Sitting in the front seat of minibus ,chatting to the driver about his life ,while travelling through the green hills of Central Colombia.Colombian music playing softly while a mother and toddler giggle happily amongst the other passengers in the back.My life is like a dream.I must have been a saint in my last life.
Well since last entry I've done a few miles.I got my Ecuadorian Tat done and went to a tourist shop.This was Monday and they told me that the next tour that included walking to the refuge on Cotopaxi wasn't until Saturday.I have wanted to do this walk since seeing a kids reality show ,on ABC, about a group of kids ,from UK, who were chosen to go to Cotopaxi and build an enclosure for caged bears who were about to be released back into the wild.After they finished the enclosure they climbed for 3 days to the volcano rim.So I put my name down n looked around for other things to fill my week.
The next day I went back to tattooist and spoke to the apprentice about if he was confident to do a 3hr job (all artists need to start somewhere)We discused what I wanted ,he traced my foot and we agreed on a time for next day.I had a good look around Quito and got back to my hotel just on dark.Next day I went to Tat shop and Xavier had drawn something that was so much more than my rough sketch.The face I had done on my foot in Mancora looked so lonely and small so I wanted an Inca Sun covering my whole foot.4 hours (and some indescribible pain) later I had my wish.(Check out Facebook pics)
Thursday I had a lazy day ,eating and watching TV then on Friday I got on a local bus and went to the Mitad del Mundo (Centre of the World) monument.the monument is on the estimated Equator but just up the road is a small museam which is on the actual GPS plotted Equator.I did the tour ,saw the water go different directions down a sink on either side and straight down in the middle and I balanced an egg on the head of a nail.Of the 6 people in our group only 2 of us (the 2 oldies) managed to balance the egg and we got a certificate.I even managed to get the right bus back to my hotel.
So Saturday arrived and I left my hotel at 6.30am to walk to the tours begining.It was an English speaking tour so I was with a couple from Isreal 2 young guys from Oxford ,England ,a young American who was volenteering at an orphanage ,a Argentine girl,who worked on the hydroelectric scheme near Banos, and a pilot ,from Lufthausen airline, who was on a layover.We drove on the bus to the bottom of Cotopaxi (the Highest Active Volcano in Ecuador) and changed to a 4 wheel drive.We drove to the carpark n all got ready for ,what I thought would be an easy, 1km walk from the carpark ,4500m above sea level, to the refuge ,4800m.It nearly killed me.The rest of the group took off n left the Argentine girl and I to struggle up the hill.Walk 25metres ,sit, walk 25m ,sit ect.My lungs just wouldn't work.We eventually got to the Refuge where lunch was waiting.I'm complaining about the walk but it was all very gorgeous and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.I have a great respect for the kids in the TV show who walked the full 2 days to the rim of the Volcano crator.The walk back down was MUCH easier.At the carpark our guide took pushbikes off roof of 4*4 and we rode the 10ks down the mountain.Nothing like the Death Road ,last year in La Paz but was still fun.I was thrashing everyone ,even the pilot who rides mountain bike races for sport, until I got a flat tyre.I had to wait for the car ,changed bikes and this time I stayed with the Isrealis and the Argentine girl and encouraged them to let go of the brakes n have some fun.We got back to Quito around 7pm GREAT DAY.
Sunday Morn I got bus to Tulcan ,on the Ecuadorian side of Colombian border.It was quite late so I got hotel ,ate and settled in for night.It was really humid in Quito ,it is on the equator, and my Ecuadorian Tat was a tiny bit infected so when I walked past a tattooist I went in and asked his advice.He wrote the name of antiseptic cream and when I told him my tattoo story (24tats by 20artists in 12countries) he wanted to be part of it and did a Chechuan Indian design of a lizard over my kidney.He got a bit patrotic and added yellow ,blue and red to the blank parts.After this I went to the cemetary .that everyone talked about.I was surprised to see 100s of the best toparie hedges I'd ever seen (I will upload pics soon).I saw an old man pushing a wheelbarrow so I asked him if the hedges were his work.He was so proud to tell me they had been his responsability for 46yrs and he explained all about it.He was so excited that I'd asked him that he talked at 100miles an hour n I didn't understand a word.
Next day I got traxi to the border ,crossed,then got bus to Popayan (on the Aust Govts "Reconsider Your Need to Travel" list) I got hotel ,ate n slept.Next morn I found restaurant for breakfast ,had a look around town then got bus to Cali (also on the reconsider list.).It sound stupid going to these towns on Govts list but it is even more dangerous to travel at night so was "catch 22".
Next morn I got bus to Bogata .A bridge was being repaired so didn't arrive until around 9pm.Got a secure taxi (express kidnappings ,via street taxis, are a thriving buisness in parts of Colombia) and wenrt to a hotel.I didn't like Bogata much ,like most cities, so next day I went straight to Tattooist ,that had been recomended by guys in Quito, and got my Colombian Tat done.It is a Precolombian Quimbayas indian design of 4 birds that is on the Colombian 200peso coin.(photos on Facebook later.
Well that was yesterday and I just spent 7hrs on the afore mentioned Minibus to here.San Gil. This is adventure sport capital of Colombia.I am just waiting for a tour orgoniser to come to my hotel so I can get info on prices and times to Bungee Jump and Paraglide tomorrow.YYEEEHHHHAAAAAaaaa
Well thats me caught up so bye all n I´ll add more in a few days or a week
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