Saturday, December 22, 2012


Not really sure why it's been so hard to write lately. This is the third time I attempt to write this entry. If you're reading it, third time was the charm.

After reading a friend's post I realized  that not until wonderland is inside my head I will never be physically in wonderland. No matter where I go, no matter where I will be, "wonderland is a place in the mind". Wonderland is finally in my mind (and I want to keep it there) and as much as I like(d) re-reading the last chapter of my life it's time to start a new one, time to "wipe everything clean and start all over". Not wipe everything but store the memories in the "beautiful memories" vault. I will treasure them. Always.

Coincidentally I wrote this words on Dec. 21st. The shortest day of year. "The end of the world" to some (not going to comment on this). A normal day to most of us. But seemed appropriate to turn the page. The Mayans said it was the end of a cycle. It was the end of my cycle. It's still hard to accept the fact that the cycle came to an end.

I don't know where this chapter, this new cycle will take me. For now I'm going to spend a white Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

evening shift's philosophical thinking

Eventhough I'm publishing this entry in the morning, I wrote the draft during an evening shift. That being said... lately I have been writing not only about travelling but, I don't know, maybe about life? I think that from now on the blog is going to be about experiences; life experiences to be exact. Life likes to bitch-slap me, so when it does, which is quite often, I'm going to write about it. About that and travelling.

"How did I get here?" I ask myself that question often. The answer is: I don't know. A couple of months ago, some guy I met told me that he could only wish to travel as much as I do. I asked him why he doesn't. Many times people tell me that they don't have time or money or they have studies or whatever other reason. His answer was "because I'm afraid". Am I not afraid? I'm scared shitless of what may lay ahead of me! I have never been more afraid of the future than now. Perhaps I was not afraid at the beginning, I would say I was more anxious than afraid. Once I left my comfort zone everything was alright. I'm still out of the zone, but I'm terrified.

Not long ago I asked myself why am I here? If I mean Europe then I do (and don't) have an answer for that. In the general context, unfortunately, I don't have an answer. Sometimes I even ask myself why am I still here? I need to figure out what to do with my life, what's my "mission" in this fucked up world I live in. Last year I learnt the hard way to follow what I like, what feel I passionate for, what I love. I think I learnt the lesson, that's why I'm here, but now that I'm doing that, it's very fucking hard.

The other day I was talking to a guy and while looking at some photos I'm in in the common room he said "you look happy in these pictures"... I can't smile anymore, not like before at least.Why? Why is the pursuit of happiness has to be so fucking hard? Travelling used to make me happy. Now is just not entirely fulfilling my life. I will (try to) change that very soon.

Why am I still a shadow following a sun I will never catch... or will I someday?

Will I ever learn the lessons, whatever lessons I may have to learn?

Will I give up and be a conformist or will I fight for what I like, what I feel passionate for, what I love?

Too many questions for one single evening and I don't have the answers to many of them, only for one...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Art of Travel?

The other day I watched The Art of Travel and after watching it I had so many things in my head that I didn't know how to write them or where to start.

First of all, after watching the movie I have mixed feelings. I liked the movie, you should watch it. Mixed feelings I said? From one hand I would like to start travelling again and get lost somewhere away from everything and everybody I know. But on the other hand I'm still very much in love with the idea of settling somewhere and staying for a while.

"the only thing that matters in life is the people that you love, the hugs, the kisses (...), the actions we don't think about". Absolutely right! The best things in life are the simple things, the things we take for granted. I always cared about the people I love, sometimes in my own way but I cared, I still care. But it took me sometime to cared ONLY about them. There is no one or anything more important than them. 

"the art of travel is to deviate from one's plan". I always traveled without a plan so I had nothing to deviate from. But what happens when you do have a plan you don't want to deviate from, a plan that won't happen? 

I don't remember who introduced me to the band Vodka Juniors, it's a great band. One of their songs goes like this "like shadows in the sunshine, chasing the sun". Will I ever catch my sun?

I wanted to write more and I still have so many things inside my little head but I don't know how to put them "on paper", so I'll finish with this quote:

"if she's amazing, she won't be easy.
if she's easy, she's not amazing.
if she's worth it, you won't give up.
if you give up, you're not worthy.
truth is that everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."

- Bob Marley

Is life trying to teach something right now or is it a coincidence? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I read this the other day...

and I liked it a lot:

"if you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it". 

Friday, November 23, 2012

just when I was about to...


It's funny how life can be.
It's funny the way life can treat you.
It's funny how life can seem unfair.
It's funny how life's a bitch.
It's funny how life can laugh at your face and poke you in the eyes.
It's funny how it took me to several hours in two days to write the draft for this entry in my notebook. I was proud of myself and happy of what I finished writing yesterday but I'm not going to publish it. I'm writing what comes to my mind right now, fuck the draft! But I may use parts of it, I don't know. Most likely... maybe.

I sent emails to several hostels in Vilnius, Wrocław, Prague, Budapest, Zagreb, Bratislava, Hamburg, Zürich and München, Given the amount of emails I sent, I had a higher percentage of replies this time than back in 2010. And actually an even higher percentage of hostels interested in yours truly! Actually I saw that coming because in 2010 I had zero experience in hosteling, Now I do: I've worked or volunteered in hostels in Czech Republic, Poland, Guatemala, Estonia, Germany, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia.

I could play a song for almost each moment in my life. My life could be an endless music video, a medley of thousands of songs.

I've been to a park with Paula near her flat several times before. It's full of cute little squirrles, but the damn creatures never come close to me, not even when I'm trying to give them nuts, only maybe once or twice. The other time I was alone walking my way through the park in question. I still had a few nuts from the last time we were there. I reached for them because I saw a squirrel not far from me. Next thing I know I had one climbing up my trousers and 10 seconds later another one in my other leg! In total I had 4 squirrels fighting for my nuts! (hahaha that sounded funny), then 2 little old ladies were offering me some booklets and I said "nie rozumiem polskiego" and smiled at me. That made my day. I just sat for more than an hour watching people pass.

I want to see the Tatra mountains. Paula told me that they have been there for thousands of years. Indeed that is true, BUT I won't be around for thousands of years.

Looking at the facebook page of one of the hostels that replied to my email, I read this quote. Maybe life wants to play a trick on me one more time because I started to think, a lot...

"I can't change the direction of the wind but I can adjust the sails to always reach my destination."

It's getting cold and will only get colder.

Monday, November 19, 2012

just like that

Just like that three years have gone by... just like that. When I started this I honestly didn't think I was going to make it this far. I never thought  I was ever going to reach far away places (from Guatemala) like, let's say Turkey.

When I was in my last year of highschool don Arsenio, probably the best teacher I have ever had, told us that instead of asking for a car as a graduation present, we should ask for a trip somewhere. For him, the experiences lived while travelling will never be taken away from you. A car... I had already one stolen. God res his soul, don Arsenio was (is!) absolutely right. I've lived more in these three years than in all my life before. I've had good, bad and terrible experiences. Some I would like to repeat. Some I would like to prolong. Some I would like to never ever go through them again in my life. Maybe at some point I felt they were terrible (and indeed they were) but looking back now, some turned out to be funny, some taught me something.

While travelling you meet a lot of people, whether you like it or not. You can learn from them if you want o, about their culure, they lives, about anything! But the best teacher is life, it can teach you a lot. Is up to us if we are willing to take the lesson or no. Some, I will never learn. Some, I hope I will some day.

When I left Europe a year ago I was so used to the cold that I was walking through Berlin wearing havaianas... in (early) november. After practically a year in the tropics where most of the time I wore only shorts, a tshirt and havaianas, coming back to Europe in the middle of autumn was an extreme change. I feel cold. When I left Tulum a few weeks ago it was 35°C. When I got to Brussels I think it was around 10°C. Right now in Warszawa is no more than 5°C and will only get colder... bbbrrrrrrrr.

A lot has happened in my life in these past three years. Some of the things affected me profoundly. They changed me in a way that I will never go back to be the same person I was when I left. I've been up and I've been down. I always try to learn from that but I'm stubborn and sometimes I cannot see the positiveness in things or maybe I just don't want to. Will I ever learn? I hope so! These lyrics are from a song that is one of my all time favourites: "but how many corners do I have to turn? how many times do I have to learn? / happiness, something in my own place. I'm stading naked, smiling and I feel no disgrace with who I am".

The roles have changed.

I wonder where will I write next year...

Friday, November 9, 2012

quick stop at the A-Flat

Not that I was having a bad time. I was staying with a good friend but I thought it was time to start heading east. One of the last night I was in BXL I met with Eddy whom I met in Tallinn last year. We almost met last year my last night in Europe but I didn't have credit to reply to his SMS telling him I was not going to make it. We waited almost a year to go out for one, this time in Belgium. And, one day after I left, I found out that Nathalie lives in Brussel!  I met her in Guatemala 4 years ago.

I was a bit hesitant about my first attempt of a long distance (is it?) hitchhiking. The route was not difficult and could be done in less than a day... or so I thought.

After altering the plans of going to the south of Germany I found someone to hitch to Berlin. I decided to head to Poland stopping in Berlin for a night or two. I've done this route a couple of time before in both directions (Utrecht - Berlin). From Brussel it was only ~150km more BUT I would have to go through Essen, Dusselforf, Duisburg, Dortmund and other cities. There are no petrol stations on the autobahn in that conglomerate of cities and I got stuck near Hamm last year. I didn't want that this time.

I always try to start hitchhiking as early as I can. This time I started not so early. Someone drove me to a petrol station near the Ducth border, near Turnhout. Łukasz, a very nice truck driver did most of the way. He even stopped in a supermarket and bought some food! Dziękuję bardzo!

The only time I had been in the petrol station before Magdeburg I got off one ride and practically immediately got into another. I was in Berlin a while later. This time didn't work quite as good as I had  expected and it was raining and it was windy and it was cold and only a few cars stopped and the few that stopped didn't want to take me. It was not only a couple of hours of asking the few people that stopped that I asked Cristofer, well more like showed him on the map where I was going. I was babbling the few words in Polish I know but he agreed to take me to the petrol station on the Berlin ring road. Like I said, I was babbling Polish and English when he said "something something Polski, Spanish". Eh! hablas castellano? We talked the rest of the way in Spanish, he was really happy to be able to speak it again. He recently moved back to Poland after 12 years of living in Alicante. He also invited me to his hometown. It was around 23.00 when he left me in Magdeburg. Very close to Berlin yet so far away. I didn't leave the place until 2.00.

I've heard about the A-Flat before. Some of my friends have been there. There was a sushi party there last year but it was the weekend I flew back to Latin America. The A-flat is a nomad base. I sent them an email before leaving BXL but well, it took me longer than planed to get to it. When I arrived I was greeted very nice, I knew no one but I felt very welcomed from the very first moment. Like when I stayed in Casa Robino in Amsterdam and Casa Bonita in Lyon a couple of years ago.

I wish I could've stayed  longer, the vibe is awesone but this time it was not possible. After sharing a meal we played a board game (which I'm still trying to understand) but I was exhausted, I was falling asleep while playing, maybe this was the reason I didn't quite understand the point of the game. At 2.00 I bailed, they continued the game in the kitchen. I had a long hitchhike in a few hours.

I like the idea of "sharing, adventure, convivality, fun and abundance". Everyone does a bit of anything. Sometimes there is a more variety of nationalities represented but not this time but I was the only one coming from the Americas :-)

The night I was stuck in Michedorf I noticed that between 85 and 90% of the cars were Polish or heading to Poland. This was the place I needed/wanted to go. It was tricky to get there. It took me almost an hour to find the bridge to cross to the other side of the autobahn but it was worth it. After maybe 30 minutes I saw two Audis A6 with British license plates, the drivers didn't seem British tho. They were going back (to the second) home, to Lithuania... driving through Warszawa.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm writing this post from my tablet. I've just installed the blogger app and I thought to try it by posting two quotes I like from two movies.

"Most people live life on a path we set for them, too afraid to explore any other. But once in a while people like you come along that knock down all the obstacles we put in your way, people who realize free will is a gift you'll never know how to use until you fight for."

"If you mix mashed potatoes and sauce, you can't separate them later (...) we cannot go back. That's why it's so hard to choose. You have to make the right choice. As long as you don't choose, everything remains possible."
From "Mr. Nobody"

quick jump to France

I'm not keen on meeting other Guatemalans while travelling. This is one of the rare ocassions. I saw on the hitchhiker's forum a post from a Guatemalan. This made me change my mind: another Guatemalan hitchhiker? We were supposed to hitch to Germany, she will continue to Romania and I would had continued to Poland. But in a very Guatemalan fashion, she changed her plans without telling me before and booked a flight to Romania instead. I don't mind people changing their plans but at least tell me before so I can think what to do.

One night in Gent to meet my friends Vanessa and Carlos (from Guatemala). I stayed with Vanessa in november of last year. Carlos, last (and only!) time we met was for the Gentefeesten of 2010

Griet, Claudia's friend, drove us the next day to a petrol station on the motorway leading to Lille. While she was driving, I discovered that the code for cars registered in Lille is 59. I asked an old man by the pumps and he took us all the way to Lille. Once there, a while later we met with Claudia's friend; Yoni.

Yoni and his girlfriend are a very nice couple. we didn't go out for halloween. We only drank a couple of beers and a couple of bottles of wine, I drank very little. Two other friend of them arrived and in total they drank...  a lot.

Lille is a very flemish city, I found it similar to Brugge but without the canals. The old center of town with cobblestone streets is a very nice area to walk around. Near Yoni's flat there is a flea market a few times a week, interesting things can be found and also cheap vegetables and fruits.

Hitching out was not as easy as hitching in. Going into town, the driver almost takes us to the flat. Thanks to rush hour he didn't. Leaving took more than one hour of standing in the cold. the wait was worth it, only one ride back to BXL.

I'm writting this entry while listening to Groundation. I'm sitting alone in a flat in the north of Brussel but my thoughts are somewhere else.

Back in the B

Finally the day of the flight had arrived. It's been almost a year that I had been in the tropics, in Latin America, in Cancun airport. Three months out of those 11 were spent in Guatemala. Half travelling and half... well, you know.

I didn't want to hitch to the airport from Tulum because I didn't want to risk missing the plane. Unlikely to happen but I played it safe and took the bus straight to the airport. Check-in was at 13.00, bus ride was 2 hours. I took the 9.00 bus so I could have enough time to call my mum in Guate before leaving. I couldn't call because I couldn't get online with my tablet. I borrowed someone's iPhone to send a couple of SMS I needed/wanted to send. For a change, when I showed my passport at the counter, they had to make sure that I was out of Schenguen for 90 days. Blah!

What laid ahead of me was a 10 hour trasatlantic flight. I'm not very fond of flying  but what other option did I have? It all went well. I tried to sleep as much as I could to not think about anything, mainly the flight itself, and I think I slept a lot but I didn't rest because when the crew turned on the lights to serve breakfast I still felt very tired and that I could keep sleeping.

Ever since I traveled in non-Schengen Eastern Europe and the Balkans, where it took me  at least one hour to enter each country, I get anxious when I'm about to enter a country. I even got anxious when entering fucking Nicaragua a few months ago! FUCK! Anyways, it took me 30 seconds go get into Europe. I think I broke my personal record this time.

I was back in BXL (Bruxelles/Brussel/Brussels). I walked to Wim's flat from the North Station hoping for him to be there. He was. In the afternoon we hitched to Hasselt because one of his friends was throwing a housewarming party. It was a costume party but of course I wasn't wearing any costume, I barely have clothes nowadays! The party was good but I was very tired and very jetlaged. I met with some people I knew. The next day we hitched back to BXL. It was nice to hang out with Wim. One evening we went to Kat's flat to cook and eat with some couchsurfers staying with her.

I'm back in Europe. Now it's time to find my happy place and be happy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

pollo al cabron / wasabiiiii

Only a few times have I sent a couchrequest with a week in advance. Tulum was one of those times. Browsing through the few profiles I found interesting I ran across Bumpei's profile. I started to read it and came to the conclussion that I wanted to stay with him. I was going to meet with André there. Bumpei agreed to host us. For those of you who doesn't know who's André, I worked with him summer of last year in Estonia. Staying with Bumpei and meeting with André after 1,5 years  was something else. It was the perfect combination.

This was my fourth time in the Yucatán penninsula but twice of those times I've only gone through. First time I stayed in Playa del Carmen, this time I chose the cute little town of Tulum. One point to its favor is the existence of a mayan ruin complex referred as Tulum ruins that is right on the seaside. To be honest, I wanted to visit the ruins since a long time and now I was finally there. The ruins themselves are far from being impressive, but what it's impressive is standing on the edge of a small cliff with a mayan temple behind you and the vast turquoise Caribbean Sea right under your nose. One other thing that made the experience great was that we got in for free!

Tulum is actually very small. You can walk through it  in less than one hour. We actually walked to the ruins, it took me and André about an hour and they're like 5 km away. Highway 307 going to from Chetumal to Cancun is the main street when it goes through town. Is where most bars/cafés/restaurants are located.

The following day, we hitchhiked to the nearbeach of Akumal, where if you're lucky  you can swim with turtles. I wasn't. Very small beach, very turquoise waters. Kinda crowed, but overall; worth to go.

For my last night in the continent, Bumpei made delicious sushi and another meat dish that, both were extraordinary. Some mojitos and later it was to go out for one.

Like me and André just proved, it's not goodbye but see you later...

See you sometime somewhere CARBONES!!!

Thumbing again

I think that what bit me when I was sleeping inside the truck were not mosquitoes...

So much for watching the sunrise. The entire night was raining on and off and whatever it was bitting me plus the million mosquitoes flying by my ears made sure I didn't sleep confortable. By 4.15 I finally got up and started to get ready. I thanked the firemen and I was at the bus station by 4.45 and end up taking the 5.00 bus to Belize City  which was good because I made it there very early. Taking the bus one hour later would have gotten me to Belize City one and a half hours later. I was getting my exit stamp almost at midday but Mexico observes daylight savings timeso it was almost 13.00. I needed to pee real bad so by the time I was out of immigration I saw my bus leaving. Some Belizean guy asked me something about something else and he offered me a ride to the turn off to Chetumal, the place I was going to get off the bus anyway. I walked towards the highway and asked a guy if he could take me and he took me to Bacalar. Each ride found in seconds.

When I arrived in Bacalar it was pouring. Actually started to rain when I was in te back of the pickup. After a while the rain stopped and perhaps 20 minutes later I was being dropped at the turn off to Buena Vista. The driver suggested I should take a "colectivo" to Carrillo Puerto, which is a bigger town and cars go slower, instead of waiting in the middle of nowhere where cars were going fast. I didn't take the colectivo. No one was stopping. I waving my arm at trucks, worked in Colombia, I thought why it wouldn't work here. It didn't, with trucks. I kept waving anything that was approaching and changed to the thumb sign when the car was closer. This worked! The woman that stopped, drove me to somewhere. Started to rain again so I finished making the "Tulum" sign inside a shop. Suddenly, I saw a pickup pulling over in front of me and the window rolled down. The woman showed me  my mobile that had fallen out of my trousers. I don't know how far was she but she drove back just to give me back the mobile. AMAZING!

It stopped raining so I walked again to the speedbump to start thumbing again. Luis, a computer engineer working for IBM drove me to Felipe Carrillo Puerto. I was know 100km away from Tulum. I had to walk a few kilometers to a good spot. I walked past where the main street joins the ring road to form again highwy 307 North. I was already thinking what would happen if I don't make this night, no one was stopping. It was past 16.00, actually almost 17.00. The sun was going down and I was not going to hitch at night. Maybe fro, a petrol station but for sure not from the side of the road. There was a petrol station some 500m away. I as thinking all this when a VW Transporter stopped, I got in and about an hour later I was in Tulum trying to call my couchsurfer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dangriga firestation

It feels strange to be travelling on my own again. I haven't done this in practically a year. With a couple of exceptions; but in general I always travelled with someone.

The boat ride went really smooth. I was sitting right before the engines because I thought the junping was goingt to be less than in the forward. Everything was nice and I was taking a nice nap when I felt my face wet. It was raining and it didn't stop for the remaining of the ride... 1,5 hours.

Finally we made it to Big Creek where all the passengers had our passports stamped. Most of them kept going to Placencia which is more touristy and only a few of us stayed in order to go to Dangriga. It's worth to say that the boat company offers free ground transportation to Dangriga, about 80km.

From the bus station I walked a bit and found a small spot on the beach where I sat and ate the sandwiches that Benilda (Dario's wife made for me). It was awesome to have the Caribbean Sea in front of me, I felt insignificant compared to the greatness of the sea.

I had already looked upon where was the firestation and policestation. I walked by it trying to find another place to sit and read for a while, I found a concrete bench in front of the sea and waited for an hour to ask the firemen. Actually, I'm writting this words sitting on a firemen truck (I write first in a notebook and the the internet) I slept that night. It's only 18.05. I wish it was later. I wish it was time to go to sleep. I set the alarm for 5.00 because I would like to see the sunrise. The beach is only 50m away. Tomorrow I have to make it to Tulum sometime in the afternoon, before sunset.

The mosquitoes are eating me ALIVE!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

on the road again

After the peculiar conversation I had with the policeman I walked 300m to the "bus station". Of course I tried to hitch but it was raining so after 20 min, the bus came and I was on my way to Puerto Cortes.

The boat office closes at 16.00 on sundays so I thought about dropping by to check it out if I make it earlier... long story short/ I did make it earlier and I got a 10$ discount thanks to my bargain skills learnt while travelling South America.

I tried to hitch again but I was once again unlucky. But I let pass three buses before getting onto one. I was going to San Pedro Sula, Honduras second city in importance and size, to visit my friend Dario and his family. The last time I saw them was when I  was just starting my travels, actually during my second stop. The bus dropped me off at the main bus terminal and from there I walked more or less almost Dario's house. Almost because night caught me before and I hat to take refuge inside a petrol station. He picked me up a short while later.

Meeting with him was great, I felt that not three years went by but only a few days since my last visit. They made sure that I felt at home, and I did! I stayed only two nights but quality prevailed over quantity. My welcome was a baleada dinner... yummy.

But monday came and I had to take the boat that was taking me to Belize.

wait, what?

Enough of all the melancholic-depressive shit...

I had this conversation with a policeman on the Honduran side of the border:

- policeman: passport. Where are you from?
- Ron: here's my ID. I'm from Guatemala.
policeman looking at me.
Ron looking back at the policeman thinking  why the hell is h looking at him that way.
- pm: were you living in Guatemala legally?
I thought, what kind of question is that?
- R: I'm originally from there.
- pm: but, did you work there legally?
- R: I was born there!
- pm: you don't look Guatemalan.
- R: I get that a lot. Would you like to buy a leatherman?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

am I growing up?

I  was reading some of my older entries...  WOW. My writing style has changed a lot. I've changed a lot. I think that travelling this much has make grow up, in every sense of the word. I've had good and bad experiences. I've fallen in love. I've ran out of money, several times. I've hitchhiked means of transport some people think it's impossible to do it. I've gone to places where only a few of my countrymen had been before.

But one thing that caught my attention was that when every time I'm home I don't feel good. It's not that I don't like being here, I love it! I get to spend time with my mum which is the main reason  for me to come back, but I think that the circumstances that I'm under every time I'm back are difficult. It's also hard to adapt again. Some people might call it reverse culture shock but for me is just culture shock, in my home country but culture shock still. I might accept the other two terms wikipedia uses.

The country has changed. There were presidential elections last year and I wasn't here. My home town has changed physically and has become (to my perception) more dangerous. 

This time has been harder, it's the first time I'm alone for an extended period of time and I don't have a job to distract me. I looked for one, believe me! So I spent my days alone as my mum has to go to work every day. I went to Antigua a few times but afterwards is me, myself and I again. so I spent practically all day by myself. The first month was really hard. Now, it's still hard but now I'm back in the surface. 

I have to confess that I feel very envious every time I hear someone saying that when they went back home they met with all their friends, they had welcome back parties. I have none of these. Not even my brothers wanted to pick us up when I called them once I entered Guatemala back in July. The only reason one of them picked us up was because we were robbed of everything. But well, what can I do?

After almost three years of being on the road I think I'm finally growing up. I decided to stop travelling, to settle somewhere, to not move from country to country like a maniac. Maybe I want a boring life? But doesn't have to be boring is it? Do you have any suggestions as to where to do this, if so, please tell me because I have no fucking clue!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Insomnia. or something else?

I've always had problems sleeping. I mean, maybe not a problem but I tend to sleep not long. I can go to bed late and be awake a few hours later. The other day I had an anxiety attack and went to bed at 5.00 in the morning. I was awake again at 8.00.

Lately all the feelings I had since my last post are still there but in a lesser degree. The pressure in my chest is gone. Well, today (actually right now) I started to feel it again. That's the main reason for writing  To see if it goes away.

I feel like something is missing. I'm missing something, maybe I miss being on the road? Maybe I miss being in Europe. Maybe I miss someone? For sure. All this combined with the disappointment I feel is not a good combination. I hope that all of this change this. Well, I'm not sitting on my ass and wait to change by itself, I know I need to make that change happen. I'm starting. Slowly but I think I'm succeeding  The first month basically I was revolving in my own misery but I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I touched bottom but like a good friend of mine told me "once you reach the bottom, use it to push it as strong as you can to back to the surface"  (or something like that, she said in Spanish). That's what I did. I dragged myself out of the house. Now, I'm happy to tell that almost everyday I'm going out at least for a few hours. I'm changing environment. It's not just the TV/PC combo I was used. I still have learn to stay out more but I'm so paranoid of riding buses late that I don't like to take the bus back home later than 16.00. What I do sometimes is just take the book I'm currently reading (Guatemalan author) and go to a small park near my mum's house and read a few chapters. Well, to tell you the truth, I've only done that once. But I think I'm making progress.

The pressure is going away, I think. So writing actually works! I know this is a travel blog or at least that's what I think, so I apologize for expressing what I'm going through at the moment. This is my therapy, my self prescribed medicine, and it's working!

So, don't get angry if you read me more often!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

have I lost it?

I know I said that I was going to take a break from writing. I kinda did, it's been a month since the last update and I'm not travelling. I will take this as a small break :-)

Some of you might know that right now I'm going through a not very nice moment in my life. A lot of things are affecting my life at the same time, none of them good. I could try to see them from the positive side but I can't find it anywhere. I know I'm being extremely negative but that's how things are right now. It's affecting me so much to a point that I'm really stressed out. It's affected my breathing, my sleeping habits and I'm having anxiety attacks. Hopefully, this will change soon, very soon.

I also decided to write because I thought this might be a good therapy. I'm putting my mind "somewhere" else. Yeah, yeah, why somewhere if I'm writing about what is affecting me? well, actually that is exactly what is keeping calm and relaxed right now. Maybe I needed a way to vent all these feelings I have inside, which is another contradiction as I always tried (and succeeded I think) to keep this blog not personal. This and a bit of chemicals (not drugs!) and music helped me a bit to calm down. Why didn't I think about music before? There is a french band that I really like, I have three of their albums so I set onto look for the other two I don't have, I managed to find only one. The band's name is Rinôçérôse. Listening to the three albums really relaxed me. The answer to solving the problem is actually quite easy: put your mind in doing something. The difficult part is to find that something. I know, I'm not very positive, but that is starting to change. The moment I started to accept things the way they are, all started to change. Very slowly but started to change.

Everything is connected. I need to leave the house but having got used to be with someone for an extended period of time, going out alone seems far from easy at the moment, so I retreat myself indoors and become a zombie in front of TV or PC. It's a vicious circle: I know I need to go out but I don't even feel the desire of doing so. Last week I spent half a week in Antigua. Not being online those days felt good. I need to stay away from the PC. But then again, I don't go out, so it's a TV/PC combo. The fucking vicious circle strikes again. Ah! and for everything you need to ever present fucking money! God I hate money! Although sometimes I wished I had money to just buy a ticket to a land far away and disappear and be able to come back any time I want to visit my mum. As you may know, I don't even have half of the things that were stolen back in july. I need them. Friends gave me a few things, that and going quite often to a paca (check the wiki article and imagine those things but made of all kinds of clothes. And not cylindrical but in the shape of a cube).

Even though I'm not very active on facebook anymore, but I check it from time to time. I can stalk you without you even noticing! kidding. Anyways, a friend of mine has a page that I enjoy very much reading. I highly recommend you to give it a look and maybe even like it, here´s the link: Charlotte Acrobat's 365. Some of her writings I felt were meant for, here are the extracts of the two that woke me up:

"I seek happiness and stability, yet when I finally achieve that, I always do something to destroy it. (...) I screw things up. And then I want to fix them ..." 

"- I can't handle it anymore, I can't handle it.
- You have to. There are people relying on you.
- This pressure doesn't let me even breathe normally.
- (...) stop the self-pitying bullshit. You're better than that. 


- Just... You know what would be really nice now?
- No, I don't.
- Hug me."

I've managed to find stability only once. I want to keep it. I've lost the desire to keep travelling. After practically travelling non-stop for three years I am (or was?) ready to stop and settle somewhere. And I really, really, REALLY need a hug from you.

I've installed a new antivirus in my mum's desktop PC so the new software had to perform a something-something check on the PC. When I came back I logged into facebook and immediately checked my friend's page to see today's writing to my happy surprise there was one!

"Few days ago I thought to myself: 'Ok, this is it. My life cannot be more complicated than now.' But life's a bitch, as always, and it gave me even more complications. I can see it laughing at my face."

I actually thought that. No, let me rephrase, I think that every single fucking day that goes by.
Indeed, life's a fucking bitch! And indeed I see it laughing at my fucking face!

So, I'm trying to get up again shake off the dust in my trousers. I feel good right now. I think is the combination of the writing and the pill I took last night before going to bed. I followed my heart before. I will do it again.

Have I lost it, maybe. But I'm finding it again...

Monday, September 3, 2012

roaming around Guatemala

So what happened to us was not fun at all, but we also were not going to spend the rest of the stay inside home. We had to sort Paula's passport and (now) visa things. It took about 2 weeks to get all the paper work and stuff she needed. Then, with passport with her it was time for Canadian embassy and after that it she just had to wait. 

We went to a lot of places. Only one or two I never been before or I was just passing through. One thing is for sure, I have never before traveled to so many places in so short time (as close to chronological order that I can remember): Antigua, Amatitlán, Chichicastenango, San Pedro La Laguna, Panajachel, Pacaya volcano, Xela, Almolonga, Zunil (hot springs), San Andrés Xecul, Monterrico, Puerto de San José, Cobán, Lanquín, Semuc Champey, Cahabón, El Estor, Río Dulce, Puerto Barrios, Livingston and in a few hours we're going to Flores/Santa Elena, El Remate and Tikal.

Our time here was nice. My mum loved Paula. We had visits from good friends: first Meel and then Sandra. Now both are gone. Continuing what they have to continue.

Today is the beginning of the end. Today is Paula's last day in Guatemala City. For sure I've learnt a lot in these in these almost half a year that we've been together. Half a year of seeing each other, of doing (almost) everything together, of her being the last face I see before going to sleep and the first one after waking up. For sure, it was not all pink color, we had trouble, but we also had shitloads of fun. We've been to so many places. To so many it was both our first time.

Now that Paula is leaving, I won't be moving. I won't be travelling. I need to take a break. I will to try to go out and meet people. I need to put my mind into something. Perhaps I will start learning a new language, although I'm not very good at this but I will give it at try.

Life goes on. I'm going to see her again. I will make sure of that. But right now I'm staying and she's leaving. When and where are we going to see each other again is uncertain. Like my future right now. I have to start all over again from zero: clothes (including winter clothes), shoes (this time I'll make sure they're waterproof), backpacks. Right now I wouldn't like to think about all those things but I cannot help it. I don't want to think about what would happen if I hitch while is -10C and I don't have the proper gear. 

Life goes on. I won't fight the tide. It's useless. I can drown if I do. I will go with the flow like I've done in the past. Worked before, I don't see a reason why it shouldn't work now.


I have traveled Central America before, twice from Guatemala down South. Once to Costa when I was starting my travels and once to Panama a few ago. Never had a problem before. This was about to change coming back from the South...

I was a bit afraid of going back to Panama. If you recall, I left without an exit stamp. For them, I was still inside the country. Lucky for me, the kunas don't have PCs: they boarded the ship, stamped the passports and that was it: welcome to Panama! Of course, they are greedy bastards so we have to pay 2$ each to be able to leave. Hitchhiking is impossible out from Kuna territory. I think only private shuttles go there and a few private cars. We managed to find a ride all the way to Panama City for 10$ each instead of the normal 25$ each!

The only place I went that I didn't go before in Panama City was Panamá Viejo. It's the remains of the old city of Panama when it was first built in 1519. We were staying in the East part of town, we had to take a bus everywhere, which was nice because I saw a different part of Panama. But it was time to leave. My experience hitchhiking alone in Panama was not bad so I thought that hitching with Paula would make things easier. I was right. We found a really good ride. Slow but very long. Our destination was Bocas but it was around 20.00 when we got stuck a  few kilometers from David. After taking the bus to the town of Gualaca we spent the night at the firestation. The following day in the afternoon, after two good rides and 20 min boat ride, we were looking for a place to stay... we stayed in some rooms the local chuch had for retreats. By the way, the priest lived in Guatemala for 10 years. He was very nice.

I was a bit worried about leaving Panama. Getting in was easy, Kunas didn't have a PC. Good. But, if they don't have PC, I'm not in any system, I just have my passport stamped, right? So, for  Panama I never left the country. Was I going to get a fine when leaving? Fortunetaly not. A short queue and off we were to Costa Rica.

Now the nightmare part...

I know that you need an onward or return ticket to get into Costa Rica. I thought that as a Central American citizen I will never get any problems getting into any of the countries of the area. The guy was probably in a bad mood. We had separate officials so the guy checking Paula's passport waited to see what my official was going to do. He demanded a return ticket to Panama! What the fuck!? I'm going North! I'm going home! Why would I need a ticket to Panama. These are the rules. Ok, these are the rules. I want to buy a ticket from San Jose to Nicaragua. You can't. Here, you can only buy tickets from San Jose, Costa Rica to Almirante, Panama. Fucking bastards. They made me pay a 14$ ticket I will never use. In this hour of thinking what to do, Paula went again to the window and there was another guy. 2 min later she came back with the stamp. I went to window and got the entry stamp. There was a couple and we asked them if they could take away from the border. They drove us to Puerto Viejo and from there they drove us to Cahuita. Where are we going to stay? Some people let us used the internet (for free) in their internet café and a friend of them invited us to stay with him. The following day we took a bus to San Jose where Pedro, a guy I met in Estonia last summer, was waiting for us. We stayed in San Jose for a couple of days hanging out with Pedro, walking around. When we left I never thougth we could made it to the border the same day but we did. One of our rides was inside a Guatemala truck! We made it to the Nicaraguan border.

The nightmare part 2...

At the border I was told that since not long ago, all Guatemalans, Colombians and Mexicans have to go through extra screening when entering the country. Eh!? Why would I want to stay in a country that is in deeper shit than mine? Anyways, it was not so early when we reached the border. I didn't want to hitch at night. They held me over an hour asking me all kinds of stupid questions that not even in Europe or the States I was asked before. They made us lose the last bus. The question part was over. Window part now, but the boss had to aprove me and ask more stupid questions. Of course, one of them was about money. I showed my two (non-working) bank cards and I said that I had 20$ and 160 Cordobas with me. Outraged he said that it was a joke to have than little money, so I said that I was not going to be walking around with 1000$ in my pocket. He said that if I couldn't prove that I had money I was going to be sent immediately back to Costa Rica... (!!!) Somehow I made it but it was too late for bus and it was dark and the border was absolutely not a good place to spend the night and it's not open 24 hours. After the nightmare at the border, luck was still on our side: a Costarican pickup drove us to the turn off to San Juan del Sur where we spent the night inside a restaurant owned by a Northamerica with Polish roots. Next destination: Ometepe Island. We made it late in the afternoon. The ferry ride was cold and wet. This was the first time we paid for accomodation in 4 months of travels together, and it was cheap: 4$ for a private with shared bath for both! From there we were goint to León but on the ringroad we decided to head straight to Guatemala. There we found a ride with another Guatemalan truck that let us sleep inside the truck. Salvadorian truck to the Nicaragua/Honduras. Guatemalan truck to the Honduras/El Salvador. And Guatemala truck to Guatemala City where I had the best welcome a Guatemalan could ever had.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

1023 days and counting (but not for long)

Honduras: Omoa. San Pedro Sula. Tegucigalpa.
Nicaragua: León. Las Peñitas. Granada. Isla de Ometepe. San Juan Del Sur. Isla de Ometepe.
Costa Rica: Liberia. San José. Cahuita. Puerto Viejo. Cahuita.  San José.
USA: Tallahassee. Incline Village. South Lake Tahoe. Stateline. San Francisco. New Orleans x 3. Jackson. Slidell. Jacksonville. Asheville. Sylva. Ann Arbor. Chicago. Detroit. Toledo. Smithtown. NYC.
Iceland: Transit.
Belgium: Antwerpen.
Holland: Utrecht. Amsterdam. Utrecht.
Germany: Münster. Hamburg. Bocholt.
Denmark: København.
Sweden: Malmö.
Denmark: Roskilde. København.
Holland: Amsterdam.
Belgium: Antwerpen. Gent. Antwerpen. Brussel.
France: Paris. Auxerre. Lyon.
Spain: Barcelona. Bilbao.
Portugal: Santa Maria Da Feira. Lisboa.
Germany: Augsburg.
Austria: Salzburg. Sankt Michael Im Lungau.
Slovenia: Bled. Lesce. Ljubljana.
Austria: Salzburg. Wien. Einsenstadt. Klammhöhe.
Slovakia: Bratislava.
Austria: Wien.
Germany: Augsburg. Berlin.
Czech Republic: Praha. Česky Krumlov.
Austria: Wien.
Czech Republic: Praha.
Poland: Wrocław. Kraków. Rybnik. Szczawa.
Romania: Cluj - Napoca. Sibiu.
Bulgaria: Transit.
Turkey: Istanbul. Izmir. Şirince.
Greece: Thessaloniki.
Macedonia: Skopje.
Kosovo: Transit.
Montenegro: Podgorica.
Croatia: Dubrovnik. Split. Zagreb.
Italy: Venezia. Bologna. Rho. Milano. Como. Bellagio.
Switzerland: Zürich.
Holland: Utrecht.
Belgium: Brussel. Charleroi. Brussel. Aals. Gent. Brugge.
France: Paris.
Belgium: Mons. Zonhoven. Leuven. Brussel.
Mexico: Playa del Carmen. San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Belice: Corozal.
Mexico: Cancun Airport.
Belgium: petrol station somewhere.
Germany: petro station outside Dresden.
Poland: Kraków. Szczawa. Bielslo Biała. Warszawa.
Hungary: Budapest.
Austria: Wien.
Czech Republic: Praha.
Germany: petrol station 100+ km North of Berlin.
Denmark: København. Roskilde. København.
Poland: Kościerzyna. Augustów.
Estonia: Pärnu. Tallinn. Viljandi. Tallinn.
Latvia: Riga.
Lithuania: Kaunas. Sasnava. Marijampole. Kaunas.
Poland: Warszawa. Kraków. Wrocław.
Czech Republic: Praha.
Germany: Berlin. Hamburg. Dortmund.
Holland: Utrecht.
Germany: Berlin.
Holland: Utrecht.
Belgium: Zonhoven. Hasselt. Brussel. Zonhoven. Antwerpen. Gent. Brussel.
Belice: Orange Walk.
Guatemala: Mummy's house. Monterrico. Lake Atitlán. Antigua.
El Salvador: Transit.
Honduras: Transit.
Nicaragua: León. Poneloya. San Francisco Libre. Granada. Isla de Ometepe.
Costa Rica: Liberia. Jaco.
Panama: David. Boquete. Panama City. Portobelo. San Blas.
Colombia: Cartagena. Medellín. Santa Elena. Medellín. Pereira. Bogotá. Cali. Popayán. Timbío. El Bordo. Pasto.
Ecuador: Quito. Finca somewhere. Pedernales. San Vicente. Bahía de Caráquez. San Mateo. San Lorenzo. Puerto López. Santa Elena. Guayaquil. Cuenca. Puyo. Baños. Quito.
Colombia: Ipiales. Pasto. Cali. Armenia. Salento. Armenia. Medellín. Bucaramanga. Taganga. Santa Marta. Cartagena.
Panama: San Blas. Panama City. Gualaca. Bocas del Toro.
Costa Rica: Puerto Viejo. Cahuita. San José.
Nicaragua: San Juan del Sur. Isla de Ometepe. Granada. Somotillo.
Honduras: Transit.
El Salvador: Transit
Guatemala: Mummy's house. Antigua. Amatitlán. San Pedro La Laguna. Panajachel. Chichicastenango. Xela. Monterrico. Puerto de San José. Río Dulce. Livingston. Puerto Barrios. Cobán. Lanquín. Cahabón. Semuc Champey.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Sorry if it has taken me a very long time to write something about my travels in Latin America. I haven't been in the mood to write anything. I deactivated, reactivated, deactivated again and finally reactivated my facebook account in the time I have been away.

I will try to post regular updates from now on, but my life is not easy at the moment so give me a break and enjoy the reading.

So the last update I had was when I was still in Colombia, looking for a boat to hitchhike back to Pamana. Well, I found it, but if you've been reading my blog you already knew this because I have been back in Guatemala for the past month. Anyways, so go to the fridge and grab a beer (or beers or something stronger), sit back and try to enjoy my writing (that what the alcohol is for).

If you want to hitch a boat you have to be in the right place. Of course, being at the right time also works. We were in Santa Marta, some 240ish kilometers from Cartagena. There are a few boats coming and going from Santa Marta but IS in Cartagena where the vast majority of boats go into and out of Colombia. We found a couple of work exchange job but it wasn't what we were looking for anyways. So we left and went to Cartagena without a clue of where we were going to stay, what to do to look for a boat or even how long we would have to stay.

I think I have been lucky so far in my travels. I know, I have been saying this, but I think I am. The first day we went to the Marina... short pausa to make a little explanation: if you tell any Colombian that you are looking for the Marina they will automatically think that you are looking for the Colombian Navy; they call it Club Náutico. That being said I shall continue. So the first day we were there it was the second day the Stahlratte was anchored. They were unloading four motorbikes. We had the chance to talk to the captain and he said that they some times take hitchhikers but in this particular ocassion they will have to stay for a month fixing the ship... "if you are here in July we talk about it" said to me Ludwig. This happened at the beginning of July. Joan, one Spanish volunteer onboard the ship came back to talk to us and he was super nice when he took us in the ship's dinghy to ask on basically all boats anchores in the bay. 

We kept going back to the Marina every other day. If you want to succed in finding a boat, you have to keep going back every single day! Don't even tell anyone that you are looking for a boat to work. That will automatically shut the doors of the marina down for you. We did and even if we were inside with people from boats we were still getting kicked out.

I think I wrote before that you also need a shitload of luck. We had it. The ship's dinghy was stolen so they have to cut short all repairs and invest that money into a new one. Bad for them, good for us. Instead of leaving in July, they were to leave the following week. They needed to make money, they still needed the do some repairs to the ship so they did a quick run, instead of the regular 5 days that the trip takes, this one special trip would only last 3 days. Perfect for me as I'm not very boat friendly.

We were leaving wednesday June 27th at around noon and about the same time the following friday I was touching Pananamian soil and telling the fucking Kunas to go to hell because they charge you for everything. It's impossible to hitch out from Kuna territory. You have to take one of their (expensive) shuttle that coasts around 35$. I found a private car and bargain the fee down to 10$ each. From Carti to Panama City!

I thought I was never going back to Panama. I didn't want to and now here I was, again. Only this time going back. It's not the first time I say I'm never going back to somewhere I go back. First time happened with Czech Since I left I had been back several times. Second time with Poland, been back quite a few times and even thougth about living there. Now, I'm telling to myself that I'm not going back to Estonia but chances are I might end up there drinking my life away.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

life is full of surprises

One of my favorite movies of all times is Forrest Gump. One of quotes I like in the movie is when he says "my mamma always says that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get". I couldn't agree more with you Forrest.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

welcome back!

I think I've traveled a lot. From where I come from we don't have a travelling culture. We only go for short holidays. We work like robots, go on a short holiday and return to keep working like robots. Some don't even do that. Some, go on holidays and get in debt and then they have to pay off those debts. For that reason, a lot of people automatically thinks that you need to have a shitload of money to go to Europe. It's inconceivable to for them to go Europe with, let's say 50€ in their pocket for example.

I traveled for 2 years, 7 months and 29 days. I have been to 35 countries and successfully hitched in 34. I hitchhiked most of those thousands of kilometers (in the US I didn't hitchhiked at all). I'm also not counting the intercontinental or trasatlantic flights I've taken. I've been to 4 continents (I have been to Izmir, in the Asian part of Turkey) and succesfully hitchhiked in all 4 of them (Mexico is part of North America). I have even hitched between two of them, overland and over water!

Not many people have hitchhiked a boat. I had the luck to do that, twice. Not once in all those hitchhiked kilometers I was even close to be in some kind of danger. The only scary incident was in Turkey going to Greece. I had been in more danger when I'm not hitchhiking!

I hitched a sailboat coming home. I hitchhiked cars, trucks, even a tanker coming home. All safe rides. I had to come back home, get off my last ride (the truck that drove me from the Honduras / El Salvador border to Guatemala City) and had all my shit stolen in (literally) blink of an eye. In less than 1 bloody minute, I lost all my possessions. Everything. Luckily my important bag is always with me so I didn't lose my passport, camera, pendrive, books of memories and id. Aside from that, I was only left with the clothes I was wearing at the time. 

I fucking hate this situation but all this is part of travelling. I'm very disappointed of my country. Was this the kind of welcome I deserved? I don't hink so. But it was the welcome I was given. Now I don't have any other choice than to get up, shake off the dirt from my shorts, and find a way  to be happy and get to my happy place.

People ask me if I ever was robbed. I said no. Having my laptop stolen in Colombia was my fault, I accept it. So basically, it was not robbed, I gave it away. Didn't work anyway. Had more sentimental value to me. Sadly, I had to come back home to lose everything.  

My dad always told me to (or at least try to) look for the positive side of things. At least I lost everything in my home turf and not 2421752415 kilometers away. My big brother picked me up and drove me home. I ate my mum's food and slept that night on my bed. So, for this and for many other things, I consider myself a lucky bastard.

I apologize if I don't post what happened between Colombia and now but right now I don't feel like it. Maybe in the coming days you will start to see the posts.

Keep on thumbing in the free world!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

boobs and arses

If there's one thing that I was really impressed by, not only in Cartagena but in all Colombia, mostly from Cali Northwards, is that most women have amazing boobs and huge arses. I don't know if they are real or not. Some boobs you can easily tell (I think) if they're fake or nott but the arses were huge. Me personally don't like them big.
Anyway, I'm back in Cartagena. I'm writing this last update, the last of my South American leg of my travels. Less than 5 hours before sailing away in the second boat I managed to hitchhike.
The first time I was here I spent only two nights and didn't actually see anything of the city besided the Old Town and Getsemaní (hostel area). This time I spent here 2,5 weeks looking for a boat so I got to see a bit more. The beaches for example.
For what I think it's the 99% of the people that come to Cartagena, the city it's only the Old Town and Getsemaní. Those are the only areas the vast majority of tourist hang out. Maybe with the exception of Manga: backpackers looking for a boat or coming in one arrive there.
Cartagena is more than that. 1,1 million people don't live in those areas. Another thing I don't understand is why publications like Lonely Planet call it something like "one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas" or "a jewel of a city". Why!!!??? Have they seen Olaya or the market or where the bus terminal is? I don't think so. They should say the Old Town is one of the whatever. And even there, it's a very, very dirty city: rubbish is everywhere on the streets waiting to be collected. For me, a colonial city is like Antigua: cobblestone streets, ruins, churches. Antigua doesn't have constructions higher than it's churches. Cartagena has high rises in the middle of Old Town! There are other towns that deserve the adjective of "most beautiful city".
My friend Carib was in Colombia so we met for in Cartagena for my birthday. It was awesome to hang out with him and remember the crazy shit we did in Guatemala three years ago. Also, for this of that reason we didn't meet in Europe twice. Funny thing, we met randomely in the Southern hemisphere.

Santa Marta

I left Taganga with a not so good impression of it. This could happen anywhere to anyone but it happened to me in Taganga.
Anyways, it was time to go and try to find a job. I had a "possible" or "maybe if you come we can talk about it" interview in Santa Marta. Nope, it didn't happen. They were looking for one. Maybe if I was alone would have been a different story. A guy I met in Panamá in December Arne, works there.
We started asking around in hostels. The last time I tried this I stayed in a few months in Kraków. Why it wouldn't work this time? Actually it did but I could only find work exchange, without food. Besides, the place to look for a boat is Cartagena, not Santa Marta.


We found a ride with a truck driver and slept under the trailer only to get to Taganga and had my laptop stolen by the police.
But I deserve it, how can I be that stupid and trust in them? would I had done that in Central America? Fuck no! Why did I do it in Colombia? maybe because I had sunstroke...


I know that no one has the obligation to to help but it was frustating and dissapointing and sad to see that other people was being helped and they posted on the CS forum after me!
For this reason I decided to change my strategy: for Bucaramanga I was going to post in English. But before I had to leave Medellín and travel the 400 km between Medellín and Bucaramanga.
I wanted to leave as early as possible but when I'm travelling with someone that rarely happens.
We bargain our way to "Barbosa". 2 minutes after an idiot walking beside me told me "no one will pick you up" a big car stopped and drove us to a reststop  somewhere.  After no more than 2o minutes two cars stopped but one some meters ahead of us and the other one right in front of us. I said that we were going to Bucaramanga so anywhere in that direction was good. We got in and I asked Carlos (the driver) where he was going and he said... Bucaramanga! we reached the city at around 16:00. 
Like I said before, after changing strategies I wrote in the emergency couch forum in English and about 5 minutes later we had two couches to choose from! That's how I came to know Sebastián  and his family.
We stayed for 4 nights with him and his family. When I left, I didn't want to but I had to. I ended up having another mum for a few days.
Bucaramanga was not was I was expecting. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that I thought of it as a small city and not that big. The area has a lot to do and see but unfortunetaly is not free.
Sebastián took us to the really close town of "Girón" which reminded me of Antigua but not quite. Maybe because of the cobblestone street. Nevertheless it was a lovely day trip. Miriam, Sebastián's mum, said we could stay longer. As tempting as it was, I need to start heading to the coast...


To sumarize things: we didn't find a job nor a place to stay in Medellín. We couldn't see a lot also because we always had our big bags with us. Lovely city but not a pleasant stay for me this time.
Experienced rich catholic people hypocrisy. Firemen in the South of Colombia are nicer, specially from Pasto.
Thank you Medellín for your hospitality! 

Two buses in a row

The forecast was positive. Actually more than that. A few months before when I left Medellín going to Pereira a aside from the fact that I had to walk a lot, it was quite an easy hitchhike. Now the only difference is some 30 km. The 30 km between Pereira and Armenia. How wrong I was...
We left Armenia really late. First ride was going to Pereira but I told the driver to leave us at the peáge. WRONG! I didn't know how to leave Pereira Northwards. In the peáge I decline a ride to Pereira. Second time WRONG! I didn't know how to leave Pereira Northwads.
Truck driver stopped and took us to, you guessed it right, to Pereira. After wasting almost two hours (or more!) while he dropped his cargo he left us in the west exit of the city, NOT the north. TERRIBLE spot. After a long while a short ride to the close town of "La Virginia" where we got stuck  and had to find somewhere to spend the night. We got kicked out of a petrol station. Night spent in the corridos of some restaurant.
Tuesday morning I found a ride to "Anserma" where the owner of a small restaurant gave us some coffee. Father and daughter or husband and lover or driving teacher and studern drove us to a peáge in Nowhereville. Ride in the back of a truck (coffee making including) to the begginning of "Ríosucio". Small ride to the exit of the same town.  Ride to the turnoff to Manizales with a weed smocking Colombian that was very proud of his Northamerican accent. After walking  a couple of kilometers we found a ride to "Santa Clara" (?). While thumbing, an intercity bus stopped and asked the million euro question: "where are you going?". I said that we didn't have money for the bus. He left. Stopped two meters down and said that he will take us to "La Pintada" because we were in a terrible spot, most likely we were. In La Pintada after no more than 30 minutes a bus stopped beside me and the million euro question was asked again. Million euro answer. Million euro luck! Not first time hitchhiking a bus (this was my sixth) but this time was the first time I hitchhiked two buses in a row! Another first for Colombia.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I don't really know what to write about this really small town. It covers an area of just maybe a couple of kilometers but in that small area there are over 50 hostels, hotels, guesthouses and people's houses offering you a room to stay.
There are two things worth ti see there (not for free in one way or the other):
  • The trek to "Valle de Cócora". There's no park entrance fee but you have to pay for a jeep to take you there and back.
  • The "Don Elías coffee finca". You can learn how coffee is grown, harvested, peeled, dried, roasted but it's 5000$ the entrance. I know all that anyway. I learnt it with Julio before going to Ecuador. Maybe not the toasting part though.
There is a small hill with a not-so-impressive view of town with an impressive 238 step staircase all the way up!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

not the one in middle Asia

I thought that the road leading to Pereira went through Armenia. It turns out that it doesn't so Adrian's dad left us at the turn off where we waited for a couple of hours until an old guy drove us to about 10 km from Armenia (close to the airport). From there, a pineapple finca owner drove us one street away (pineapple included) from Casa Quimbaya. One of the few hostels that reply to my email about a job. They wanted to see us for an interview but what they offered was not what I was looking for. But we stayed for a week in exchange for a bed.

Armenia is cute little town in the middle of Pereira, Salento and Manizales (I only didn't go there). It was here where my first ride coming from Pereira dropped me two months before. It was a nice town to stay and recharge batteries. We were sleeping in one of the dorms but since the hostel was practically empty (only privates were busy) it felt more like a private.

There's not much to see in Armenia (in my opinion) but I liked it. Not many people stay more than one night because they had a late bus when going to Salento or early bus leaving. But on the other hand, Armenia has a great location and you could make it your base camp for exploring the sorrounding areas which are not more than 50 km away. But not many people do this. They usually arrive in Armenia , change buses and head straight to Salento.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

shouldn't things supposed to be safe here?

This post is going to disrupt the chronological order of the blog but I feel the need to let everyone what happened in Taganga.
While looking for a place to sleep, we left our stuff at the local police station. I was thinking that leaving our stuff there  it was going to be safe... how wrong I was.
I only took my 2 people hammock, water, our passports and other small things.
Maybe I was naive or just stupid to think that the police here was going to be different. Maybe I felt that because "Colombia is not what it used to be 10 years ago" like a lot of Colombians told me before.
We slept somewhere in front of the ocean. The problem with sleeping in public places is that you have to go to sleep late and wake up early.
At around 7 we went to pick our stuff. The staff there  didn't even know that our things were there. When I walked inside the room I saw that my small bag was in a different place and not where I left it the night before and it was half opened.. I immediately thought the worst and indeed my laptop was gone. My camera was still inside because it fell on the side of the books I carry. Paula's camera was gone also. The power cord was (and still is) inside my big bag. I though of leaving it and tell them "give this to the wanker that has my laptop, maybe he can fix it and he will need the cable" but then again, saying that won't help at all in recovering our things.
I talked to the police in Santa Marta and they are "worried and embarrased" of what happened and apologize on behalf of the entire institution. Thank you, but none of that is bringing my laptop back! They are trying to do something about it. At least I would like to think that they are.
That same evening we went back to Taganga with the commander of the station. I we keep pushing things the policeman that received the bags WILL get into trouble. It's not my intention to fuck him up. Doing that won't bring the stolen things back. Karma.
For some strange reason I still like Colombia. Unlike Panama that I wanted to leave immediately. I guess a knife in your stomach can make the difference.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"I'm going back to Cali, Cali, Cali"

I was lazy. Very lazy. In the two days I dind't even go out of the house.

Adrian's dad gave us a ride to around 50 or 60 km from Armenia.

X-3 Pasto Firestation

After taking the bus to the end of the line Hitchwiki says to take another bus to the first peáge, but there's a petrol station a few meters away. Shortly after we were going to Calderón, a nearby city. From there we walked "2 km" to the peáge. Walking there, we stopped in a restaurant to fill up our bottles and empty our bladders. I asked how far was the peáge and the guy told to go with him, he was going to show you. That didn't sound promising. I think the damn peáge was 20 kilometers away!  Hitched there and almost inmmediately found a ride to Otavalo (famous for its market and handycrafts). Then a slow but nice rider (not on the highway) ride to Ibarra. Ibarra is big si I convince the guy to leave us at the end of town. I was opening a can of peaches that Sofi gave us when Paula found a ride, we were eating in a police checkpoint in the middle of nowhere. It was getting late. I wanted to reach Pasto the same day but it seemed  that we weren't  going to make, we were still far (in South American terms) from the border. I started thumbing but nothing happened. No one stopped. Paula started thumbing and found a ride with a trucker and his girlfriend. I thought  in a split second that it was better not to take the ride and wait for (fast) car, but then again, it was in a split second and we were riding the truck. We talked about it inside and decided to change rides. We were in a petrol station somewhere when I found a ride to the border city of Tulcán. I was running to tell Paula when she told me that she also found a ride. We chose the back seat of a recent Kia Sorento instead of the back of the pickup.

The guy was driving fast but it was late. It was already dark by the time we made to Tulcán. After some time I thought no one was going to stop, who would pick up to people stading on the side of the road, at night? Suddenly, a pick up stopped and drove us the last 9 kilometers separating us from the border. We made it to Colombia the same day but Pasto was still some 80 kilometers away. We thumbed at the border check point, nothing. One of the border officers told me that no one was going to take us to Pasto, everybody was going to Ipiales. A couple of cars stopped and I said "Pasto" but they were going to Ipiales. We kept trying but it seemed that his words were true. We took the next that was willing to take us. Once in Ipiales, after thumbing for a while we reached the conclusion that we will have to spend the night there. It was cold. We went to the local firestation and they let us sleep in a dirty old wooden house. There was no way to sleep on the floor, it was filthy and there was waste. Luckily I have a hammock.

Leaving Ipiales was harder than I thought. It took us a few hours. Then I saw a petrol station not far. We started to walk towards it when a car stopped  (with Cali license plates) beside us and asked me if I knew where Pasto was. "Yes, I know where Pasto is. We are going there, can you take us?" After maybe 3-4 hours we were finally moving. But the happiness of getting closer to the firestation didn't last long because the car broke down and some thing was burning under the hood. The driver call road assitance and after about three more hours we were being towed away to the town of Pedregal. We were halfway to Pasto. Despite what the mechanic said, Pedregal was NOT good a place. Paula was thumbing on the right side of the road while I was on the left (under the shade) when a car stopped and Paula called me. The two guys inside didn't like the fact that she was with me. They asked us for money. I said tht we were getting off immediately and they left us in a actually not bad place to keep hitching: before a bridge that was under reparations, there was only one side available so cars had to stop. my personal experience with this kind of place is good. I've found a couple of good rides in places like these. This one was not going to be the exception because we found a ride shortly after. I made sure to tell that we didn't have money to pay for the ride. About an hour later we were standing outside Pasto's  football stadium. From there is was only a couple of kilometers walk uphill to the firestation.

We got to the X-3 Pasto Firestation and what a welcome! I felt right at home! Jhon (he spells it that way), one of the firemen is the one we talk to the most. He gave an original battery for my Nokia phone. They said (again) that we can stay for as long as we wanted. Jhon even offered me to get the vaccine certificate that by the way, the people at the border (don't know which one) made sure to lose the receipt I had.

Since Pasto is not very big and we don't have the money for buses we spend a lot of time inside the firestation. We only took a few short walks around. We only went to the center once. Going to the shop we hitched a ride in the station's ambulance. They were going when I asked them if it was Ok to ride with them. Another first for Colombia. We hitched again the ambulance the day after coming back from the center.

Going South, to Ecuador, the firestation is in the perfect place: in the South of town. But going North, to Popayán/Cali...