Bucaramanga partner

3 week Colombia itinerary

2019.07.03 22:21 pug1234 3 week Colombia itinerary

Hello everyone! I am in the stages of planning a trip to Colombia this Sept/Oct. I feel super overwhelmed with all the country has to offer and would love some help on my tentative itinerary. Nothing is booked yet so this could all change. I feel like its rushed, but I don't know what to cut. I will be travelling with my partner. We are experienced travellers but this is our first time in South America (have travelled extensively throughout Asia and Europe). We are in our early 30s, enjoy hiking, trying new foods, having a drink or two but not lots of partying, outdoor activities etc. We are pretty laid back and easy going.
Day 1 - Arrive in Bogota at 940pm
Day 2 – Bogota
Day 3 – Bogota (day trip)
Day 4 – Bogota to Bucaramanga (fly) Bucaramanga to Barichara (bus)
Day 5 - Barichara
Day 6 – Barichara to Bucaramanga (bus) Bucaramanga to Santa Marta (fly)
Day 7 – Santa Marta to Minca
Day 8 - Minca
Day 9 – Minca to Cartagena (bus)
Day 10 - Cartagena
Day 11 – Cartagena to Mucura Island (boat)
Day 12 – Mucura Island
Day 13 – Mucura Island
Day 14 – Mucura Island to Cartagena (boat), Cartagena to Medellin (fly)
Day 15 - Medellin
Day 16 – Medellin (daytrip)
Day 17 – Medellin to Jardin (bus)
Day 18 - Jardin
Day 19 – Jardin to Salento
Day 20 – Coffee region
Day 21 – Coffee region
Day 22 – Coffee region
Day 23 – Salento to Pereria (bus) Pereria to Bogota (fly)
Day 24 – Bogota to Lima
I guess I feel like a lot of our plan so far involves big travel days. I am very interested in seeing colonial towns in Colombia and doing little hikes here and there. I also want a couple days to just chill out on the beach and relax. I enjoy being in cities, but not rushing around seeing museum after museum. If you have a suggestion on somewhere to cut out because it seems redundant with where we are going, please don't hesitate to suggest it.
Thank you so much for your honest and constructive critiques and advice.
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2019.01.04 00:52 ddyson94 Colombia Feb 7- Feb 14 2019

Hi all! I am looking for some people to climb with while I am in Colombia. I am planning on flying into Bogota and traveling to Bucaramanga. I would love to climb in Suesca and La Mojarra.
I am bringing a 70m rope and quickdraws. I am also happy to bring some trad gear if I have a partner for that.
I lead 5.10-5.11 sport, 5.8-5.9 Trad, V3-V4 bouldering and I have followed up to 5.12
I hope we can do some climbing!!!!!!
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2018.10.02 01:35 jrdnspncrhppr Colombia...maybe more? Probably more

My partner and I are flying into Panama city in early February and then taking the San Blas adventure boat to start our Colombian Adventure which will go something like this:
Sapzurro/Capurgana, Necocli, Cartagena, *Islas Del Rosario...maybe?, Santa Marta, Taganga, Tayrona, Through San Gil, Barichara, Bucaramanga etc to Bogota, Suesca and surrounding area, Fly to Leticia, Boat to Iquitos, Boat to Coca, Latacunga, Quilatoa loop, Banos etc, Quito, Manta, Monte Cristi and Puerto Lopez, Galapagos Islands
Back to Quito to fly home unless there's money left in which case...down the coast to Lima and into Bolivia.
We have already gotten plane tickets and things like that handled and have a budget of around 8,500 to 10,000 USD.
What do y'all think? Suggestions, criticisms, comments welcome! If you can make our trip better we for sure want to hear how!
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2015.06.16 04:23 payne007 Adventures of a Canadian hitchhiking in Colombia

Note: I have been hitchhiking from Montreal to northern Alaska, and then started heading for Patagonia. It has now been 13 months I have left my home in Montreal with this hitchhiking project. I have always hesitated about writing about my travels, but I want to look into what my story is really worth, so I ask for your opinion. This is a very crude, unrevised, text with no other introduction whatsoever than this little note. If I was to write a book, the thing would probably cover all of my hitchhiking adventures (it has now been 5 years that I have been traveling like this, on and off, covering at least 190 000 kms), and provide the readers with insights on how to hitchhike as a different section of the book, and an explanation of the reason why I travel this way. In the meantime, if this interests you, come check us out at /hitchhiking !
Leaving from San Gil was a bit hard: I wanted to hop a truck, but there was no point where they would be slow enough.
I waited at a double curve for providence, and eventually hopped into a truck, but he noticed me right away and stopped to kick me out. Another opportunity presented itself when a truck stopped to let some traffic pass by: I ran to the window and asked if I could ride with him in the back. He accepted.
He dropped me in Los Curos, where I headed toward Los Santos to go at La Mojarra (La Mesa de Los Santos) to do some rock climbing.
Upon arrival, I realized I had to pay 1$ to enter the region, so I decided I would pay and then camp out there without passing the door again. I unfortunately talked a bit too much about my idea to camp illegally out there, and the climbers got the word out, and so as I was walking deeper into the trail, I met some climbers which strongly suggested that I should leave. I followed them out, and then started walking away from this place. I finally stopped at a house to ask if I could camp in their yard.
I woke up the next day, gave the family some garlic and oil which I would not need, and waited in front of their door for a lift. A rock-hauler finally stopped and brought me all the way to the highway-intersection for Malaga.
From there, I waited again for a ride, and a car finally stopped. I rode with them for something like 4 or 5 hours until we finally reached Malaga. I gladly donated 2$ to help them fix their car (some plate got fucked up on the way there).
They dropped me in the town at night, and so I started walking around to find a cheap meal, and then walked back toward the exit of the town. On the way, a guy talked to me with a few English words (a good indicator of someone that will be willing to host!), and so I asked him if I could stay at his home. He walked me over there, I showered, and we talked for a while. A great night of sleep in a warm bed. The next day, he showed me around the town to make my groceries and then brought me to the exit where I could hitch out, and told me I could crash in if I ever passed by again.
From there, I got picked up by the same guy I donated 2$ and he brought me to another town further down the road (karma-hit!), from where some other car picked me up because they had seen me hitching back where the other guy picked me up.
They talked to me about their idea of creating a charity which would help Colombians to get a scholarship in Canada and so I helped them out by providing whatever information I could and by giving them my contact info so that they could eventually ask me more questions.
They dropped me at Capitanejo, where there is an entry to the National Park of El Cocuy, which was my destination.
After 40 minutes wait, a rock-hauler finally passed by, and stopped. He brought me 5 kms further down the road. I waited another 40 minutes into a scorching hot desert before a truck finally passed. He gave me a lift all the way to Cataravita, but had to take a 2 hours long detour to San Mateo because of some construction in the dirt road we were using. I did not know that San Mateo was actually a faster way to get to my destination, and apparently he did not neither because he brought me all the way to Cataravita knowing that I wanted to get to El Cocuy. From there, I waited 3 hours at some little shop, talking to locals, before someone finally explained to me why there was no traffic at all: the bridge to El Espino had been destroyed 5 days ago, and so no one uses this way. While waiting, they shared bread, corn, and coffee with me, and I shared my granola.
2 hours later, a bus passes by, and so I ceased the opportunity and dealt the price down from 18 000 pesos to 7 000. He brought me to Chiscas, where I arrived at night. I walked up to the military station to ask if I could pitch my tent in the park in front of their post, and after doing a search in my backpack and making me wait for 2 hours, they finally accepted. One of them gave me a juice and some sweet-breads.
They told me the bus for El Espino from here would leave at 4 AM. Having no alarm clock, that was kind of a problem. At 3:50, I heard the truck running its motors, so I ran out of the tent and asked him to wait for me. I undid the tent and everything and ran into the bus just in time, to then ask him if he was going to El Espino, to which he replied there was no way to get there from here... so I simply got out, walked back to the park, and slept without my tent in front of the military post again, up until 6 AM, where I was told some milk-man would leave for there. When I heard his truck running, I once again ran out and asked him if he could give me a ride, but he said he would only leave at 10 PM. So I went back to sleep for another hour, discouraged and feeling stuck out there (this region of Colombia is said to be dangerous, and there is not very much traffic because it is way deep into the mountains).
I finally woke up to walk out of town and try my luck at hitching. On the way out, I am told a mail-man can do the run for 2$. I decided not to wait the 2 hours, and to just walk onto the dirt-road. After 30 minutes, an onion seller finally stopped for me.
There was indeed a way to El Espino. I think the bus driver just did not like me because I had dealt down his price so heavily. Or maybe it is just because this is Latin America: where you almost never can be certain that what someone says is truth or not, even though they might be saying they are sure about it.
When we arrived, they sellers asked for money, so I gave them a small amount, even though I thought it would be free, and simply quickly walked away before they would start complaining.
From El Espino, there is finally a bit more traffic, so hitching got easier. Walking toward the exit, 2 persons told me the bus was leaving, but I said I did not want to pay. 2 minutes after the bus drove away, and as I was walking down the highway, some motorcyclist stopped next to me to ask me where I was headed (I did not have my thumb out). He gave me a lift all the way to El Cocuy.
From there, getting to the National Park is another 22 kms up a steep dirt-road. People said there would be no traffic until the bus passing at 6 AM the next day. I did not believe them, and started walking up the highway, after being told I had to register before entered the park (the registration costed like 25$), which I obviously did not do.
Walking up the town, I jumped into the back of a gas-deliverer for up until he turned around to get back toward the downtown area. I walked up some more and finally sat on my backpack to eat breakfast (banana and granola). As I was eating, a car passed and I jumped to my feet to lift my thumb up. He stopped and gave me a ride for something like 7 kms. Then, he dropped me in front of his remote house, and I sat again to finish breakfast. Once again, before finishing, a truck passed, and gave me a ride. This time, it was someone working for the park.
He was going all the way to Lagunillas, which is at the very entrance of the park limits. At some point he asked me if I had my registration, and I said yes, and he did not investigate anymore.
From where he dropped me, it was 7 kms before reaching the Control Point where guards look up on people entering the park (there are different entrances, each having its guards). I walked 5 kms before a fruit-truck passed by and stopped for me. As I climbed in the back, he asked me if I had my registration, and I said no, to which he replied it was alright because he was going to a place slightly passed the Control Post, and that they guards would not search his truck.
I hid behind the fruits in the back, and waited for him to tell me we had arrived. Everything ran smoothly, and that is how I entered the park without paying.
From there on, it was something like 9 am. I started walking up the mountain. All I could rely on to guide myself in the park were two pictures I had taken of two different shitty trail drawings. I got lost pretty quickly initially, walking through the different pasture lands of some indigenous living there, but finally found a house with people to whom I asked the way. From there on, it was pretty easy.
I walked up to an altitude of 3 800 or so meters, and set up my camp there. Amazing sunset, with view on an enormous storm happening in the distance, somewhere West of there.
The night was cold as fuck: all I had was a wool blanket that my host in Bogota gave me. I did not sleep much.
The next day, I walked up to the snow-line (4 600 meters, I think). On the way, I met two germans that luckily for me had some food to dispense because I did not have enough to eat properly as I was up there (I have been carrying all the food for this trip from Malaga because I thought shit would be super expensive once I would enter the mountains: bananas, oatmeal, granola, and tuna, pretty much). After that, I got stuck into a hail-storm on the way there, but luckily nature provided me with a natural cave as a shelter. Let me tell you: waiting there for two hours with some cold winds blowing out there, without being able to move much to keep myself warm was quite something. The hail quickly passed, but the rest was rain, and I did not have something waterproof for my legs so walking out there was not the smartest option.
Once I finally decided to get out, there was still great winds with waves of rain, but I think this was just a micro-climate because after an hour of walk orienting myself with the inukshuks, the weather got better, and I could still see the storm behind, raging at the exact same place.
I reached up the snow line to realize it was more of a glacier line than anything else. Walking on there without crampons would have been suicidal, so I turned around and started walking back down.
I hit the storm on the way back, and then got out of it when I arrived at the place where I had slept and hidden my backpack. From there, I packed up some things while watching the colors of the clouds changing to yellowish, which meant night was about to fall. I did not want to spend another night at that altitude, so I just rushed down. Arriving at something like 3 400 meters, I set up camp again. Another cold night with not much sleep awaited me.
The next day, I reached the dirt-road and started walking toward El Cocuy. I walked 6 kms before stoping to eat a bit. Luckily for me, I stopped 300 meters after the house where my lift (and possibly the only car that was going to ride down this mountain until a few hours after that) came from. I paid them 1550 pesos for the service (they asked for 5000, but I explained my situation, as I usually do to deal down the prices of transportation when I need to take one).
From the village, I walked to the market and finally ate a nice warm meal (a soup called mote which is made of water, meat fat, beans, and corn) and bought a bunch of bananas.
Once I reached the highway, a car brought me to the next village, and gave me 10 000 pesos. Then another car gave me a ride almost to Soata, where I would finally be back onto a main highway, away from the mountainous region.
From there, I juggled a bit with rocks while waiting for a ride. A motorcycle again stopped for me without me sticking my thumb out, and drove me all the way to Soata. I remember my sore muscles from riding in the back of the motorcycle in this curvy and steepy road for a long time.
From Soata, walking toward the exit, a man sitting in the street started asking me questions. I implied I was kind of in a rush to try to reach Malaga before sunset (to have a bed for the night), but he would keep asking me questions. Being polite, I would answer and tell him about my story. He finally mentioned that he was the boss of some transportation relay station out there, and that if I would sit around, he would get me into a bus passing through Malaga for free.
He gave me a fried arepa, and then I gave him a donut and a banana later on. Passed sunset, I was really hoping this guy was not full of shit, but everything went smoothly and I got a nice free ride into a first-class bus.
Reaching Malaga, I walked back to the house that had hosted me, and got to score a bed again. We talked about the history of Colombia: very fascinating. In the 80s, the cartels would pay a 1000$ for each cop killed. Open war!
I left the next day, and as I was hitching, a group of kids playing soccer invaded my space and joked around me thinking I could not understand. Upon talking to them, we got to joke around, and they started waving down cars for me. Scored a ride a few kms down the highway, in the middle of nowhere, which was perfect. I walked back toward a zone we had passed with a shittier road, and waited there, knowing the traffic would be slower.
I got picked up pretty quickly, up to the next village. Then, I got stuck there for a very long time: somehow, there was not very much traffic.
A truck finally accepted to pick me up. He was going all the way to Cucuta! The road was shitty, the truck super heavy, and so we drove up this mountain pass at the speed of 10 kms per hour, for many long hours. Breath-taking views, though, once you reach the top.
Once we arrived on the other side, at night, we stopped at a restaurants, and met another trucker passing by and that stopped for a meal. My trucker paid for my meal, and the other one gave me 15 000 pesos!
We reached Pamplona very late, and we were supposed to split there because I was thinking of passing through Bucaramanga to reach Santa Marta, but then he offered to pay for a motel room for me, and I said it would be cheaper for him if we took a room with 2 beds, and that I could wake up at the same time as him to follow up to Cucuta (changing my plans because I thought I would get some extra-hour driving hours done through the night, which would make Cucuta a better way).
He accepted, and kept paying for my meals all the way to Cucuta, where he invited me at his home, and where his family fed me a nice meal before giving me a ride out to a Police Control Point a good 40 minutes out of the city (they were headed this way for the party of the Mothers Day of Colombia). Arriving there, I sympathized with the cops, and asked them to stop a traveling bus for me to ask the drivers if I could ride. They obliged, but the drivers refused. As the cops searched the bus while I was discussing, they actually found that a guy was smuggling contraband clothing. He got kicked out of the bus (the bus had to leave and had no time to wait for the inspection, but they did give him his ticket back to catch the next bus), and I felt pretty bad for that. :(
I nonetheless asked another cop to stop another traveling bus for me, and he obliged as well.
This time, I scored! The guys accepted to bring me to Ocana, a good 3 hours away. They were headed for Cartagena, a city very close to my destination).
They ended up driving me for a good 12 hours up the highway, to Fundation, where our ways would split up.
I got out at 3 AM or so, in an extremely humid and warm night. I asked at the gas station if I could set up my tent, and they accepted.
I woke up the next day, walked back a km to reach a slower traffic point, and after 3 hours trying to talk to cars slowing by, I got discouraged and paid for a bus all the way to Santa Marta. Down to 8 000 pesos from 10 000.
1 400 for a city-bus to reach the house of my CS host. The thing was a bit awkward because I showed him my pictures, somewhat forgetting about my naked picture project, and he then got quite interested in the whole thing. Turned out he is a homosexual that dislikes other homosexuals. He explained to me he only wants straight men. He slip some double-meanings here and there about him being willing with me, but I avoided the subject, and was quite happy when he announced another CSer would show up the next day. I was going to leave, but decided to stay because I knew the situation would be chiller with another guy in here.
I stayed there for 4 days I think. Met some drug dealers down at the coast, and after hanging out with them and counting some stories, 2 of them started coming up to me to talk business. They each wanted me to be part of a cocaine-smuggling industry of theirs. I followed one of them, finding the way he explained his thing to be a bit more serious than the other one.
I basically wasted 4 hours walking around with this guy that was trying to find his other partner to show me some plans and stuff. We separated on good terms, and I said I would meet back up with him the next day, and he said he would bring concrete stuff to show me.
The next day, I just ditched him because it seemed to me like something too sketchy that could very well be a trap.
Leaving Santa Marta at around 2 PM, I took a bus to Cienaga for 2 500, to leave the big city because they are always a bitch to hitch. From there, I started walking and quickly found a truck to hop. I was super happy because I thought most of the trucks would be going at least a good 7 hours my way. I was wrong: the people directing me were wrong about saying that I had already passed the junction where people can also head further north on the coast.
After 30 minutes, the truck stopped at a gas station, and so I hopped out and asked where I was. I was headed the wrong way. I ended up paying a personal driver a 1 000 pesos to bring me back to Cienaga. From there, I walked and walked to try to find a slower traffic (people kept saying it was ''close''... fuckers!). I ended up passing by a mango tree, so I picked a few. Some guy came out of nowhere asking me what I was doing on his property. I was apologizing and giving him back his mangos, when he started moving himself in between me and the road, and asking for a pair of pants from my backpack. I said I had nothing for him. He grabbed my arm and repeated, and so I strongly pushed back his arm, and ran toward the highway. Once there, I walked into the highway to stop cars, but none would give a shit (I guess they were scared of the robber walking behind me a few meters away).
I got lucky that a motorcyclist turned nearby of me to enter his property. I yelled at him, and he helped me out. Gave me a ride to a reductor de velocidad. At that moment, it's now dark.
The guy selling stuff to drivers at that spot gave me some more tricks about truck hopping.
I finally caught a nice truck. In between the cab and the trailer, I sat and waited, looking at the white line. At some point, he opened a light I did not know existed: it shun right on me. Somehow he still did not notice I was there. About 30 minutes later, he noticed me, opened his door, and yelled at me.
Luckily, he noticed me as he was passing on one of those reductor de velocidad (they call them policia acostada here in Colombia, which means ''police lying on the ground''). I just waited there and talked to some locals, before one of them pointed to me a good truck to hop. As it passed by, he kept encouraging me: ''Suve! Suve!''. For that one, I hopped on the back of the trailer. It provided me with a lot more space than usual, and was nicely comfortable. During the ride, one of the trucks we passed did not like me and started flashing his laser pointer all around to get the attention of my driver, but nothing happened. However, an hour later, the truck stopped at a truck-stop kind of place. I hopped out before it came to a stop, and walked to the restaurant to ask for the hour.
As I walked back to start asking truckers if I could get a ride, I met up with a pair that were headed toward a truck. I asked them where they were headed, and the whole thing, but they would not pick me up. After, I asked what was the baseball bat the partner was holding up for, and he replied that its to defend the truck from assaulters. I asked if a truck hopper would be considered an assaulter, and he implied that most probably, yes.
As our conversation ended, a security guy walked up from nowhere and told me that if I wanted to get to Bucaramanga, I should go ask to the truck that was leaving at this very moment. I ran up to it, hanging by the mirror, knocking on the window, asking for a ride. They accepted after a faint excuse that the cops do not like it, which I brushed off by saying that cops really did not care.
I rode on the trailer which was empty, except for the folded tarps on which I sat (thank god they were there to provide some cushioning to my poor ass). The trailer had no suspension whatsoever, and every bump was felt. I also did not have much to grip on. Eventually, they stopped, and the partner with him walked away. The other one threw a bag on the trailer, which was filled with tea bags, and a lighter. I picked it up and put it into my bag. He launched off again, before stopping an hour later at another stop, asking me if I could come ride with him to wake him up a bit by talking with him.
Now, this being northern Colombia, the weather outside is basically super hot and humid, even though its the night. As I entered the cab, a wave of overly cold air hit me up.
He bought me some coffee along the way, and then we arrived a bit before Bucaramanga, where he parked at a car-wash station to wash his newly acquired used-truck (a donation from a friend, which he was driving back to his home). It was about 5 AM. We slept inside the cab, waiting for them to finish. About an hour later, he wakes me up, and invites me for breakfast at the restaurant in front.
Then he brought me to his truck-station, dropped me there, and asked a guy to help me out get the bus to Piedecuesta, after which he gave me the 2 000 pesos it would cost me.
In the bus, I started talking to an old man, asking where he thought I should get out. He recommended 3 kms before the end of the line of the bus, which I listened to, but regretted. Traffic was fast, and I was far from the end of the town.
I asked some garbage-bag loaders if I could get a ride, but they were turning around. I started walking, before realizing, due to my thirst, that I had forgotten the water bottle in the bus, due to my haste to leave based on the recommendation of the old man.
I started walking, and refused to buy a water bottle. On the way down the highway, Providence provided me with a filled water bottle thrown on the side of the highway.
I walked up for a while, before finally arriving at a spot where the police where stopping the traffic. I waited a little 5 minutes, chilling out, before a nice bin-hauler passed by. They stopped him without me asking them for anything, and as they were asking them questions, I simply started climbing up the back to sneak in. As they started back up, I was still climbing, and I looked back at the police, which were basically just laughing, looking at me.
The truck stopped a few minutes later, at some restaurant entrance. I quickly got out, and said thank you for the ride. Then I walked to Los Curos, where I had been before, and hitched at a spot where I thought people would slow down. By that time, I had written ''San Gil'', my destination, on the inside of my right arm, with which I was hitchhiking.
A pineapple-hauler passed by me and slowed down. I was already running in the back to hop in when I noticed that, but then they came to a stop, which generally means they saw you and denied you the access to the ride, so I started walking back to my hitching spot before looking back and seeing that a family that was waving them down a few meters from me was getting in: it had stopped for them! I ran back to the back of the truck and climbed in, while other families waiting there were having a childish smile stuck onto their face as they were watching me get in.
I finished getting in the truck, but after an hour or so, they stopped at a random fruit-vending place where I thought they would come in the back to lift some pineapples out of there to sell them. I quickly snuck out and started walking away without looking back. Walking back toward the spot a few minutes later, they were gone. I had been thumb hitching, but the spot was not particularly nice. I bought a bunch of mandarines, and then started walking toward a little restaurant a bit further down the curvy highway. A few meters into my walk, someone stopped for me! Some ingenor-transporter, as he called himself. He was going all the way to San Gil.
He dropped me there, and I walked straight to the hostel that had hosted me for free the other time I was there (a CouchSurfing host). I entered and asked if they could have me over for a night. After discussing about it, since it was high-season and they were almost full, they denied me the favor. I thanked them, and walked away to keep hitching toward my next spot: Suesca, where I had already been as well.
On the way out, I asked a bunch of people to know if there was a nice reductor de velocidad up ahead. They all said yes, but it turned out to be a lie... They said it was at the entrance of the next pueblo, for which I paid the 400 pesos to not bother with the long walk. I arrived there and got pissed at the ignorance of the people to whom I ask those questions: can not they simply accept that they do not know, instead of stating that they know something for a fact? Oh well! I talked to other people asking the same question, and they said the same thing, so I started walking while hitching. A guy eventually stopped saying he had seen me as he was passing through San Gil.
He drove me to Socorro, and dropped me there as the night was falling. I walked around to find the slowest traffic spot, but figured this place would be more about luck. Nothing happen until nightfall, at which time I decided to ask the military base where I could safely set up my tent. I ended up setting it up right in between the sidewalk and the highway, protected by 2 trees from eventual traffic crashes. The night sucked due to loud trucks passing a meter away from me, but aside from that, at least I was safe.
The next day, I woke up and started walking up the highway, until I found a minor bump which did not really slow the traffic in any way. I sat on the side of the highway and started eating my bread and banana, in the shade, lazily lifting my thumb up from time to time. A woman passed by and gave me a mango, which turned out to be infested by maggots. Oh well, the intention was there!
After a good 30 minutes staying there, cursing my situation, I decided to walk into the heat of the sun to find a better spot, to discover another minor bump just on the other side of the curve, 20 meters away. I stopped there, removed my backpack, and started getting out my sun-hat when I heard a truck slowly driving up the highway. I knew it would probably be a slow one, so I quickly picked up my backpack, and acted as a gringo putting his hat before continuing to walk on toward the truck. As it passed me by, I did a fast turn-around and imposed myself in-between the car following the truck and the truck itself. I ran as fast as I could to slowly gain some terrain over the back of the trailer. Once my fingers reached the trailer, I gripped on the hole there, and jumped to get my feet onto the little steps in the back. I got myself up onto the trailer, and sat there, enjoying the ride, and looking at the funny faces of people passing by.
I ended up realizing I could hide myself from the heat by chilling inside some of the tubes the truck was hauling, and it also provided me a more hidden shelter from the view of the truck-diver (you have to keep in mind that in curves, the cab often rotates, which changes the point of view of the mirrors and generally end up giving the driver a view of its trailer).
I rode this truck for a long time, before at one of the multiple construction stops we hit, he pulled the trailer brakes (they make a distinguished air-releasing sound which you should learn to recognize), which means he thinks he is going to get stuck there for a long time. I did not realize that at some point he got out of the cab to do one of those wheels-check run where they walk all around the truck to look for air-leaks. As he passed by the back the trailer, he saw, and laughed, then mentioned I should be careful not to fall, and walked away. I stuck my head out after a few seconds, asking him where he was headed. Sogamosa! Another bunch of time before I need to get out, and he was headed the right way (for my own destination) down the separation of highways which could have led him toward Bogota, the destination I supposed he had.
Once he stopped at a peaje, I jumped on the ground, ran up to the cab, and told him he should drop me in Tunja, as I was looking to go toward Bogota.
He slowed down into a round-about and waved at me to indicate I had to get out there. I slipped on my backpack, hung myself down the back of the trailer, again with the feet in those little steps and the hangs grabbing the holes. Judging the speed to be fair, I jumped out, thumbed up the guy, and started walking toward my destination. A bit before, we had passed two trucks which were slower than him, so I decided to wait at the proper exit for Bogota. One of them turned for Sogamosa as well, and the other one was headed for Bogota but drove by too fast.
I walked up to the first traffic light I saw, and started asking around on the red lights. After 45 minutes and no truck passing by, I got discouraged. I flagged down a bus, which brought me to the Terminal for free (a few hundred meters down the road), where I tried to beg for a cheap ride to the next peaje, where the traffic always stops. No one wanted to take it as cheap as I wanted it, so I just walked out toward the next street light. That one proved to be awesome: it had a timer, which showed me that the Green lasted 20 seconds, and the Red, 60! I started asking around, to no avail. Then I saw an opportunity to jump into a small truck stopped at the red. I should have asked them instead of simply waiting behind them for the light to turn green... as it turned green, I heard them yell, and so I walked away.
Finally some car-hauler stopped at the light, and I asked them for the ride. They accepted, and got me to sit in the trunk of one of the cars. A minute after taking off, we got intercepted by the police. I think someone called them in because they had seen me trying to sneak into that first truck, and saw me drive off into a car-hauler, assuming I did not ask.
Finally, the cops understood the guys were making me a favor, and let us go. 20 minutes later, they stopped at a restaurant and invited me. I counted my story, and then off we went!
They dropped at an hour walk from my destination. Once I arrived, I started asking around for anyone knowing the CouchSurfing host I was supposed to meet. I ran into some friends, and they called her. They lifted me to her house. She hosted me. The next day, I looked up my CS messages and realized she had said after, and not before, the 20th June. Oops! Oh well, the friends had called another CSer which agreed to host me if I called him. I called him at 8 pm, but then said I had to call earlier, and that he would host me the next day if I called in early enough.
So now here I am, hosted for a second night in a row by this nice Venezuelan woman, writing on one of her friends' computer.
I guess I would appreciate constructive comments about how to improve my writing so as to make it more interesting?
For reference, this covers approximately 2 weeks of travel in Colombia. I might write about the first two weeks in Colombia, and transit with a flash-back into Panama, later on, in another post, if I get the motivation to do it.
submitted by payne007 to travel [link] [comments]


2015.06.15 20:21 payne007 Story time!

EDIT: Whoever was waiting for the completed version can now rest in peace. I am done editing this post.
Note: Sorry if it is long. Whoever has been reading what I post has probably noticed I like to write about many details.
Leaving from San Gil was a bit hard: I wanted to hop a truck, but there was no point where they would be slow enough.
I waited at a double curve for providence, and eventually hopped into a truck, but he noticed me right away and stopped to kick me out. Another opportunity presented itself when a truck stopped to let some traffic pass by: I ran to the window and asked if I could ride with him in the back. He accepted.
He dropped me in Los Curos, where I headed toward Los Santos to go at La Mojarra (La Mesa de Los Santos) to do some rock climbing.
Upon arrival, I realized I had to pay 1$ to enter the region, so I decided I would pay and then camp out there without passing the door again. I unfortunately talked a bit too much about my idea to camp illegally out there, and the climbers got the word out, and so as I was walking deeper into the trail, I met some climbers which strongly suggested that I should leave. I followed them out, and then started walking away from this place. I finally stopped at a house to ask if I could camp in their yard.
I woke up the next day, gave the family some garlic and oil which I would not need, and waited in front of their door for a lift. A rock-hauler finally stopped and brought me all the way to the highway-intersection for Malaga.
From there, I waited again for a ride, and a car finally stopped. I rode with them for something like 4 or 5 hours until we finally reached Malaga. I gladly donated 2$ to help them fix their car (some plate got fucked up on the way there).
They dropped me in the town at night, and so I started walking around to find a cheap meal, and then walked back toward the exit of the town. On the way, a guy talked to me with a few English words (a good indicator of someone that will be willing to host!), and so I asked him if I could stay at his home. He walked me over there, I showered, and we talked for a while. A great night of sleep in a warm bed. The next day, he showed me around the town to make my groceries and then brought me to the exit where I could hitch out, and told me I could crash in if I ever passed by again.
From there, I got picked up by the same guy I donated 2$ and he brought me to another town further down the road (karma-hit!), from where some other car picked me up because they had seen me hitching back where the other guy picked me up.
They talked to me about their idea of creating a charity which would help Colombians to get a scholarship in Canada and so I helped them out by providing whatever information I could and by giving them my contact info so that they could eventually ask me more questions.
They dropped me at Capitanejo, where there is an entry to the National Park of El Cocuy, which was my destination.
After 40 minutes wait, a rock-hauler finally passed by, and stopped. He brought me 5 kms further down the road. I waited another 40 minutes into a scorching hot desert before a truck finally passed. He gave me a lift all the way to Cataravita, but had to take a 2 hours long detour to San Mateo because of some construction in the dirt road we were using. I did not know that San Mateo was actually a faster way to get to my destination, and apparently he did not neither because he brought me all the way to Cataravita knowing that I wanted to get to El Cocuy. From there, I waited 3 hours at some little shop, talking to locals, before someone finally explained to me why there was no traffic at all: the bridge to El Espino had been destroyed 5 days ago, and so no one uses this way. While waiting, they shared bread, corn, and coffee with me, and I shared my granola.
2 hours later, a bus passes by, and so I ceased the opportunity and dealt the price down from 18 000 pesos to 7 000. He brought me to Chiscas, where I arrived at night. I walked up to the military station to ask if I could pitch my tent in the park in front of their post, and after doing a search in my backpack and making me wait for 2 hours, they finally accepted. One of them gave me a juice and some sweet-breads.
They told me the bus for El Espino from here would leave at 4 AM. Having no alarm clock, that was kind of a problem. At 3:50, I heard the truck running its motors, so I ran out of the tent and asked him to wait for me. I undid the tent and everything and ran into the bus just in time, to then ask him if he was going to El Espino, to which he replied there was no way to get there from here... so I simply got out, walked back to the park, and slept without my tent in front of the military post again, up until 6 AM, where I was told some milk-man would leave for there. When I heard his truck running, I once again ran out and asked him if he could give me a ride, but he said he would only leave at 10 PM. So I went back to sleep for another hour, discouraged and feeling stuck out there (this region of Colombia is said to be dangerous, and there is not very much traffic because it is way deep into the mountains).
I finally woke up to walk out of town and try my luck at hitching. On the way out, I am told a mail-man can do the run for 2$. I decided not to wait the 2 hours, and to just walk onto the dirt-road. After 30 minutes, an onion seller finally stopped for me.
There was indeed a way to El Espino. I think the bus driver just did not like me because I had dealt down his price so heavily. Or maybe it is just because this is Latin America: where you almost never can be certain that what someone says is truth or not, even though they might be saying they are sure about it.
When we arrived, they sellers asked for money, so I gave them a small amount, even though I thought it would be free, and simply quickly walked away before they would start complaining.
From El Espino, there is finally a bit more traffic, so hitching got easier. Walking toward the exit, 2 persons told me the bus was leaving, but I said I did not want to pay. 2 minutes after the bus drove away, and as I was walking down the highway, some motorcyclist stopped next to me to ask me where I was headed (I did not have my thumb out). He gave me a lift all the way to El Cocuy.
From there, getting to the National Park is another 22 kms up a steep dirt-road. People said there would be no traffic until the bus passing at 6 AM the next day. I did not believe them, and started walking up the highway, after being told I had to register before entered the park (the registration costed like 25$), which I obviously did not do.
Walking up the town, I jumped into the back of a gas-deliverer for up until he turned around to get back toward the downtown area. I walked up some more and finally sat on my backpack to eat breakfast (banana and granola). As I was eating, a car passed and I jumped to my feet to lift my thumb up. He stopped and gave me a ride for something like 7 kms. Then, he dropped me in front of his remote house, and I sat again to finish breakfast. Once again, before finishing, a truck passed, and gave me a ride. This time, it was someone working for the park.
He was going all the way to Lagunillas, which is at the very entrance of the park limits. At some point he asked me if I had my registration, and I said yes, and he did not investigate anymore.
From where he dropped me, it was 7 kms before reaching the Control Point where guards look up on people entering the park (there are different entrances, each having its guards). I walked 5 kms before a fruit-truck passed by and stopped for me. As I climbed in the back, he asked me if I had my registration, and I said no, to which he replied it was alright because he was going to a place slightly passed the Control Post, and that they guards would not search his truck.
I hid behind the fruits in the back, and waited for him to tell me we had arrived. Everything ran smoothly, and that is how I entered the park without paying.
From there on, it was something like 9 am. I started walking up the mountain. All I could rely on to guide myself in the park were two pictures I had taken of two different shitty trail drawings. I got lost pretty quickly initially, walking through the different pasture lands of some indigenous living there, but finally found a house with people to whom I asked the way. From there on, it was pretty easy.
I walked up to an altitude of 3 800 or so meters, and set up my camp there. Amazing sunset, with view on an enormous storm happening in the distance, somewhere West of there.
The night was cold as fuck: all I had was a wool blanket that my host in Bogota gave me. I did not sleep much.
The next day, I walked up to the snow-line (4 600 meters, I think). On the way, I met two germans that luckily for me had some food to dispense because I did not have enough to eat properly as I was up there (I have been carrying all the food for this trip from Malaga because I thought shit would be super expensive once I would enter the mountains: bananas, oatmeal, granola, and tuna, pretty much). After that, I got stuck into a hail-storm on the way there, but luckily nature provided me with a natural cave as a shelter. Let me tell you: waiting there for two hours with some cold winds blowing out there, without being able to move much to keep myself warm was quite something. The hail quickly passed, but the rest was rain, and I did not have something waterproof for my legs so walking out there was not the smartest option.
Once I finally decided to get out, there was still great winds with waves of rain, but I think this was just a micro-climate because after an hour of walk orienting myself with the inukshuks, the weather got better, and I could still see the storm behind, raging at the exact same place.
I reached up the snow line to realize it was more of a glacier line than anything else. Walking on there without crampons would have been suicidal, so I turned around and started walking back down.
I hit the storm on the way back, and then got out of it when I arrived at the place where I had slept and hidden my backpack. From there, I packed up some things while watching the colors of the clouds changing to yellowish, which meant night was about to fall. I did not want to spend another night at that altitude, so I just rushed down. Arriving at something like 3 400 meters, I set up camp again. Another cold night with not much sleep awaited me.
The next day, I reached the dirt-road and started walking toward El Cocuy. I walked 6 kms before stoping to eat a bit. Luckily for me, I stopped 300 meters after the house where my lift (and possibly the only car that was going to ride down this mountain until a few hours after that) came from. I paid them 1550 pesos for the service (they asked for 5000, but I explained my situation, as I usually do to deal down the prices of transportation when I need to take one).
From the village, I walked to the market and finally ate a nice warm meal (a soup called mote which is made of water, meat fat, beans, and corn) and bought a bunch of bananas.
Once I reached the highway, a car brought me to the next village, and gave me 10 000 pesos. Then another car gave me a ride almost to Soata, where I would finally be back onto a main highway, away from the mountainous region.
From there, I juggled a bit with rocks while waiting for a ride. A motorcycle again stopped for me without me sticking my thumb out, and drove me all the way to Soata. I remember my sore muscles from riding in the back of the motorcycle in this curvy and steepy road for a long time.
From Soata, walking toward the exit, a man sitting in the street started asking me questions. I implied I was kind of in a rush to try to reach Malaga before sunset (to have a bed for the night), but he would keep asking me questions. Being polite, I would answer and tell him about my story. He finally mentioned that he was the boss of some transportation relay station out there, and that if I would sit around, he would get me into a bus passing through Malaga for free.
He gave me a fried arepa, and then I gave him a donut and a banana later on. Passed sunset, I was really hoping this guy was not full of shit, but everything went smoothly and I got a nice free ride into a first-class bus.
Reaching Malaga, I walked back to the house that had hosted me, and got to score a bed again. We talked about the history of Colombia: very fascinating. In the 80s, the cartels would pay a 1000$ for each cop killed. Open war!
I left the next day, and as I was hitching, a group of kids playing soccer invaded my space and joked around me thinking I could not understand. Upon talking to them, we got to joke around, and they started waving down cars for me. Scored a ride a few kms down the highway, in the middle of nowhere, which was perfect. I walked back toward a zone we had passed with a shittier road, and waited there, knowing the traffic would be slower.
I got picked up pretty quickly, up to the next village. Then, I got stuck there for a very long time: somehow, there was not very much traffic.
A truck finally accepted to pick me up. He was going all the way to Cucuta! The road was shitty, the truck super heavy, and so we drove up this mountain pass at the speed of 10 kms per hour, for many long hours. Breath-taking views, though, once you reach the top.
Once we arrived on the other side, at night, we stopped at a restaurants, and met another trucker passing by and that stopped for a meal. My trucker paid for my meal, and the other one gave me 15 000 pesos!
We reached Pamplona very late, and we were supposed to split there because I was thinking of passing through Bucaramanga to reach Santa Marta, but then he offered to pay for a motel room for me, and I said it would be cheaper for him if we took a room with 2 beds, and that I could wake up at the same time as him to follow up to Cucuta (changing my plans because I thought I would get some extra-hour driving hours done through the night, which would make Cucuta a better way).
He accepted, and kept paying for my meals all the way to Cucuta, where he invited me at his home, and where his family fed me a nice meal before giving me a ride out to a Police Control Point a good 40 minutes out of the city (they were headed this way for the party of the Mothers Day of Colombia). Arriving there, I sympathized with the cops, and asked them to stop a traveling bus for me to ask the drivers if I could ride. They obliged, but the drivers refused. As the cops searched the bus while I was discussing, they actually found that a guy was smuggling contraband clothing. He got kicked out of the bus (the bus had to leave and had no time to wait for the inspection, but they did give him his ticket back to catch the next bus), and I felt pretty bad for that. :(
I nonetheless asked another cop to stop another traveling bus for me, and he obliged as well.
This time, I scored! The guys accepted to bring me to Ocana, a good 3 hours away. They were headed for Cartagena, a city very close to my destination).
They ended up driving me for a good 12 hours up the highway, to Fundation, where our ways would split up.
I got out at 3 AM or so, in an extremely humid and warm night. I asked at the gas station if I could set up my tent, and they accepted.
I woke up the next day, walked back a km to reach a slower traffic point, and after 3 hours trying to talk to cars slowing by, I got discouraged and paid for a bus all the way to Santa Marta. Down to 8 000 pesos from 10 000.
1 400 for a city-bus to reach the house of my CS host. The thing was a bit awkward because I showed him my pictures, somewhat forgetting about my naked picture project, and he then got quite interested in the whole thing. Turned out he is a homosexual that dislikes other homosexuals. He explained to me he only wants straight men. He slip some double-meanings here and there about him being willing with me, but I avoided the subject, and was quite happy when he announced another CSer would show up the next day. I was going to leave, but decided to stay because I knew the situation would be chiller with another guy in here.
I stayed there for 4 days I think. Met some drug dealers down at the coast, and after hanging out with them and counting some stories, 2 of them started coming up to me to talk business. They each wanted me to be part of a cocaine-smuggling industry of theirs. I followed one of them, finding the way he explained his thing to be a bit more serious than the other one.
I basically wasted 4 hours walking around with this guy that was trying to find his other partner to show me some plans and stuff. We separated on good terms, and I said I would meet back up with him the next day, and he said he would bring concrete stuff to show me.
The next day, I just ditched him because it seemed to me like something too sketchy that could very well be a trap.
Leaving Santa Marta at around 2 PM, I took a bus to Cienaga for 2 500, to leave the big city because they are always a bitch to hitch. From there, I started walking and quickly found a truck to hop. I was super happy because I thought most of the trucks would be going at least a good 7 hours my way. I was wrong: the people directing me were wrong about saying that I had already passed the junction where people can also head further north on the coast.
After 30 minutes, the truck stopped at a gas station, and so I hopped out and asked where I was. I was headed the wrong way. I ended up paying a personal driver a 1 000 pesos to bring me back to Cienaga. From there, I walked and walked to try to find a slower traffic (people kept saying it was ''close''... fuckers!). I ended up passing by a mango tree, so I picked a few. Some guy came out of nowhere asking me what I was doing on his property. I was apologizing and giving him back his mangos, when he started moving himself in between me and the road, and asking for a pair of pants from my backpack. I said I had nothing for him. He grabbed my arm and repeated, and so I strongly pushed back his arm, and ran toward the highway. Once there, I walked into the highway to stop cars, but none would give a shit (I guess they were scared of the robber walking behind me a few meters away).
I got lucky that a motorcyclist turned nearby of me to enter his property. I yelled at him, and he helped me out. Gave me a ride to a reductor de velocidad. At that moment, it's now dark.
The guy selling stuff to drivers at that spot gave me some more tricks about truck hopping.
I finally caught a nice truck. In between the cab and the trailer, I sat and waited, looking at the white line. At some point, he opened a light I did not know existed: it shun right on me. Somehow he still did not notice I was there. About 30 minutes later, he noticed me, opened his door, and yelled at me.
Luckily, he noticed me as he was passing on one of those reductor de velocidad (they call them policia acostada here in Colombia, which means ''police lying on the ground''). I just waited there and talked to some locals, before one of them pointed to me a good truck to hop. As it passed by, he kept encouraging me: ''Suve! Suve!''. For that one, I hopped on the back of the trailer. It provided me with a lot more space than usual, and was nicely comfortable. During the ride, one of the trucks we passed did not like me and started flashing his laser pointer all around to get the attention of my driver, but nothing happened. However, an hour later, the truck stopped at a truck-stop kind of place. I hopped out before it came to a stop, and walked to the restaurant to ask for the hour.
As I walked back to start asking truckers if I could get a ride, I met up with a pair that were headed toward a truck. I asked them where they were headed, and the whole thing, but they would not pick me up. After, I asked what was the baseball bat the partner was holding up for, and he replied that its to defend the truck from assaulters. I asked if a truck hopper would be considered an assaulter, and he implied that most probably, yes.
As our conversation ended, a security guy walked up from nowhere and told me that if I wanted to get to Bucaramanga, I should go ask to the truck that was leaving at this very moment. I ran up to it, hanging by the mirror, knocking on the window, asking for a ride. They accepted after a faint excuse that the cops do not like it, which I brushed off by saying that cops really did not care.
I rode on the trailer which was empty, except for the folded tarps on which I sat (thank god they were there to provide some cushioning to my poor ass). The trailer had no suspension whatsoever, and every bump was felt. I also did not have much to grip on. Eventually, they stopped, and the partner with him walked away. The other one threw a bag on the trailer, which was filled with tea bags, and a lighter. I picked it up and put it into my bag. He launched off again, before stopping an hour later at another stop, asking me if I could come ride with him to wake him up a bit by talking with him.
Now, this being northern Colombia, the weather outside is basically super hot and humid, even though its the night. As I entered the cab, a wave of overly cold air hit me up.
He bought me some coffee along the way, and then we arrived a bit before Bucaramanga, where he parked at a car-wash station to wash his newly acquired used-truck (a donation from a friend, which he was driving back to his home). It was about 5 AM. We slept inside the cab, waiting for them to finish. About an hour later, he wakes me up, and invites me for breakfast at the restaurant in front.
Then he brought me to his truck-station, dropped me there, and asked a guy to help me out get the bus to Piedecuesta, after which he gave me the 2 000 pesos it would cost me.
In the bus, I started talking to an old man, asking where he thought I should get out. He recommended 3 kms before the end of the line of the bus, which I listened to, but regretted. Traffic was fast, and I was far from the end of the town.
I asked some garbage-bag loaders if I could get a ride, but they were turning around. I started walking, before realizing, due to my thirst, that I had forgotten the water bottle in the bus, due to my haste to leave based on the recommendation of the old man.
I started walking, and refused to buy a water bottle. On the way down the highway, Providence provided me with a filled water bottle thrown on the side of the highway.
I walked up for a while, before finally arriving at a spot where the police where stopping the traffic. I waited a little 5 minutes, chilling out, before a nice bin-hauler passed by. They stopped him without me asking them for anything, and as they were asking them questions, I simply started climbing up the back to sneak in. As they started back up, I was still climbing, and I looked back at the police, which were basically just laughing, looking at me.
The truck stopped a few minutes later, at some restaurant entrance. I quickly got out, and said thank you for the ride. Then I walked to Los Curos, where I had been before, and hitched at a spot where I thought people would slow down. By that time, I had written ''San Gil'', my destination, on the inside of my right arm, with which I was hitchhiking.
A pineapple-hauler passed by me and slowed down. I was already running in the back to hop in when I noticed that, but then they came to a stop, which generally means they saw you and denied you the access to the ride, so I started walking back to my hitching spot before looking back and seeing that a family that was waving them down a few meters from me was getting in: it had stopped for them! I ran back to the back of the truck and climbed in, while other families waiting there were having a childish smile stuck onto their face as they were watching me get in.
I finished getting in the truck, but after an hour or so, they stopped at a random fruit-vending place where I thought they would come in the back to lift some pineapples out of there to sell them. I quickly snuck out and started walking away without looking back. Walking back toward the spot a few minutes later, they were gone. I had been thumb hitching, but the spot was not particularly nice. I bought a bunch of mandarines, and then started walking toward a little restaurant a bit further down the curvy highway. A few meters into my walk, someone stopped for me! Some ingenor-transporter, as he called himself. He was going all the way to San Gil.
He dropped me there, and I walked straight to the hostel that had hosted me for free the other time I was there (a CouchSurfing host). I entered and asked if they could have me over for a night. After discussing about it, since it was high-season and they were almost full, they denied me the favor. I thanked them, and walked away to keep hitching toward my next spot: Suesca, where I had already been as well.
On the way out, I asked a bunch of people to know if there was a nice reductor de velocidad up ahead. They all said yes, but it turned out to be a lie... They said it was at the entrance of the next pueblo, for which I paid the 400 pesos to not bother with the long walk. I arrived there and got pissed at the ignorance of the people to whom I ask those questions: can not they simply accept that they do not know, instead of stating that they know something for a fact? Oh well! I talked to other people asking the same question, and they said the same thing, so I started walking while hitching. A guy eventually stopped saying he had seen me as he was passing through San Gil.
He drove me to Socorro, and dropped me there as the night was falling. I walked around to find the slowest traffic spot, but figured this place would be more about luck. Nothing happen until nightfall, at which time I decided to ask the military base where I could safely set up my tent. I ended up setting it up right in between the sidewalk and the highway, protected by 2 trees from eventual traffic crashes. The night sucked due to loud trucks passing a meter away from me, but aside from that, at least I was safe.
The next day, I woke up and started walking up the highway, until I found a minor bump which did not really slow the traffic in any way. I sat on the side of the highway and started eating my bread and banana, in the shade, lazily lifting my thumb up from time to time. A woman passed by and gave me a mango, which turned out to be infested by maggots. Oh well, the intention was there!
After a good 30 minutes staying there, cursing my situation, I decided to walk into the heat of the sun to find a better spot, to discover another minor bump just on the other side of the curve, 20 meters away. I stopped there, removed my backpack, and started getting out my sun-hat when I heard a truck slowly driving up the highway. I knew it would probably be a slow one, so I quickly picked up my backpack, and acted as a gringo putting his hat before continuing to walk on toward the truck. As it passed me by, I did a fast turn-around and imposed myself in-between the car following the truck and the truck itself. I ran as fast as I could to slowly gain some terrain over the back of the trailer. Once my fingers reached the trailer, I gripped on the hole there, and jumped to get my feet onto the little steps in the back. I got myself up onto the trailer, and sat there, enjoying the ride, and looking at the funny faces of people passing by.
I ended up realizing I could hide myself from the heat by chilling inside some of the tubes the truck was hauling, and it also provided me a more hidden shelter from the view of the truck-diver (you have to keep in mind that in curves, the cab often rotates, which changes the point of view of the mirrors and generally end up giving the driver a view of its trailer).
I rode this truck for a long time, before at one of the multiple construction stops we hit, he pulled the trailer brakes (they make a distinguished air-releasing sound which you should learn to recognize), which means he thinks he is going to get stuck there for a long time. I did not realize that at some point he got out of the cab to do one of those wheels-check run where they walk all around the truck to look for air-leaks. As he passed by the back the trailer, he saw, and laughed, then mentioned I should be careful not to fall, and walked away. I stuck my head out after a few seconds, asking him where he was headed. Sogamosa! Another bunch of time before I need to get out, and he was headed the right way (for my own destination) down the separation of highways which could have led him toward Bogota, the destination I supposed he had.
Once he stopped at a peaje, I jumped on the ground, ran up to the cab, and told him he should drop me in Tunja, as I was looking to go toward Bogota.
He slowed down into a round-about and waved at me to indicate I had to get out there. I slipped on my backpack, hung myself down the back of the trailer, again with the feet in those little steps and the hangs grabbing the holes. Judging the speed to be fair, I jumped out, thumbed up the guy, and started walking toward my destination. A bit before, we had passed two trucks which were slower than him, so I decided to wait at the proper exit for Bogota. One of them turned for Sogamosa as well, and the other one was headed for Bogota but drove by too fast.
I walked up to the first traffic light I saw, and started asking around on the red lights. After 45 minutes and no truck passing by, I got discouraged. I flagged down a bus, which brought me to the Terminal for free (a few hundred meters down the road), where I tried to beg for a cheap ride to the next peaje, where the traffic always stops. No one wanted to take it as cheap as I wanted it, so I just walked out toward the next street light. That one proved to be awesome: it had a timer, which showed me that the Green lasted 20 seconds, and the Red, 60! I started asking around, to no avail. Then I saw an opportunity to jump into a small truck stopped at the red. I should have asked them instead of simply waiting behind them for the light to turn green... as it turned green, I heard them yell, and so I walked away.
Finally some car-hauler stopped at the light, and I asked them for the ride. They accepted, and got me to sit in the trunk of one of the cars. A minute after taking off, we got intercepted by the police. I think someone called them in because they had seen me trying to sneak into that first truck, and saw me drive off into a car-hauler, assuming I did not ask.
Finally, the cops understood the guys were making me a favor, and let us go. 20 minutes later, they stopped at a restaurant and invited me. I counted my story, and then off we went!
They dropped at an hour walk from my destination. Once I arrived, I started asking around for anyone knowing the CouchSurfing host I was supposed to meet. I ran into some friends, and they called her. They lifted me to her house. She hosted me. The next day, I looked up my CS messages and realized she had said after, and not before, the 20th June. Oops! Oh well, the friends had called another CSer which agreed to host me if I called him. I called him at 8 pm, but then said I had to call earlier, and that he would host me the next day if I called in early enough.
So now here I am, hosted for a second night in a row by this nice Venezuelan woman, writing on one of her friends' computer.
I guess I would appreciate constructive comments about how to improve my writing so as to make it more interesting?
For reference, this covers approximately 2 weeks of travel in Colombia. I might write about the first two weeks in Colombia, and transit with a flash-back into Panama, later on, in another post, if I get the motivation to do it.
submitted by payne007 to hitchhiking [link] [comments]