Bucaramanga, Colombia - Climbing and travel adventures

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October 23rd 2012
Published: October 29th 2012
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Finally got out of Medellin and got on the road... and it felt good. there is nothing quite like the feeling of not really knowing where you are going, but just going there anyway.
Arrived pretty late in bucaramanga and caught a taxi to the hostel. I was a little nervous about the taxi ride, as I didn't know what the city was going to be like. It turns out though, the taxi driver was super friendly, as are most people in Colombia really. Had a brilliant conversation with old mate Nelson on the 20 minute or so cab ride. For some reason it was ridiculously cheap, only $8000 COP, $4.50AUD. I think maybe he just liked the chat and gave me the Colombian price. Good bloke anyway. I stayed in Kasi Guane, British bloke and a Colombian bloke co- manage and own it. Was a really nice Hostel. The first day, I went to Mesa de la Santos (Mesa of the Saints), to try some rock climbing. Old mate at the Hostel told me I didn't need to leave until midday. Although in hindsight, I should have left way earlier. I walked up the street and caught a bus to a place called Piedecuesta, costing $1700 COP. From here, I was to catch another bus up to Mesa De la Santos for supposedly $3000 COP. Due to some people on the bus trying to help me, or at least I like to think they were helping me, I jumped off as they said I had missed the stop for Piedecuesta. It turns out though, I had jumped off far too early and was quite a way from the next bus stop. Its times like these that broken Spanish... lets be honest, no Spanish, is shit! I asked a few people which way to the bus stop, and a man offered to take me there on his scooter for Dos mil pesos ($2000 COP). Having taken many a scooter in Thailand, I said thank you, accepted the helmet and climbed aboard. As soon as he took off though, I suddenly realised that I was in Colombia, and that this man could probably get quite a bit of money for me if he took me to the right people. Every scenario started running through my head, and I started to wonder, when I would ask him to stop if it started to look sketchy. The unfortunate thing is, I had no idea which way the bus terminal was, and everywhere looked sketchy. In the end, I realised that I had no choice but to trust him, and hope that he took me to the right place. And of course he did, the bus stop he dropped me at didn't leave for another 30 minutes, so I went in search of the other one. Some broken Spanish got me there relatively quickly, then some more broken Spanish got me a ticket to La Moharra, the rock climbing place on Mesa de la santos, Costing $5000 COP instead of $3000 COP.. sbr. It turns out however, that it would have been quicker for me to wait the 30 minutes for the other bus as this one proceeded to take 3 hours to do an hour drive. Stopping, and meandering the whole way up to collect more people... blast.Well, three hours later, I am the last person on the bus and heading for the furthest place on Mesa de la santos. We start passing cliffs, and it seems that I will finally get to climb...... Then the rain, and torrential too. It poured for about 10 minutes while we were driving, and then all of a sudden dissapated. Maybe it will clear up and the rock will dry by the time I get down there! I arrived at the climbing place, Refugio la roca, I forget the fellas name, i'm sure I have it written down somewhere. I am almost up to date with this journal, so will be remembering a lot more soon I think. I met the guy, and we quickly started walking toward the cliffs, on our way we had to wait out some more rain. I could tell he wasn't really keen but with a little persuasion we got a quick climb in. I didn't get to lead, only top roped it, but it was still good to get on the rock. Climbing might be a good change of activity for the next little while instead of the high stress of kayaking on my shoulder... we shall see. I made it back to Bucaramanga with the help of a lovely man in Piedecuesta. He took me with him on the metro bus back to Bucaramanga which saved me a lot of hassel trying to find a bus. It was a lot cheaper too. For the second time that day, I followed a man, not knowing what he was saying, and just hoping that he was taking me where I was trying to go. Once again the Colombian people are awesome. It seems foriegners have not been here long enough for a majority of the population to get the shits with them, most people are really eager to help you and have a chat, if only I could speak a little more Spanish to talk back. Before heading off too sleep, I organised to go Paragliding over Chicamocha Canyon on the way to San Gil the next day. Thus ended my stay in Bucaramanga.


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