A Travellerspoint blog

Colombia

Colombia

A La Orden

semi-overcast 88 °F
View A Backpack, A Bicycle, And a Bonderman Grant to Travel the World on dericvito's travel map.

Since I last wrote, I traveled to an island off the coast of Salvador, Bahia in Brazil to take advantage of a house all to my self, generously offered by a friend. With the intention of being alone I tried to practice arts typically lost on me, such as doing one thing at a time (eating without reading, cooking without listening), flossing, and shaving in front of a mirror. The place was kind of like that vacation spot in the movie, The Thomas Crown Affair except for no woman, paitings and nor private airplane. From Bahia I traveled north to Fortaleza to visit with my host family from my college study abroad experience, now a full seven years ago. It was pretty to easy to slip into the old routine and become a member of the family once again. Some things have improved, somethings have gotten worse and much has stayed the same.

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About an hour into arriving in Bogota I was pretty sure all Colombian´s hated me for the space I was taking up with my bicycle bag on the tiny bus that services the airport. But actually everyone was quite kind. Bogota is a mix of Boulder Colorado, with its altitude, foothills and bicycle lanes, New York City (in perhaps the 1980´s) with its vibrant and gritty street life and maybe Seville, with its Spanish architecture and hot chocolate. I spent my days experimenting with the acclaimed transportation system. My first night I took a bicycle ride with a local bicycle guru and ex-Seattilite. He rode with his dog sometimes on a leash, sometimes under his arm, and sometime running down the middle of the avenue.

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My diet in Bogota consisted of everything the street had to offer. That includes fresh potato and bannas chips, smoothies, arepas (like papusas) with chorizo, empanadas, fruit salad, etc. I know what you´re thinking, and your right; that´s exactly what happened, but it was well worth it. Bogota is a dynamic place. In the span of 30 minutes Friday night I was dancing at a BBQ, listening to one of many street comedians, soaked by the pouring rain, strolling through a street fair, listening to street rappers, caught between two political rallies and relaxing peacefully at the Bogota Philharmonic. In that time I consumed one beer, a slice of pizza, a Colombia version of a Mexican taco (not close), and a Churro.

Colombia is perhaps the easiest country in the world in which to make a phone call. Vendors are on every corner offering their cell phone for 5 to 10 cents a minute. However, I was chocking on my Portanhol and not making too many calls until I got to Cartagena. I think I´ve mentioned that traveling breeds distrust, and this almost prevented me from meeting Alberto (who wanted me to show him my guesthouse) and Alcides (who just wanted to talk). Alberto had recently left his wife and Alcides is so committed to his independence he sought a vasectomy at age 18. Now 22, an extremely intelligent law school school drop out with a aversion to work, Alcides spends his time at one of Cartagena´s several inviting plazas and hasn't wavered about not having kids. Both characters had the same message, freedom and independence is everything!
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I took a side trip from Cartagena to Valledupar where a stayed at the home of a great guy name Jan and his family, my friend Keith from Seattle and Roberto a traveler from Argentina. Jan does a mean air accordion (one hand on your chest pressing buttons, the other extended, eyes closed chin pointed toward the sky). This is an important skill in the land of Vallenato, a sorta country like music featuring the accordion. We were all in town for the Vallenato festival which featured non-stop Vallenato from the plazas, stadium, taxis and every house with a sound system for five days straight.

Tomorrow I board a 30 foot sail boat for a five day trip to Panama. After a few days there I will board a plane destined for Miami. And, withstanding Alcides and Alberto´s message, by the end of the second week in May I will be a la ordean, ´´at your service´´.

Posted by dericvito 18:48 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

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