I’ll admit it.
I was feeling a bit guilty when our plane skidded to a halt at Bogota airport.
It’s not that I like to take advantage of the average Colombian customs’ official and his weakness for women.
But I’ve been through customs a few times in Colombia now and this time I actually wanted something.
Renewing your visa in this country is expensive and irritating and the simplest and cheapest way to do it, is to leave and re-enter the country.
Having spent five weeks in Peru and Bolivia, I was hoping for a free three month tourist visa, just to give me some breathing space while I figure out what to do this year.
Unfortunately, they are only supposed to give you two months.
I bounded up to the window trying to look as blonde and friendly as humanly possible.
“Good evening,” I said, smiling hopefully.
“How long do you want in Colombia?” the young man muttered.
Hmmm. Not as flirty as usual. Probably because it was 9pm.
“I would like 90 days please,” I replied politely.
“You can’t have 90 days. You can only have 60,” the lad answered, before explaining his reasoning in rapid Spanish.
“I’m sorry, my Spanish isn’t very good. Could you explain in English?” I replied, shaking my curls.
The lad looked at me, then at the desks around him.
“I can’t explain in English,” he said, lowering his voice.
“You can have 90 days.”
Relieved, I dragged my rucksac to the scanner (Bogota must be the only city in the world where they scan your luggage upon arrival, as well as departure)
A young police officer walked up to me.
He looked stern.
“Where did you fly from?” he snapped.
“Erm, er, Lima,” I said. I was shattered.
“And where are you from?” he continued.
“I’m English,” I replied, trying not to panic.
The officer looked thoughtful.
“The English girls are always the prettiest ones,” he said officiously, trying not to smile as he walked away.
I’m definitely back in Colombia.