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Archive for December 3rd, 2009

Day 360 – 3rd December 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on December 3, 2009

Thursday – Salento, Colombia

Today was ride day, first up a normal breakfast included in the room cost, basically whatever you want, but for me an omelette with ham and tomato and onion, plus toast and jam with tea, great stuff 🙂 I had the beginnings of a wog though, in fact both myself and Albert had the sore throat and stuffy nose last night, today it was a bit worse. I had some throat lozenges, so that was fine but I hope I did not get the sneezes, in a full face helmet, not nice 😉

After packing the bike it was time to head off, the first half hour or so was spent getting out of the city, through a lot of small villages and suburbs, but I was on the right track as a few bikers followed me and told me where to go, in a kind way 🙂 I was soon amongst the twisties and the very nice countryside to the south of Medellin. These were good roads and fun to be on, even the trucks were behaving and staying on their side of the road for a change 🙂

These are the typical toll booths I get to ride past, that small track to the right is for bikes only, what a good idea 🙂

I was riding and having fun when I was passed by a couple of guys on a Pulsar, the pillion was using a video camera, so I gave it a bit of wrist and passed them and they did the same again. For the next hour we had fun launching the bikes round the twisties and whatever traffic was in the way. The only weird moment was when I slowed down real quick on a corner because there was a stick or two in the line I was taking, the only issue being, one of them moved!! I anchored real hard and managed to spot an Iguana about 2 foot long just to my right, if he had been walking any faster I would have run over him! As it was the other two guys had time to pull up and take some footage 🙂

Even with the road works and long queues, it was great to be on a bike because as you can see above, we just rode around the trucks to the front of the queue and ignored the lollypop man and rode right on through the works, oh what a feeling to be able to ignore all and every rule and get away with it 😈 So, after a while we stopped for a drink, basically they were in front and I stopped behind them, this is where I met Jose(left with sunnies) and Charley(right on phone), a couple of young chaps from Armenia. It turns out this is about 20km from the town I am heading to which is Salento. So we had some juice and as it was after midday I had a feed, they were not hungry but we had a great chat, I am getting better all the time with Spanish, only if they speak slow though! 🙂

After this break it was natural for us to ride together, we did not get far, I was stopped by a copper, he wanted to know why I was not wearing a vest with a number on it, he was very young and when I explained that foreigners do not need them, he let me pass, meanwhile just up the road, the lads were filming everything, hopefully I can get a copy of some of the footage, but it is on a cassette. We continued on, passing things left right and centre while playing with cameras 🙂 We eventually got amongst the coffee plantations on the hills, Colombia is famous for coffee as well as coke! 🙂

There was a small moment where I thought I had lost my new found friends not long afterwards. We were coming up a hill with a left hand corner, reasonably fast and at the top there was a bus just about stopped, the usual trick was to pass on the left which they tried, they were in front, but the left lane was closed and they then had to anchor real quick, running into the dirt and nearly collecting the curb and flipping over the edge, before finally coming to a stop behind the bus and not on it! That was a sticky moment, but it all turned out OK in the end 🙂 We stopped soon after this at a sausage palace, where they had a BBQ snag, I just had a drink and we discussed the silly moment, they were fine, normal down here it seems. Once again, not long after the break and we were back on the road, we were stopped by the police, this time they checked all my papers and inspected my tool tubes, for drugs I suppose, it turned out all right and one of them even posed for a photo 🙂

Soon afterwards a bit further down the road, we went through a large town with a big bridge and snarled up traffic, caused by of all things, a horse drawn cart on the main road and the usual taxi stopped anywhere to pick up drop off passengers 😕

About 10 minutes later they pointed at a village on a hilltop ridge and said Salento that way, nice chaps and fun to ride with, we swapped email address and parted, nice meeting you chaps, rubber side down 🙂

I then had to negotiate some more tight twisties to the village on the ridge, it looked great and after riding round the main square the wrong way looking for a hotel, and being honked at by a cop car to get me to turn around and go the other way, I eventually had the help of a young boy who showed me a hostel place with secure parking.

After the gear was stowed I went and found an internet cafe, as there was none in the hostel and updated some emails and my blogspot location. Here was where I met Aiden and Amy from New Zealand, they were waiting for a bus to head south, so I may see them in the future as they were also going to Ushuaia.

They gave me some advice on pubs and food and I was soon having a beer at the violet pub where there is a fight every night apparently, violet and violence, maybe they should change its colour 🙂 The beer was different and tasted quite nice, another to add to my collection.

I only had the one before heading up for a feed at Lucy’s and a different beer, to tell the truth I was not that impressed by the trout, nor the stuff that came with it, but I was feeling crook so maybe that had something to do with it.

The beer was nice though and so were the lights in the square when I headed back. I needed a nanny nap and was not in the mood for drinking, I know, sacrilege, but there you go, I needed a rest 🙂

After a short nap, I decided on a nice long hot shower and ended up staying indoors writing up a few days blog, ready to post at the internet cafe tomorrow morning. So, all in all a good day, even if I was feeling bad, that will go away eventually 🙂

Day 157 miles and 253 km
Trip – 44,207 miles and 71,144 km



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