A few more days spent in Colombia with Paul and Helen of www.goingoverland.com
We decided to try and bypass some of the tolls in Colombia and ended up taking some dirt roads for a day. We had a blast and met a lot of great people. No banditos so far.
First ferry ride for the Defender!
Panama Passage is a great place and it makes sense that it would be moving into a bigger and better property. They obviously have a ton of first hand info about shipping but what made it so enjoyable for me was the other travelers. Tons of like-minded people all meeting together to share stories and advice. I hope that Shawn can stay involved with Panama Passage.
My Wandering Soul
This is an enviable trip you are doing. Great read and good luck! I look forward to the day when I can take my 110 on the same kind of trips when my kids are older.
Land Rover NAS 110 #234, 2.8 TGV Turbo Diesel
Chronically suffering from wanderlust...
My Land Rover Profile: http://www.d-90.com/forum/dto_garage...vehicle&v=1056
As the tourism industry says, "Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay."
I absolutely love Colombia. I am currently in Bogota and while it isn't my favorite city, it still has a lot to offer. I am looking forward to being able to spend some time here and getting to know the real Bogota. No picture updates for a few more days. I am waiting on photos from other people. Just another rambling note from a hostel.
On the road, life is different and absurd situations can be an everyday occurrence. What would be considered a crazy statement or an unusual situation is often considered commonplace among travelers. At home, when you are asked what your plans may be for the next day a typical response would be to maybe complete a report at work or to get the car to a mechanic for an overdue state inspection. Here though, a not unexpected answer may be that the plans are to make it to another country, hundreds or even thousands of miles away, as long as the person wakes at a reasonable hour in the morning. You could also hear a story about someone being upset by being overcharged for a $0.75USD avocado that is three times larger than any avocado in the states. You can also run into experiences like the one we had last night (maybe more like this morning). After a night (and morning) of exploring downtown Bogota and experiencing authentic Colombian nightlife, the ten of us find ourselves ordering churrasco and grilled corn on the cob from a street vendor. The cost is $3000COP ($1.50USD) for a good sized portion. It is 3am and we are enjoying the company of a group of homeless teens and chatting back and forth through broken Spanish and occasional spurts of English. The churrasco is amazing and the shots of boxed rum offered by the teens are a nice gesture.
The day before this, right after getting our hair cut, James and I found ourselves wandering into a crowd of students protesting a recently proposed law, “ley 30”. The police were surrounding the square and had situated themselves behind metal temporary fencing. They dressed in riot gear and the police we talked to were pretty certain that things were going to get violent. We hung out and mingled with the students until the rain became too much to bear. It started quickly and came down hard. Students used their protest banners as ponchos and make-shift shelters. We hopped under a 4’x8’ banner with four students and ran to shelter in a window sill of a beautiful, old, colonial building. We chatted for a while about the state of education not only in Colombia but in the rest of the world as well. The rain eventually let up and we made our way back to our place for the night, completely soaked.
These situations and accompanying conversations really give some insight into the real Bogota and the real Colombia. You can't read about these things in a guidebook or experience these situations through other's photos. These sorts of things can only be experienced in person and only by a traveler who is willing to take risks. I've been jumped and more recently gotten into a fight with a coked up drug dealer. These situations can turn bad at any point and I don't advise other's to do the things I do, especially without language skills or a resident guide. I have been lucky enough to meet some great people on this trip in almost every area I've been in. These locals really provide some fantastic information on the country and city that they live in. They are also the gateway to real experiences and the key to largely unknown events, sights, places, or experiences. If you have the time on your trip to stop and live the everyday life in an area, I highly recommend it. Making local friends will be sure to follow and you will walk away with a much better understanding of the inner workings of a place than those who travel to the tourist spots, take their prized Facebook photo and then hop a plane home. Each person has a different goal for traveling and there is no wrong way to see an area or to spend a vacation. I have to say that for me, I would hate to spend the kind of money it takes to tour the popular spots and walk away with only photos, no real understanding of where you were. I will end with what I feel is an appropriate quote:
“Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.” – Elizabeth Drew
Last edited by ExploringNH; 11-12-2011 at 11:51 PM.
Great trip guys. And there is so much more still to come! I did Oregon-Buenos Aires a couple of times (see last one at http://torlasco.tripod.com), and you are making me want to do it again...Colombia was one of the highlights for me, wonderful mountain roads. And so was Bolivia, prepare yourself for a treat. Southern Chile and Argentina are also highlights. If you need vehicle storage in Buenos Aires, we offer that among other services, mainly motorhome rentals in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay (http://www.andeanroads.com). I also have good contacts in Ushuaia, one of my best friends owns a Land Rover expedition company down there. Enjoy!
While my friends are spending all week in an office doing the daily grind, my bad day consists of me relaxing in a bed and breakfast run by a super nice family, exploring a new city, meeting new people, and eating wonderful foods...in Nicaragua, where many people dream of traveling to. Such a terrible, terrible situation.
ha ha ha this is so funny..... thanks