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Published: June 30th 2013
So my final 2 weeks in South America have been in beautiful Colombia + 2 days in Lima Highlights include;
Checking out beautiful Bogota, the capital
Getting my open water diver certification on the Caribbean in Taganga
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Returning to the cold in Lima Peru! Low lights
Getting violently ill ( food poisoning I think) in Cartegena for the 2 days I was there in almost 100%!h(MISSING)umidity.
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Gold bits on boy bits
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I really loved visiting Bogota. There were lots of nice things to do in my few days there. I went on a really cool graffiti walking tour, which surprisingly was run by an Aussie dude, who puts his mark on Colombian walls. His street name is "Crisp", which he couldn't explain why, but I suspect it's because he likes crisps, either that or because he had crisp blue eyes. That's my educated guess anyway.
I also really enjoyed the gold museum which explained a lot about the history of gold in Colombia. The Lost City itself is where a lot of the gold was found. Treasure hunters still look for gold in these areas. The museums were great, the food was great and I was lucky enough to spend a day with Maria and her mother who live in Colombia.
I'd never met them before, but through Amy back home some connections were made! Big shout out to Maria and her mum!! Thank you so much for your friendly Colombian hospitality!! Taganga
This little beach destination is situated right on the coast of the Caribbean. Everyone seems to come here to dive because it's cheap and the diving is really beautiful. So I decided I may as well spend a few days here and get my open water dive certificate. Scuba diving actually scared the hell out of me to start. The first day in the pool when I had to go down with my tank and breathe in and out via my mouth I panicked and quickly come to the top!!! It's so un natural to breathe like this. But my very relaxed Greek instructor Nikko was fantastic " lady, you're doing great,
Street art Bogota
Drawn by Bogota's most famous female street artist
you'll be a natural, I can tell". He says this to all the ladies no doubt, and i thought, he'd be a
good choice for mouth to mouth if required.
Part of getting your certification involves passing a lot of "skill" tests like at the bottom of the ocean dropping your regulator ( thing u breathe in) then putting it back in your mouth, taking your mask off under water for 1 minute then putting it back on, and doing emergency things like using your buddies back up regulator if you run out of air. When I actually got to the real diving it was amazing!! So beautiful, and I got over the whole breathing through my mouth pretty quick. I can't wait to do more now, I'm officially licensed to do it anywhere in the world!! Whoop whoop! Anyone want to join me? I'm going
to need a dive buddy back home!
Taganga it's self was a small little beach destination, I found my favourite little cafe there with the best coffee I've had in the whole of South America. My barista ( and I use the term very loosely ) Carlos got use to my regular visits every day, he tried patiently to teach my Spanish. Then gave up, and decided to lecture me on the fact that I should be married and making babies by now!! Now dear Carlos is only 19, he has a gf, which he informs me isn't his first, he plans to be engaged to her by 25 then a family by 30. He will have 2 babies, a boy and girl. He has it all sorted. He needs to get a better job though to save for a ring. His salary is 600,000 Colombian peso a month ( $300 Aussie dollars ) and his rent is 300,000 a month, food 150,000 a month, then 100,000 on expenses. So savings
are very minimal. But he was lots of fun and he kept giving me free coffee while I was there and I'd entertain him with my poor Spanish!! Trekking to the Lost City
I didn't know if I was excited or scared to do the Lost City trek. It was hot and the thought of trekking in the heat with all the mosquitos was not appealing at all, but then it was the Lost City and I had heard how beautiful it was. Either way, I was doing it!
There were 3 others in my tour group, Alice the French/Colombian archeologist student who would only be walking one way as she was staying for 1
month at the Lost City to work with 20 other archeologists mapping out every inch of the city. Tim the Belgian who used to work in IT but now will travel until he runs out of money then may find work in South America somewhere where he can be either a dive instructor or English teacher. And lastly Nick, the hot Aussie cop who loves to travel and wants nothing more than to get married and have kids! (Shout out to all the single Melbourne ladies, I got his mobile number for those who want a date)
The Trek took 4 days/3 nights. It was SO hot!! Within minutes of starting we were all dripping sweat, ridiculously dripping in sweat. Like we would wring our tops ever 30 minutes to get the sweat out! Alice ended up riding a mule as she wasn't copping with the heat and exercise so well. Tim, Nick and I gossiped like little school girls!! The best part of the trek was the gossiping!! We laughed
so much at the silliest of things, it was probably heat exhaustion!
The trek itself was through the jungle, we would be up at 4am every day to get most of the walking done before the hottest part of the day. There were a few river crossings, but luckily none to high, and at the end of each day we ended up swimming in the river to cool down/shower! At night we slept in hammocks which was actually very comfortable!
On the third day we made it to the Lost City, the climb up had 1200 steps according to our guide, I counted 1212 and that wasn't from the bottom. He just laughed at me when i told him and said "it's not an official number". As I cleared the sweat stream from my face I said" Lucky!!! Don't make me write
Shopping centre on cliff face
Facts about the Lost City, it actually has 5 different names, one being "Green Hell" because its green and the mosquitos are so bad!! There is no longer an actual city there, it's just the grounds on where the city was, all circle like formations The houses were built from wood so no longer stand. The circle formations represent the sun god. It's interesting to note that the Lost City is some 650 years or so older than Michu Picchu, founded around 800 AD, however the Lost City was only discovered in the 1970's ( 73 I think) and the first tours started there in 1984. So it's really only a very new tourist destination. The city itself probably housed 1500 - 2000. Michu Pichu only had water supplies for 200. Before the city was discovered by treasure hunters apparently local tribes knew of the city and would visit it. The army patrols the site day and night to protect it from treasure hunters and because back in 2003
tourists were kiddnapped from there. it's totally safe now. They are still learning a lot about this site, the fact archeologists are camped there doing work just to map it all out is a sign that there is plenty left to learn.
While the ruins themselves weren't as impressive to look at as Michu Pucchu they still have lots of stories and mysteries behind them to be told.
At the end of the trip, everyone absolutely stunk, most had mosquito bites from head to toe and the thought of clean dry clothes had never been so enticing. Now I don't have any photos to show because I didn't have room to carry my iPad, but photos will come when I get them off my camera.
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-webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(175, 192, 227, 0.230469); -webkit-composition-frame-color: rgba(77, 128, 180, 0.230469); -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;" />Cartagena
This was my last stop in Colombia before I flew back to Lima for 2 nights to get my flight over to London. It was 5pm in the afternoon when I arrived here. The city was stinking hot, but I was ready for that. I walked around inside "the walled city" which is the old colonial area which was very pretty. I also feel in love with an emerald and white gold ring! Emerald stores are everywhere, the emerald is like the Colombian diamond. i accidentally purchased one and have had to cut my holiday short by about 2 weeks due to decreased funds 😊 Later that evening, i stupidly ate some street food, which I'm pretty sure was the reason i got horribly sick! So I never really got to explore Cartegena.
On my first night here I woke with horrible stomach pains and feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. The whole next day I had no energy and was hostel bound in ridiculous heat. They only have air con from 7pm until 10 am. I couldn't eat, the smell off food made me dry reach. The day after it got worse. The gastro started! Super, on the day I had to catch 3 flights to get back to Lima. Lots of drugs, gastro stop, antibiotics, pain killers, u name it, I took it. I passed out in a sweat bath on my first flight. My second flight was stuck on the tar mac for 2 hours before they made us change planes . Then it was a mad rush to the final flight into Lima! I still couldn't stomach food and every time they brought out plane food I was so scared I'd spew!
Good news is I made it to Lima. Lima
So I stumbled into my hostel room late at night after 3 flights from hell. There was only one other guy in my room, Mike from America, so it was a good relaxing sleep! I didn't do much in Lima as I was still recovering from being sick. Though on the last day Mike and I explored Lima beach and walked around the city. It was a perfect sunny day for my last day in South America! Reflection
So as I sit here, my last day in South America, I reflect on my 4 months;
I've been to 5 countries, climbed mounts and volcanos, trekked at altitude, in snow, in 100km winds and in almost 100%!h(MISSING)umidity. I've dived to the bottom of the ocean, discovered ancient ruins, seen freezing glaciers, scaled canyon walls and crawled through dark caves. I've been to the worlds highest laked, trekked to the worlds deepest canyon and ridden a bike down the worlds most dangerous road. I've seen dinosaur foot prints, sea fossils and Inka children mummies that had been preserved in the mountains. I've dined on glorious food and sipped on splendid wine. I even took time out for myself to forgive those who have hurt me in the past so I have lots of love to give in the future. I've made friendships ill keep forever and friendships that will only last days. And the crazy thing is, I'm only half way through my trip! What will the UK and Europe bring?
After just finishing the book Eat, Pray, Love ( and for those who know it) this has defiantly been my "Eat", now it's time to pray that in Europe I can loose those kilos 😊. Lucky for me, weight is only temporary ( a good friend told me these wise words).
And for those who love stats, some details for you
4 dead toe nails
1 stress fracture in my right big toe ( I'm positive of that, though not confirmed)
6000 + new freckles
1000 + mosquito bites
2 rounds of food poisoning
I attempted robbery
5+ South American kilos
ENDLESS - the number of amazing experiences!!! What's next? UK/Europe
I prepare now for the next chapter, I'm mostly excited that ill get to see two of my sisters again!! My first Brauman sighting in 4 months! I can't hide it, I miss my family and friends terribly!! Amanda is going to meet me at the airport. Ill probably cry because ill be so happy!!! Amanda being the most unemotional person I know will say something along the lines of "What the fuck is wrong with you? God you're so much like mum!" But hey mum, I take that as a total compliment!! I'd be more then happy to turn out half as good a person as you!! And don't worry, I'm saving the most tears for you anyway!!
The Brauman sisters, minus Michelle, who is home planning her wedding, are off to Spain for Running with the Bulls!!!
If I survive, ill be sure to have some interesting stories to share!!
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