We hear the horror stories and believe them. Bad guys in American movies... the occasional Arab, but almost exclusivly... Colombians. Fear of Colombia is so indoctrinated into the mindset, that even when we met this really sweet, generous girl in Guatemala, my heart paused a second when I found out she was Colombian. Not much... I mean, I kept it cool.. mans gotta work y'know, but there was this moment where I thought, "How does this girl see me... does she hate me? Am I the bad guy?" Stupid question, I know, I'm an American, of course I'm the bad guy... we've screwed over all of these countries. Currently our Government feeds funds to the Colombian army to suppress the Guerilla movements, who get their funds selling the biggest export around here, cocaine, to, you guessed it, the US. It's too bad so much product here is cocaine. You should see the fruit. Everything is twice the size as it is anywhere else, with twice the flavor. I know, I know.. its supposed to be the smaller the fruit the tastier it is, but I think physics don't work the same here. The guns, and the fighting, well, that's our impact upon this land. As for the people, well, that Colombian girl we met in Guatemala turned out too be one of the sweetest, coolest, people we've met along the way (and believe me, competition in those fields is steep!). Her countrymen are well living up to her example, and proving to be perhaps the best hosts we've yet to see.
In fairness to us, we do need to exercise a bit of caution. This is the drug capital of the world, and it is the kidnapping capital as well. There are places to avoid. Fortunately, us boys keep our hands pretty clean, so we should be ok.
But I digress, my point is its so easy to see Colombians as adversarial, and Colombia as enemy territory, until you're faced with a Colombian person or landscape. Once you're faced with one or both of those things, only one doubt remains...
"Why have I spent so much of my life so far away from what is obviously... home."