“Sola? Sola?” It seems to be on everyone’s mind when I travel. “Dondé esta tu novio?”

I have this weird thing for traveling on my own – which I don’t actually think is weird. It’s not that I love traveling on my own, but more that I haven’t found someone that has the same time, freedom, interest and resources for travel that I have, along with enjoying sharing close quarters for an extended period of time.

This habit of mine creates some interesting conversations with certain local gentlemen when I travel. I don’t know what it is, but I never seem to get the handsome-Rico-Suave-salsa-dancing-hair-blowing-in-the-wind-type of guy. My typical Colombian/Indian/Honduran/Thai/Polish, etc suitor could generally be described this way: he’s an older fatherly/grandfatherly gentleman, greying hair, a spare tire around the middle, usually of some significant means (by local standards), and he’s looking for “his soul mate”… who just happens to not be his wife. Read: he’s looking for a much younger mistress who will leave town in a few days/weeks.

During my time in Pijao this week, the pattern repeated. A wealthy coffee farmer made the moves on me, reading my coffee cup (a lesser-known art, similar to reading tea leaves). In my cup he saw me with him, riding a caballo together. On top of that, there was also an angel in my cup – a sure sign we were soul mates. I’ll spare you the details of how this was communicated, but believe me, it was not without effort. Between his non-existent English and my muy probre Spanish, it was a job for Google Translate. I wonder if the developers at Google ever take a peek at the translations… This would be one for the record book.

According to my numerology (which he kindly figured out for me), my number is 8 – the number of power and determination he said. After an uncomfortable afternoon, evening and morning where I had multiple knocks on the door of my guesthouse at all hours, I determined to leave town early. I sped away on the fastest bus I could find, zooming out of the lovely town of Pijao at the break-kneck speed of 35km/hr.