BLOOD AND FIREWATER
MEDELLIN, Colombia "Your foot is hurt," one of my hosts insists. Again.
Puzzled, I shake my head. "No, I'm fine. Unless I stepped on something..."
Like glass. After I kicked off my heels, salsa dancing in a nightclub. Doh.
We'd been marinating in aguardiente, the national drink. The anise-flavored, sugarcane liquor resembles ouzo, but Colombians gather around a bottle and down stiff shots all together. Many stiff shots, in this case.
"You're feeling no pain," a friend teases.
"I rarely feel pain there," I try to explain. From my father, I inherited a strange lack of pedal nerves. Barefoot, we pad on glaciers and jump on barnacled boulders with impunity. Blisters burst and toenails moult before we notice a bad hiking boot fit. Once I spiked a nail through my sole.
That I felt. This I don't.
I examine my heel. Sure enough, amid the tatters of dark stockings, a three-inch gash pumps blood. "It's just a flesh wound," I announce, as I always hoped I might. The Monty Python reference, unfortunately, disappears in the general pandemonium.
Fueled on firewater, the group tracks down the hotel's first aid responder. She applies two strips of micropore tape and agrees it's just a dramtic scratch. However, she suggests that water and sleep might be wise, the time being 5.30am and all.
Can't argue with that...