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.
1.) Hostel-hopping is likely going to be a crapshoot. To make it clear, this is not a five-star vacation. We’re not going the “book a bunch of guided tours and don’t worry about anything route.” We’re carving our own path through Colombia and that means finding our own cheap, yet (hopefully) nice accommodations. After living on tripadvisor.com, the Lonely Planet forums, hostelworld.com and the like, I’ve decided one thing: when we return, the first thing I’m doing is writing reviews for every hostel we stay in. There is plenty of info our there on the really well known ones that are consistently touted in the guidebooks, but those suffer from that exact fate and are often overcrowded and more run down. We’re taking some chances on some new places that are highly recommended by a small sample size. I’m hoping that we can add positive feedback to help out future travelers. So will we end up in the Ritz Carlton of hostels or living in crap holes? Time will tell, but that’s just a part of the experience.
2.) Yellow fever ain’t nothin’ to screw with. At the beginning, we didn’t give much thought to any vaccinations because none are required to enter the country like other places. But after researching it a bit, one of our destinations (Tayrona National Park) is at a higher risk for the disease and to enter any national park in Colombia you (technically) have to have been immunized for yellow fever. After reading a bit about the disease (it’s transmitted by mosquitos and we’ve heard that it has anywhere from a 15- to a mind-boggling 50-percent mortality rate), we decided to get the shot. Today we got the immunization and it kicks in in 10 days, well before we’ll be in the at-risk region. So, rest easy everyone.
3.) We have a couple of really, really long layovers. We found really cheap flights to and from Bogotá. Like $560 round-trip cheap. But, alas, that bargain comes at a cost. We depart DFW at 6:40 a.m. next Wednesday and arrive in Colombia at…7:30 p.m. That means we have an almost-six-hour layover in Mexico City (we’re flying Mexicana). And that’s where you come in, loyal reader. What can we possibly do to pass the time in a Mexican airport with no laptops (don’t want to risk them getting stolen) other than the usual reading/sleeping? Be creative! It’s fun!
I’ll post our travel itinerary when it’s 100 percent locked down to give you all an exact idea of where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing. And since we won’t have a laptop, I won’t be blogging a whole bunch while there, though I hope to make a few posts through the computers where we’re staying. I’ll be keeping a hand-written journal, though, and will have a full report upon returning.
So, give me those boredom-fighting suggestions!