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Day 357 – 30th November 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on November 30, 2009

Monday – Medellin, Colombia

Back into camera mode, about bloody time too eh! 🙂

It is a slightly strange place where I am staying, it is not a brothel but there are a lot of chicas around. What seems to be going on is that gringo tourists come and stay here and meet the girls they have been face booking for a while. Most of them are oldish men but a couple of not so old ones as well. Anyway I met a few at breakfast and soon explained that no, I was not here to ride the chicas, I was here to ride my bike 😉 Mind you I would take what was on offer, but these guys are paying big bucks methinks and I have not budgeted for high class whores! It is a cheap clean and friendly place to stay so for those interested in dropping by, here are the GPS co-ordinates:

N 6 ° 12.001’ and W 75 ° 34.224’

it is just off Av Poblado and Loma Alejandra, I seem to have lost the business card so I have no exact street address, but that will get you there 🙂

Anyway, I grabbed a cab and told him I would follow him to the address of the Suzuki shop. The reason I did this was because the shop I saw yesterday looked like a small showroom for new bikes and no service area. We got to the address from the website and not the GPS location and it was different, and here I met up with Mario the owner and Carlos his head tech. It turns out he had answered my email, but when we checked it out he had left the ‘r’ off the front, so someone got a weird email from him a few weeks ago.

It was no big issue because as soon as he knew I was coming a few weeks back, he had grabbed a chain and sprocket kit and put it to one side especially for me 🙂 So, I booked the bike in for a replacement kit, also they could give the bike a good wash and get all the chain oil and grease off underneath, plus fix my belly pan which got damaged on the boat transfer. So, I told him he could keep the bike until tomorrow as I was staying a few days and I needed to find a camera. He pointed up the road about 2 blocks to a large mall and said try there.

To cut a long story short I tried 3 different malls over the next 3 hours or so with many taxis in between as I was not interested in trying out the bus system when taxis are so cheap, like $5 for about 20 minutes ride. I eventually had to make a decision about the model of camera I would buy. The one I wanted was not available, that is the Olympus 8000 waterproof model. All I could find was the earlier version called an 850SW, which means shock/waterproof. It was not cheap, $950,000p, which is about $475 and way too much for an out of date model. Just about every shop in this last mall had cameras, but cheap ones, so I needed to decide, expensive or cheap?

I had some lunch and thought it through and eventually came to the decision to buy the expensive, shock/water/cold and heat proof one as I knew for a fact I would drop the damm thing. Then came the major hassle for the day, trying to buy it. They would not accept credit cards without a passport, so that meant a taxi back to the hostel, make him wait while I grabbed my passport and then return. Then, while I was installing my own charged battery from the old camera, and my XD card and getting the menu sorted out, they processed the Mastercard, bugger it does not work, it has been rejected, contact your bank, bloody hell, what is going on!!

So now I get another bloody taxi back to the hostel, open the safe in the room and remove the $1,000,000 pesos I had in there from the other day, when I was to buy the other camera in Cartegena and return to the shop and finally I have a camera, an expensive one so you buggers better appreciate the photos from now on 😉

I headed back to the hostel in the aftermath of a massive storm cell and this is what the place looks like.

After this I did some blog stuff and made another call to Mario. I asked him how much it would cost to do a valve check as it has not been done yet, he reckons about $75, which is very cheap, so I said go ahead and I will pick the bike up the next day 🙂

At this point I checked my online banking to see what had happened with my Mastercard, well there were two messages telling me about unusual transactions and I needed to contact a specific number back home, they gave me a number to reverse charges to, but the hostel had free international calls so I called them. Apparently they had blocked my camera transaction because it came from Colombia and I had not notified them beforehand that I was overseas!!! I told them to look at my bloody transaction history and see a trail of transactions all the way through Central America as well as transactions in Cartegena which was also Colombia grrrr! They apologised and removed the block and said it should all be OK now, well I hope so as it is very annoying to stand in line in a bank queue to get cash out, that is what the damm card is for!

After that little spiel, I went for a walk down to the mansion. This is another hostel a few streets away and is owned by the same people, the person I was to meet was a fellow Aussie called Greg and he actually owned both buildings. On the way I see a pair of cops on a bike pull over another bike rider in my driveway, he is not wearing a vest with his licence plate number on it so they did a pat down and search of him etc.

In Colombia it is compulsory for each rider and passenger to wear a vest with the bikes number on it, this is to stop drive by shootings, as your number would be seen by bystanders. This does not apply to foreigners so that is all good 🙂 So, I met up with Greg, he seems a nice enough chap, he offered a few beers, how could I refuse 😉

We chatted about this and that and after spotting an old version of Lonely Planet on the shelf, it was 2004 he asked Monika to take me down to the book shop a few blocks away and see whether they had one of South America. So, we headed down there and spotted these dummies all over the joint, some type of xmas decoration I guess, pretty weird though!

The shop did not have one, but Greg said if I could not find one by the time I left town, I could have his as a gift, very kind of you m8 🙂 He was interested in seeing the Barking Spider so we soon headed up there to meet Albert and have a beer, they may have a use for each other as the hostels are looking for a place for meetings and parties etc.

We left after one as Greg wanted a feed, we ended up at the Colombian version of Hooters, no roller skates though! I have only been to these places twice, once in Cancun, once here, remind me never to go again, the wings I got were boneless, but the meat I was served was not wing meat, it was chicken breast mostly. Never mind, it provided sustenance which I may need later 🙂

They headed off afterwards, as Greg was going to Panama in the morning with a m8 and they would be checking on a sailboat owned by his m8, they would sail that later on back to Cartegena or further north. Nice meeting you, keep in touch. I went back to the Spider where I met up with John, from Chicago, we had quite a few drinks, mainly rums for me by this stage as I had no need to get up early and could sleep in if I chose to. I still needed to up and active by 10am as I was to meet Greg’s secretary Karen who was going to take me on a tour of the town 🙂

Here are the staff for the night, I forget the left girls name, but in the middle is Lady and then Hellen on the right.

So, a mad girl turned up, not really mad, but very outspoken and Al knew her, she ended up inviting me along to a private party with Hellen from the bar who I invited 😉 It was agreed that the latest we would be out was 2-2.30am. It was half past midnight when we left and the Parque Lleres was still in full swing, including the tucker stands 🙂

So, we all squeezed into a cab and headed out for a party

Now, this cab ride took a while, it turns out there is a misunderstanding, basically I had no idea what was going on, but we spent an hour driving around looking for a place still open that would let people in, it was Monday night! In the end we ended up at, you guessed it, a strip club 😆

Now, I was getting along with Hellen quite fine as you can see in the above photo 🙂 But, just to my right me is a runway for the strippers to do their thing and it was hard to pay attention to Hellen with all that going on around me. I tried to explain that in Aus, if a guy took a girl to a strip club, he was likely going to cop a smack on the chops. But, apparently here is is OK and she explained that if the girls have great bodies, they are proud of them and why shouldn’t I look? 😕 Well, I cannot argue with logic like that so I made sure I admired what the girls had to offer 😉

It was a late night and sorry there are no photos to back up my last statement, but it is an open blog after all. I was in bed by 3am, not a bad effort I reckon.

Day 0 miles and 0 km
Trip – 44,040 miles and 70,876 km



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4 Responses to “Day 357 – 30th November 09”

  1. Bruce in WA said

    And a very pretty choice too, m8.

  2. D.S. said

    Good to see you with a camera again but man those prices are high down there…

    • The luxury goods are all taxed at 15%+, there is no income tax, it is all consumption, so those that have money pay. Once I bit the bullet, although I know it is too high, it would have cost more every time I lost another camera.

      Cheers TS

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