On one of the evenings when we didn’t go partying, I went for a walk around the hostel. I happened to come across 2 tattoo parlours, so I thought I’d go in and take a look.
The first place looked quite professional, and as usual they were surprised to hear that I was from India. When I showed them my design, they said it was do-able and gave me a quote of 250,000 Colombian pesos along with a 10% off discount coupon.
The second place was much smaller, and had a single artist called Alvaro Calle who had been in the tattooing business for the last 16 years. The guys here were super excited when I showed them my design; and gave me a lot of suggestions on how it could be improved. I was also invited to watch the tattoo that was currently being made. They quoted 300,000 Colombian pesos to make my tattoo. Although this was a much higher price, I decided to get my tattoo made here as I liked these guys.
My design was that of a Buddha, but the head was from one picture and the body was from another. So the next day, the guys at the tattoo shop spent more than an hour simply resizing the head to match the body. When they were happy, they started the tattooing process.
I had heard that getting a tattoo could be a painful process, so I grit my teeth and prepared for the first prick of the needle. But I hardly felt it. However over the next few hours, as Alvaro dug into the skin of my back to put the ink in there and constantly rubbed it to wipe the blood off, the pain increased. Also it hurt in some portions more than in others, but the pain was seldom unbearable. Once in a while, Alvaro would say “cinco minutos” (five minutes), go outside and stand in the middle of the road blinking his eyes. At other times, he would take his bicycle and go for a ride around the block. After close to 7 hours, the tattoo was finally complete.
I thanked them, paid the money, bought some of the things that were needed to take care of the tattoo and walked back to the hostel. Since I could not easily reach the whole tattoo, Pedro said he would help me rub the moisturizer onto it for the next few days. How long the tattoo will continue to look good will mainly depend on how well I look after it for the next few weeks.