The Case of the Missing Headlamp

While I was on a traveling in Colombia my headlamp may have ended up in some kind of a vortex. The likely answer is that it was stolen.

But it didn’t feel like it was stolen. Because I was asleep at the time of it’s disappearance and that feels creepy and weird and I’d rather not have to go there. But it was never found and it’s easier to contend with vague shifting dimensions then to think about someone reaching in the window to take it in the otherwise tranquil Colombian fishing town of Rincon del Mar.

It was eight in the morning on the Caribbean coast of Colombia and I was packing my bags because the boat was coming at nine to take us to a hostel on the water, appropriately named Casa del Agua. It was more like a house on a dock built away from shore–but that is another story and perhaps kept secret. (Hint…everything is on Google these days)


So there I was packing, concerned about whether we had enough water with us, having time to get some tinto (Colombian really small size of coffee that you buy on the street) before the boat pulled up outside our door to take us to Casa del Agua and I could not find my headlamp anywhere. It was odd because I had just used it during the night. I am a very organized person by nature and and most of the time know exactly where my stuff is at any given moment. Even while traveling. Especially while traveling.

In the middle of night I woke up and read by headlamp. I left it on the bed next to me while I was sleeping in case woke up and needed to see quickly in unfamiliar surroundings as there was no lamp by the bed or even a nightstand in my room, only an overhead. I was reading a novel I had bought on the street in Cartagena about a passionate young woman the late 1800’s who fell in love with a married man and refused to renounce the wrongness of her love. After Colombia I gave the book to a young Italian woman in what may be the cheapest hostel room in Miami Beach.

Me and my traveling companions had rented rooms in a house on the beach in Rincon made of concrete, some wooden framing and a palm fern roof with a upstairs and downstairs. No one else was living there but another traveler couple arrived from Greece that we saw a week later in another part of Colombia. It was steps from the water and quiet. We bought octopus and six lobsters from a man who walked by with a bucket fresh from the sea for $3.00 and cooked them in the meager kitchen on the second floor.

I took the bottom floor bedroom which had a window open to beach with wooden rods going across where glass would have been and shutters over top of them. The wooden rods were not as secure as you would find in a big city but blocked enough space so that I could go to sleep and probably would be safe. The space between them was big enough to put a hand through but not to pull a suitcase or body through. There was a cloth for a curtain and I considered shutting the shutters for the night but it seemed like a travesty since I was sleeping on the beach. I closed the shutters part of the way and that gave me some feeling of security. The bed was a mattress placed on a concrete slab built into the wall. The slab was just like a bed frame but seamless against the wall and nothing could fall behind it.


The clock was ticking and the boat was coming. I took a shower and continued the organizing process, sure my headlamp would show up. I searched the bathroom, the garbage can, rumpled sheets, under the pillow and twice searched my backpack but I couldn’t find it. It seemed crazy since I had just used it. I interrupted my brother who was packing in his room to help me look because I was at a loss and we would not be coming back to Rincon. I told him I needed second eyes. He looked, saw nothing and continued getting ready to get ready for the boat.

The boat came and I had to go without resolving anything. I didn’t get any tinto but we did have our water. In Colombia the most economical way to buy drinking water was to buy a plastic bag of water and then cut a hole in it to refill plastic bottles of water for carrying. Then the bag had to be stored in away it wouldn’t spill til it was emptied.

I’m a light sleeper and noise almost always wakes me up but I suppose somebody could have put their hand in, through the bars, without bumping the shutter and taken my headlamp. Because everyone knows that it falling into a vortex is a little ridiculous.

sunset in Rincon, Colombia
sunset in Rincon, Colombia

4 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Headlamp

  1. Stranger things have happened. Gold Hill, Oregon advertises a vortex that spings the opposite way in the Northern Hemisphere. Not much chance finding it now; Stranger events have happened!!

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