Colombia

“Hey Camila, I was talking to my father. He says that by next year we won´t be kids anymore.” Magnifico said with a mysterious air.

En la calle Socorro, Santander. Colombia
Street life          Socorro, Santander. Colombia

Camila couldn’t resist and let the opportunity go by:

“You still look too much like a kid to me, more like a child. You still can’t walk and now you want to run. So, you’re telling me that in a year you be all grown up… maybe you’ve been drinking too much of Lencha’s milk and you think that’s going to do it for you.”

Las colegialas Socorro, Santander, Colombia
School girls      Socorro, Santander, Colombia

“Look Camila”, he answered a bit seriously. “My Dad said I could pick some a plot of land for my next birthday. I can choose from the part behind the orchard or where the pine tree is standing.”

“Why don’t you ask for Georgina, the mule. So you can ride her to town?”, she replied, knowing perfectly well what he wanted to tell her.

“Aw Camila, seems that you are the one that’s riding me riding  today” he answered with a loss of how to get the conversation back on track.

Sol de mediodía Socorro, Santander, Colombia
Midday sun          Socorro, Santander, Colombia


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Goose bumps and breathlessness

Some memories are forgotten as time goes by, but the heart’s portraits never loose their radiance

Puertas y balcones Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
Balconies and doors       Curiquí, Santander, Colombia

    When everyone had left, he walked Camila home. As they slowly strolled on a path that made a shortcut to the village where Camila’s lived.

En verdes Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
In greens         Curiquí, Santander, Colombia

    When Magnífico found himself ambling or just sitting in high places, he many times felt goosebumps in his stomach. When Camila was by his side or nearby, he occasionally would feel a similar tingling, or sometimes he felt breathless, especially when her gaze caught him and held him in her glance.

En amarillos Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
In yellows           Curiquí, Santander, Colombia

        On that particular day they held a conversation, while they walked in high spirits and holding hands. Neither of them would never forget it, in the many years to come.

La chocolatería Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
The chocolate factory           Curiquí, Santander, Colombia


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True love

In his dreams he found the lost times of his childhood

El Teatro Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
El Teatro           Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia

     It was a delicious cake decorated with a pine tree in the middle. At the highest point, there was a little boy. He was of icing and was watching the view from his heights. Suspended from the ceiling, three airplanes, were flying past, right in front of the pine tree.

El Colegio Fátima Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
El Colegio Fátima           Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia

     That cake… the old traveller contemplated it in his dreams, as he sat on a bench in the park and overpoweringly asleep. He remembered that wonderful day, when they effectively did fly past, so close to him that one of the pilots had actually smiled at him, as he saluted him with his hand to his forehead, military style.

Frente a la iglesia Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
Frente a la iglesia           Curiquí, Santander, Colombia

     So much time had passed since he had thought about that happy day and what the warm love of his parents had meant to him in those childhood days.

En el parque Curiquí, Santander, Colombia
En el parque           Curiquí, Santander, Colombia



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The boy in the pine tree

And when he reached his special spot,  that was his shelter, his hangout… in that moment, he was happy.

Fachada Confines, Santander, Colombia
Facade          Confines, Santander, Colombia

    The birthday cake, had also been prepared by his mother, and behind his back, for she wanted to surprise her child.

La iglesia del pueblo Confines, Santander, Colombia
The town’s church         Confines, Santander, Colombia

          So skillfully had she endeavoured in the preparation of the cake that he never realized what she was up to. So, in turned out to be a great and happy surprise for him.

La siesta Confines, Santander, Colombia
Siesta  time          Confines, Santander, Colombia

       His mother, with that foresight so typical of mom’s had put away some milk from Lencha’s milking, also from Eugenia’s, and of course from Camila’s milk; the youngest of the cows, and the one that Magnifico had named in honor of Maria Camila, his first love and classmate.

Bajada al parque Confines, Santander, Colombia
The street to the park           Confines, Santander, Colombia


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A birthday cake

Starting upon that birthday, the happy sounds of his childish laughter, gradually became less frequent.

El pórtico de la entrada Confines, Santander, Colombia
The front porch          Confines, Santander, Colombia

      Outside the front door, his mom had placed a large, long table. It was in the terrace that ran all along the front of the house. There, in its shade, the air was nice and fresh. They keep the old red machine there, so rusty now, by so many years of wear and tear.

La chiva Supía, Caldas, Colombia
The chiva-bus           Supía, Caldas, Colombia

    Upon this table, she had arranged the Tolima-style tamales, the same ones she prepared with ingredients she obtained from the farm. Of course, there was plenty of candy; she had made with the goat’s milk.

Domingo de mercado Supía, Caldas, Colombia
Sunday market           Supía, Caldas, Colombia

       But what really provoked a nostalgic, cheery feeling in the bottom of his heart, was the enormous, huge birthday cake, with its nine multicoloured candles and the pine tree, carefully etched in the centre.

Una tarde de chicha Tacuba, Ahuachapán, El Salvador
A chicha afternoon        Tacuba, Ahuachapán, El Salvador

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