The Curious Incident of the Pillow Thief at Midnight

8 06 2010

At 5am when I’d arrived in the dormitory I’d been surprised to discover that most the beds seemed to be missing pillows. Luckily there was one on the bunk above mine so I used that one and went to sleep. In the morning the mystery was solved. The only other resident of the 6-bed dorm – a Colombian girl whose name I never asked but is henceforth known as The Pillow Thief – had amalgamated a huge pile of them on her bed and was returning most of them to their correct spots. Quite why she needed so many I have never managed to work out.

My first day in Cali I did pretty much nothing except for upload photos. The hostel seemed to be deserted but it turned out that quite a few people that I knew from Quito were in town that night so I arranged to meet Russell, whom I’d met multiple times whilst out and about in Quito, and the two Danish girls, Signe and Julia, for dinner that night in Macondo Postres y Café. I also discovered that Amanda, Sarah and Sam were also in town but were leaving quite early that night. Even better Amanda and Sarah were in an Internet café just around the corner from my hostel.

They stopped in and chatted for a bit and they agreed to pick me up that night and take me to the pub before they got the bus to Bogotá. Things started to go wrong however when just before the allotted time I got a message from Sarah saying that they were running out of time and we should just meet in the pub. Unfortunately she didn’t mention which pub.

Hoping to intercept them before they left, I quickly rushed to their hostel but they weren’t there. I then went to the only pub that I’d heard Sarah mention in the hope that they’d be there but also lucked out. Perhaps they’d already gone to Macondo (even though Sarah had previously said it was the wrong side of town for them) so I got a taxi across there. I arrived perhaps an hour before I’d arranged to meet the girls but there was no sign of anyone else so I sat on my own having a few beers.

I wondered if the Danes would even turn up. At one point I was discussing with Sarah that since they were at the same hostel we could persuade them to go somewhere nearer. Perhaps that had already happened and they decided to stay there all night even after the others left for their bus. Perhaps Russell also wouldn’t turn up. Luckily my gloomy thoughts did not come to pass and we had a fun (if somewhat quiet) evening. Russell also brought his friend Jacqui (from Leeds) along. Over dinner the Danes tried to persuade me to come with them to Salento, a coffee-growing region, the next day. Since I’d seen nothing of Cali and had made a reservation for 2 nights I wasn’t quite sure but I was sorely tempted.

After dinner we headed back towards our hostels and had a drink in an English pub. The whole town seemed to be deserted – it looks like Cali is only really a weekend destination – and we headed back to our respective hostels after just one drink. I was going to have another drink with the girls back at their hostel but no guests were allowed in the hostel at that hour so, after arranging the time that I’d meet them if I did decide to go to Salento the next day, I walked back to mine and went to bed.

I’d just put my head down when the Pillow Thief came in and asked if I wanted to join them for some rum. Normally of course I would have rushed to join but if I was going to meet the girls the next day I’d need to be up early so I declined and went to sleep.