Christmas was very quiet for us in Mindo in the day we went Canopying where you are attached by a harnes to a steel rope high above the jungle canopy! It was really good fun Darren did a couple upside down! There were hardly any tourists and hardly any restaurants, we had to have pizza for Christmas dinner there was tons of bugs and lots of Humming birds! On Boxing day we took the bus to Quito and were trying to decide what to do next....Colombia or no Colombia, on a bit of a whim the day after boxing day we took the bus to the border town of Tulcan they were still very much celebrating with a big street parade lots of squirty snow. We spent 1 night before getting up early and crossing the border into Colombia, the crossing went smoothly and we took the bus straight to Cali which was about 12 hours, the bus was stopped numerous times with children holding string across the road and throwing water bombs through any open windows it was incredibly hot in places, we stopped at one point and it couldn't have been far off 50 degrees!
We spent 5 days
in Cali, its a nice town with a lovely shopping mall, at the river there were over 1,000,000 Christmas lights so most evenings we went to have a look and sample the food which was on offer, mostly chicken on a stick, and these rings as fat as a finger similar to donuts and of course Mango!! New years eve was fun we went out with the other travellers from our hostel and went to a salsa bar there was a local Colombian girl with us who took it in turns dancing it was a fun experience, on new years day we went to the shopping mall (chipichape!!) and went to see the film Avatar in 3D it was really good and a nice relaxing was to spend the day. The following day we took the bus to the town of Salento (the bus driver nearly fell asleep luckily Darren saw and so did another lady who gave him a stern telling off and didnt take her eyes off him the rest of the journey!!) On the first night every hostal was fully booked so we ended up sleeping in some familys spare room (or maybe not spare cos we
saw someone asleep on the settee when we got up! We went for breakfast and a dog took a shine to us for no reason whatsoever we called her Suzy she followed us ALL DAY we went to the chemist she sat outside, went for a coffee she sat outside then we went on a mission to find a coffee farm, she didnt stop following us!! it was a nice walk on a very quiet dirt track (1 car an hour) but when we got there about 4pm it was closed henceforth a long way to walk back up still Suzy followed as soon as we got back into town she wandered off without even a goodbye!! That nigh we had to stay in an expensive guest house and the next night we wold have a room at a British run hostal - YAY!!The next day we went on the beautiful valley walk, called Cocora it took about 7 hours of ups and downs (mostly ups!!) but the views were breathtaking this is where you can see lots of the Colombian national tree the Wax Palm which is also the tallest palm tree in the world reaching 60 meters! This
is also where we met the friendly soldier who we spoke to (in Spanish!!!) for near on half an hour . So that night we finally had the British run hostal the first one ever!! Wow - he had let his standards slip he showed us the attic room complete with mouse droppings but we didnt have much choice as the festival was starting everywhere else was very expensive or full so we ended up taking another room with him, it was in the country side but when we returned to our room after dinner there was some big moths in there(mum you would have hated it there were as big as my thumb!!) we were just about to do our teeth and Darren spied a HUGE spider trying to creep under the door half as big as my hand it was horrid so we promptly got the mosquito net out and tried to sleep! The birthday of Salento was just kicking off as we were leaving on the last day at 4.30 am (I was half awake with a cold and fear of the moths and spiders) fireworks started going off followed by police sirens, then air raid sirens!
Very peculiar was to start a party!!!! we left that morning to take another loooong bus to Medellin, the distances are so vast in Colombia it can be 10 hours between one city and the next!! we arrived in Medellin at 7pm with no hostal booked so had to go on a walk trying to find somewhere after an hour of wandering we ended up going to a hostal called the Pit Stop and had to stay in a dorm...... for the first time ever!!!!!!
It wasn't too bad as there was only one other chap from America but we got woken in the night as we had locked the door, apparently you don't do that in dorms.... so the next day we were lucky enough to get a room at a new Zealand run hostal “The Black Sheep” the first day here we went out with 12 other tourists to visit a big market in a rough area of town, saw lots of strange fruits and many animals, after that we made the obligatory trip to Paoblo Escobars grave which is suprisingly humble considering he was once the 7th richest man in the world its just like a normal
grave over here. Whilst we went in the church place there after some old Colombian man told us to and it was very strange, the walls were floor to ceiling with these boxes with caskets and photos and flowers thousands of them. The next day we went on the metro (tram/overland tube) it costs 50p each for as long or as far as you want to travel in 1 go, its very new and they have built a new cable car line extension to service the slums in the mountains, of course we went on it (didnt get off through) it was a very long ride in the cable car about half hour each way an d it was very interesting to see the slums below (they didn't look too bad really!!) We will probably stay in Medellin for a few days there are plenty of tourists (met a man from Lymington!) plus we need to do some shopping at least 1 new item of clothing needed after 2 moths of wearing the same things - I hate it! Word has it that Medellin has 300 shopping malls and so far I have only managed to drag Darren around 2!
Today (8th Jan) we have been to the body exhibition it travels the world, we visited with 2 canadians we met one of them had studied anatomy so he provided some good information http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/ (if you aren't too squeamish) we thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition it was very interesting! Hope everyone is well and enjoying your weather! It was 31 this evening at 5pm!!!
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