I’ve had a long relationship with Colombia, and, especially Cali. I made a couple of visits in 2008. This photo was taken in November of that year in Mompos. I traveled by bus throughout Colombia, visiting Medellin, Cartagena, Mompos, Santa Marta, Toganga and Bogota. Getting to Mompos also involved a long boat ride on the Magdalena River. That was quite an experience in itself. In December of 2009, I started living in Cali. I spent most of every year there until May of 2015. A relationship of about 6 years. Now, I’ve almost finished another visit here, this time only 2 months. I’m almost ready to go back to Mesa, Arizona, where I have a home now. I’m glad I came back to Cali for a visit again, but things are different now. I’ve seen a lot of my friends, some briefly, and a few others more often, spending good times together. I’m disappointed that I didn’t see some friends more. I know that people are busy, but I’ve been here 2 months and only a few have reached out to me and wanted to spend time with me. I’m very happy and appreciative of the time that I’ve been able to spend with those good friends.
Every time that I have left the last few years, I have said that I probably wouldn’t come back. This time, I feel more strongly than ever that I won’t. The house where I’ve lived every year will probably not be available again. The owner wants to sell the floor that I have lived on. There are three bedrooms, each with a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room and an outside patio. I’m not sure how that’s going to work, but that’s what she plans to do. Life here seems pretty normal to me by now, and, a lot of the time, pretty boring. It was different when I was spending a lot of time on my two photo projects and exhibitions. That gave me something exciting and meaningful to do. Often, now, when I’m sitting and eating lunch somewhere, I feel like I’m not even in a foreign country. It seems like home to me and I feel so comfortable here. Now, in the future, I hope to visit some new countries. They don’t have to be long visits, but I need to see some entirely new places. Also, The photo workshop that I thought I was going to do in Cali didn’t happen. That’s okay with me. I think it would have been hard to do that in the two locations that I’d planned, Bocas de Palo and Siloé. I have few contacts in Bocas de Palo now and, in Siloé, I’m afraid that the possibility of danger or things not working out, would have worried me a lot. Taking a group of people to those locations and trying to teach them street and people photography would be a lot different and more complicated then for me to just wander around on my own like I like to do.
When I leave here, I won’t miss the huge, black cockroaches and mosquitoes in my room. Thankfully, I had brought enough mosquito repellent to get me by for 2 months. The other people on my floor sleep in mosquito tents now. I also won’t miss the cold showers. I prefer tepid ones. There are several things that have annoyed me about living in Colombia, but, overall, I’ve been able to get past those and appreciate the good things about life here. I will always have a warm and special place in my heart for Colombia and it’s people, and, especially, Cali. When I get homesick, I will have plenty of good Colombia music to listen to. And there is a good Colombian restaurant and store, within a short drive of my Mesa home, where I can eat authentic food, buy any Colombian products I would want and listen to salsa music while I’m there. It will probably even be a great place to watch the soccer matches when Colombia plays in the Copa America tournament.