Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Great Colombian Adventure: Bogotá

Amanda and I on top of Monserrate, overlooking Bogotá.

So we made it. Colombia wasn’t a land full of coke-snorting outlaws and deranged guerrillas. Well, at least we didn’t run into any during our 16-day, cross-country trek. Overall, the country was everything we thought it would be.

We quickly realized that this wasn’t a vacation. We didn’t spend all of our time lazing on the beach and zip-lining. A ton of time was spent waiting for buses/planes, on buses/planes and trying to figure out where the hell we were going. But that’s what made it not a vacation, but an adventure. Our airline went bankrupt. One of our Colombian airline’s planes crashed. A car bomb went off in Bogotá when we were there. And it was one hell of an experience.

And trying to put all of this short trip (believe me, we met dozens of travelers along the way, and none were traveling for less than a month) into a neat and tidy blog post is pretty impossible. There is no way I can get in every detail/observation without writing for six hours straight and sounding like a douche in the process.

So to avoid being a douche (always a priority in my daily life), I’m going to try to capture the magic of this Colombia trip in a brisk form. I’ll give my thoughts on all of the cities we saw and end it with a list of some casual observations about Colombian life over a few blog posts over the next few days. Just click on the pictures for larger views.

At the end of the day, I realized that traveling needs to be a big part of my life. There’s just too much world out there to stay in one place your whole life.

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En vísperas del viaje

Fly Mexicana: The fun is not knowing if your return flight exists!

T-minus 9:40 until we depart DFW for Mexico City and then Colombia and I’ve got a lot racing through my mind.

I think I’m done packing but I’ll never feel like that’s completely done. Did I pack to much? Am I forgetting anything? Will there be enough room for the cocaine?? (joking…) But seriously, that little backpack seen in the previous post has swelled to more than twice that size like a tick full of all things travel related. And yet I still wonder, will I be OK with less pairs of underwear than there are nights of our trip?

Hopefully I won’t smell too bad.

We’ve got 90 percent of our hostels/hotels booked but still feel like things are pretty up in the air. I’ll call it my fear of things being lost in translation. Getting responses like this don’t make you feel all that confident that things are actually set up: “I confirm that I have taken are booking.” And that’s the one reservation I actually did in Spanish. Well, at least I know that they are using Google Translate, too.

And then there’s the matter of our airline declaring bankruptcy and suspending the majority of its international flights indefinitely the week of our trip. They canceled half of their normal flights to Bogotá, but ours are still operating…as of now. But I think as long as we get there, we’re good. We can always find a way home, and Mexicana assured us that if our return flight gets canceled, they’ll arrange for us to take another airline.

Other than all of that nervousness/uncertainty, I’m pretty dang excited. So excited, that I’ll share with you our complete itinerary so that–if you care enough–you can play the “Where are Amanda and Blake in Colombia today?” game. Try it! All the cool kids are doing it.

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Travel prep enters overdrive

I plan on smuggling a small Colombian child into the U.S. in that 75-liter pack. (Photo credit: Mama Hurtik with Blake's recently purchased camera, the first of his life.)

Things are happening, my friends.

Amanda and I leave for Colombia in a mere eight days, and I’m doing my best not to freak out. It helps when you have a seemingly endless amount of things to plan for: reserving hostels/hotels, figuring out what all we have to buy, pacifying an eternally worried mother, combating scary diseases and the like. So we’re entering crunch time here and I’m learning a few things.

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