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Published: January 15th 2009
If i wanted to paint a picture of Colombia the literal result would be a lot of green....But add the life of the people it would be this mural rich with warm and vibrant colours!!
With all the news of Colombia of being 'muy peligroso' in the past (wat the farc??), i remember Simon saying it would be a pity if we skipped it and he would be right. Warm weather, amazing landscapes, really friendly people, giant fruits and veges, cold beers and shots of rum with water chasers in all night rumbas with friendly atmosphere. Im not surprised there are gay clubs here. Its a real crazy mix of salsa and rock and roll!!
Cartegena was our first port of call, a little magical place with a colourful history of spanish, english and dutch piracy. Orianne and i were eager for a private room after the 5 day tour on the boat. We had a fellow Aussie stay in the same hotel but after a few beers was saddened by her personality being no more than a stunned mullet. We did meet up with everyone from the boat for 1 night out on the town. Where we dranklittle constentina
beers watching locals do spaghetti leg dancing for us for tips outside a touristic bar. Orianne and i partied on at our first gay club of the trip. i hate to admit it but yes i was dancing around to all ye olde anthems and loving it except when the salsa music came on and the guys paired up and wiggled their butts in perfect time with perfect technique. Funny to see and happy all the same and great to meet some locals as camp as a row of tents. We walked and we walked around these gorgeous spanish colonail buildings lit up next to massive churches on cobbled streets where big apartments and balconies are slung with scarves of bougainvilleas. This of course was the old city where we stayed . The highrise buildings in nearby not so flashy. We got a lot of rain,hot rain, which aided O and i decisions to stay in bed and watch cable tv to cure hangovers. Even with a little bit of rain the streets were flooded as it was on sea level. Having us wade through dirty water flicking up the back of our legs on our journeys to buy ginormous
avocados and sweet sweet mangoes and tasty arepas con quesito. mmmmm
A dreamy little town right on the edge of Rio Magdalena was Mompos. Ever seen gone with the wind , this river constantly flowing calmly reminds me of such movie. Patience is a virtue and Orianne is beggining to hate these long long bus journeys. But i admire Oriannes patience in this case of hard to get to place. It took only 12 hrs of a big bus to nearby town , a taxi to the ferry , a 2hr wait for the ferry, onto a collectivo onto another ferry as the bridge had colapsed and off again. Then weaving our way at various speeds of slow through kids on bikes, streets of small towns full of life with blaring music and playing billiards, dogs , pigs , piglets ,cows , horses , chickens , flooded roads and passsing a football pitch which looked as a swimming pool with a guy canoeing along. The journey itself was a sight to be seen and at the time to disembark we got a hug and buenes suerte from the other passengers. Did i mention the colombians were friendly. We compacted
everything into 2n/1 day as the town itself was very small and a long weekend was fast approaching. A friendly guia approached us with the chance of seeing muchas , muchas animalas and he didnt disappoint. We cruised along in our lil boat spotting 2m long iguanas and wild monkeys.
Our home away from home came in the form of Medellin. A city with even some of the suburbs looked like places back home in oz. This sprawling city lights its way all the way up into the surrounding hills and in Colombia there is a lot of them. Now i havent thrown up yet on the bus but it doesnt mean i havent been close. It doesnt help when these poor kids either sitting behind me or next to me or both start throwing up in there little plastic bags as the roads are so windy. We stayed in a house hostel with all the usual comforts but didnt expect the good company , free internet blaring music and the complimentary joint with the laid back owner. Martine was this funny french canadian lady we met and at 53 yrs old she said she would live in canada
when she settled down. She was so funny. We named this cool little pad 'casa de artista' . With the likes of a graffic artist owner and photograher and mural artist working there. Orianne loved it as she could get back into the kitchen for some cooking therapy. We made Meddellin our base and did some trips into the hills. This is when a long bus ride injects discomfort at the very thought we were starting to get over all the buses. This lovely lady sent us on a 3 hr bus journey each way to the lovely coffee bean hills of Concordia. Nice place but unfortunately the town seemed no bigger than trafalga square. The views were amazing as we went up and down and up and down and with the obligatory wait by the roadside for a clearing of a landslide where kids with shovels would help clear the roads for some extra pesos. Our other trip was just a mere 2.5 hrs ea way to ' El Penal' and 'Las Rockas' a big ol rock you can climb by stairs and get an panoramic view of the beautiful hills and winding lakes. It seemed to be the
richer part of town of big houses with swimming pools and jet boats. We made ourselves a little fruit picnic and picked our holiday house. Our bus trips were long for daytripping but it didnt seem to upset the moods of the locals. They greeted the bus when they jumped on and whomever they happened to sit next to engaged in a conversation all the way home. They love a good chat.
We supplimented our day with a night at Vida gay club. Yay another one.Starting with salsa muzic as tight shirted boys with manicured pelos entered and checked each other out sipping their rum and water chasers. It then moved onto reggaeton and not til about 2 am did it hit out with the usual hard dance music. The music was crazy loud and not so much wanting to shout over it to meet the locals a small suppliment of smiles and sign language was sufficient. Other days we hung around recovering , buying food from the markets for our cooking and checked out Frank Boteros fat paintings and sculptures. Our extra days in Medellin left us with only 3 nights in Bogota and arriving in one of those
nights from a long bus ride from Armenia. We left it really short for the capital. Armenia was supposed to be Salento. We admired the coffee fields from the height of a dusty towns mirador and just bought food from the market and settled by a pool in a well floristed garden. To many long buses and not enough time in these beautiful places.
The La Candelera district seemed to be the most popular place to stay in Bogota and we both enjoyed it much the same. If i could pick a comparison i would have to say a smaller brother to Camden or Shoreditch as i saw it. Art graffitti walls, narrow streets with rows of small roomed pubs with rickety chairs and tables making your ears bleed with hard core or soft cock rock. There were lit up squares with young groups of people not short of looking like they just returned from a summer soltice festival. We felt comfortable and revelled in it all. We feel into a little bar and ordered some beers and chi cha.The puzzled look on our faces had our rock mother bar lady preguntas que pasa? Orianne and i imagining a sheesha
smoking pipe rather than a cup of maize wine aaahhhh. That was the start of a fun night . Being desiredly drunkared we stumbled to another bar to try some cocktails for a change. The result being more drunkared and spending the same amount of money on 2 drinks as we had on all those beers we stacked up earlier. Being out of pocket we started back to the hostel but not resisting falling into another open bar for one more drink. Carlos and his friends asked us to join them after striking up a conversation in the toilet line with Orianne. In our broken spanish our conversation seemed to bubble over . It was great, indeed fantastic it felt like chatting with mates, i even got asked my fave rock song and they would play for me and im not sure but i think they were impressed i new AC z DC muzic!!
A quick retrieval of funds from our nearby hostel then we were bar hopping and dancing salsa, then squishing in a cab to the other side of town to a dance hall and back again. Just before the sun rose we fell into bed with the
satisfaction of a great party night out with the locals, which took 3 days to recover from!! Ps Went crazy with the fotos xx
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