This song comes from a trip I made to Bogotá, Colombia in 1989 to play my songs about the west coast of Canada in a restaurant called “Le Toit” at the top of the Hilton Hotel. I travelled there with a chef from Vancouver who prepared cuisine of British Columbia. My music was to accompany the food.
Here is a diary entry I made just after saying goodbye to the wonderful people I met there (mostly the waiting and kitchen staff of the hotel).
Sunday, July 16, 1989
Well, it’s goodbye to my friends in Bogota. Last night was an emotional one. There were tears in many eyes, including mine. The waiters presented me with two gifts, and when I tried to speak to thank them, I had to stop, it was too hard. I can’t believe I can’t just go downtown and visit them anymore. All those faces are etched in my brain. The times I spent with them. I think I can hear Luciano telling me “how very happy all of us are that you came to Bogota”. The big smile on his face as he tells me how “glad my whole family that you come to our house”. Or big Manuel with a tear in his eye as he shakes my hand goodbye.
I just can’t believe that this whole thing happened and what I got out of it. It’s all so new to me – these feelings.
Last night after work we went to a little bar a couple of blocks from the hotel. Outside it was raining and there was no light to indicate that there was a bar inside. Gustavo knocked on the door and a little peep hole opened and we were then let in. The waiters go here once or twice a week. It was a dark little place with a big black woman running it. It’s like something you’d see in a movie. A bottle of aguardiente was brought with shot glasses all round. It was not long until the eight of us polished it off and another was ordered. Many laughs and salutations and we left at 2:45. Final goodbyes were made in front of the hotel.
Who knows, maybe one day I will return. The visit there was so fantastic but almost seems like a dream now.
Flew into South American town three weeks ago
Never thought I’d change so much, never thought I’d grow
Came here knowing no on, no on knowing me
I stand out here on rain-soaked streets wishing I didn’t have to leave
Tensions, they were riding so high, danger in the air
Came to sing my songs of home, would anybody care?
What I found to my surprise every place I went
Open arms, smiling eyes, happy times together here were spent
The Bogotá Rain’s falling on the streets
Like the tears in my eyes
I’m walking along with these friends I’ve made
But tomorrow I fly, mis amigos, goodbye
Home is where one finds it, it’s where the heart is, too
You all made me feel at home, a piece of my heart stays with you
When will I return again? This I cannot say
I’ll tell you now, I’ll miss you all, in my thoughts you are here to stay
When I’m back in those northern woods
I’ll hear a distant call
Stare off into the dimming day
And I’ll picture you all
And feel one more time a southern teardrop fall
© John McLachlan (SOCAN)