Experiencing Colombia

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South America » Colombia » Bogota
October 8th 2009
Published: October 8th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

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We asked for adventure, and we got it, within the first hour for that matter! So Zack and I said our good byes, checked in and were ready for our long flight. When we heard ´Folkerts party for 2´ on the intercom. So we go to check out what the problem is, thinking we probably forgot something , but it was that we didnt have a return flight from South America. The airline told us that if the Colombians turned us back because we didn´t have an onward ticket they would be fined 10,000. So we decided to try to get a return flight in Fort Lauderdale where we had a 6 hour layover. We had a smooth flight to NYC and then to Fort Lauderdale, where the action began. We thought of booking one at the airport but the rates they gave us were ridiculous. We ended up phoning this website called Cheapoair for a flight. They were cheaper but still nothing like our flight to Colombia. It was a test of patience alright, we were on the phone for 3 hours, talked to people who didnt know english, cut off 3 times [once when we were confirming our visa numbers!!].
But finally we got it and just by the hairs on my chinny chin chin. The flight down was fine, the only thing being we were the only 2 white people. The taxi brought us to our hostel which looked like was empty and run down, but when we rung the door the lady brought us in. We quickly realized our spanish was not so good because not only did the manager not know english but not one single person in the whole hostel! But we eventually got a room to ourselves and crashed.

We woke up and looked out to what was going to be a beautiful day. Oh and they had switched managers and this one actually knew english. So she told us some of the sights we should see in the city and we were off. The first thing we heard walking down the streets were 2 kids counting to 10 in english, then a horse and buggy came rumbling down the street, and then as we thought it was safe to cross the streets a taxi came and almost hit us we were in Colombia alright. Natalia told us of the main square which had government buildings, churches, statues ect...so we decided that would be our first stop. We kinda got lost and found ourselves in a market, then we were downtown but finally ended up in the square which was quite impressive. After taking some pictures Zack saw a big hill which we thought would have a great view of the city. After walking the cobblestone streets for a while we saw that the top of the hill was kinda the slums but we didnt think much of it and decided to try it out, a local starts to yell at me and I dont understand her, then I look over and there is a military guy giving Zack the killing sign . So we thought better and veered off quickly and made out way away from there. Seeing a church on top of a mountian caught our eye and we made our way to that. We saw that there was a cable car going up and the church was called Marsette, and we decided to give it a try. Boy was it worth it, the whole city laid out in front of us, a huge church and beautiful gardens/statues filled the mountian top where we spent some time taking pictures and exploring the area. After we wanted to go downtown to the markets again. As we made our way down we noticed how people were dressed and thought they were crazy. Their attire was mostly made up of long pants, parkas and scarfs. It must of been 25 degrees or warmer out!! After the market we ended up in another square where there were tons of people. They sell everything but they really like there sock vendors and people with cell phones charging 1.500 pesos per minute. We met a little boy named Dominique we loved to get pictures taken of and ran around chasing the pigeons that were everywhere in the square. It started to get dark we made it back to our hostel because its not the best place to be walking around at night, lots of homelessness and dark alleys. Talked to Natalia about what we should see in Colombia and played some ping pong and off to bed.

After our experience today from Bogota to Cali we have a new addition to Fear Factor. It had to be one the most petrofying and yet most beautiful bus ride of our lives. One could argue that these bus drivers were pulled of the streets, shown the movie To Fast To Furious, and told to drive to location without hospitalizing anyone. They drove into corners going at least sixty and on the odd times even managing the bus on two wheels. They also passed anyone that was going to slow for there standards around any corners (were talking rocky mountains where the road isn´t staight for longer the 100 meters). And if by any chance there was oncoming traffic coming there way, which was often the case they would nail the brakes and you would find yourself in an other seat. After bracing myself for a good two hours i look over and find keith snoring away...? As bad as the ride sounds we did only pay 30,000 pesos ($15) and along the way saw a glimpse into paradise. There were tropical plants everywhere from banana trees, coffee plants, palm trees, and wack off othere ones. In the end we made it safely to Cali.

Cali was a huge drop in elavation which was very noticeble as sleeping in the nude was neccessary..jk were sharing a room with four other guys and even then. Cali is known to be the Salsa capital of the South America and as we walked the streets at night it was very evident as the streets shot to life with Salsa music. We decided to take in the Zoo the next day which was incredible as the zoo itself was situated in a jungle. What we couldn't figure out though was what in the world a grizley bear and a black bear were doing there in temperatures in the 30 degrees celcius. That night we met Tom an English man who gave us a wealth of information as he was doing the same trek as we are but the opposite way. Tom spoke fluent spanish and had seen that there was a classical guitar concert on that night. So we went to see a 20 year old prodegy from France give a two hour concert by memory. The highlights of the day were fruit stands every where, people offering us cocaine, and the friendly people.

We woke up and headed straight for the bakery which we had gone to the previous 2 days, and we splurged and had the most amazing fruit juice known to man. We got a cab with Tom to the bus station, parted ways and we were off to Popayan. One thing about the buses here is that they dont leave until the WHOLE bus is filled up. So they drive through the city yelling POPAYAN, POPAYAN. It gets really annoying all you want to do is leave the city. The bus ride itself was pretty boring with scenery but we got our first taste of the Colombian military. They stopped us and searched me, I was fine, but then I look over at Zack and the guy is really getting to know Zack well if you know what I mean, but Zack was fine as well. A military guy starts to talk to us and seems really cool so we both got pictures with him which was pretty hilarious. We got pulled over a second time but now they just wanted to see our passports. We also experienced our first torrential downpour, and the bus started to leak. But like a trained plumber, the guy comes with towels and starts to tie off the leaks but to little success. In Popayan we walked out at night and found the night market, the best smelling place so far on the trip. All the vendors smelt so good, and we ended up hanging out in a restaurant for a while till we got creeped out by 2 guys staring at us and laughing

So that was Colombia, overall it isn´t as dangerous as everyone likes to assume and it is so beautiful. We are so glad we visited it and we have heard the north is the best part, so maybe another trip another time we will make it to the north. Definitley worth the visit. Thanks for reading our blog, sorry for the long wait on this anticipated blog. We will try to keep you posted every couple weeks.
Ciao Amigos

Additional photos below
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10th October 2009

wow! great blog! that photo of sanc.. de la lajas (sry for spelling) is gorgeous! love the military photos too. very jealous of the market. i see that you're trying out my photo taking technique also keith that u make fun of- hey it works! not surprised about keith either, he can sleep through anything and sleep anywhere! til next time...
10th October 2009

Great Photos
Hey there you two,thanks for setting up this blog, i'm glad to see you two healthy and looking happy, and the scenery is just amazing! I'm just going to show these pictures to Brandon and Katelyn who miss their Uncle Keith. Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving, i wonder what your dinner will consist of? Love you lots and bye for now. love from mom
10th October 2009

sure, it's not dangerous if you're 6'2" and 190 lbs times two. sounds great guys. the more i read the more i envy you.
21st October 2009

Happy Birthday
Hola Keith, Feliz Cumpleanos!! We hope you had an awesome birthday. What an amazing place to be on your birthday. We look forward to reading future blogs. Our prayers are with you and Zack. Buenas noches, Bruce and Nora
24th October 2009

Wow cool pics sounds like you are are managing okay....thriving well. I will make sure Roger sees the bricks..lol good pic take care from me

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