Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I needed this. Two firsts for Colombia. Hitchhiking to...

After I left Estonia, back in September of last year, most of the times I had been travelling with someone. Is not that I don't enjoy that, but I needed to be alone. Yes, it's more fun to have someone to talk to when you're walking 3 km uphill to the next truck control... but since I wasn't feeling quite comfortable, there was something that I was missing about my travels in South America. After the (mis)adventure of Cartagena - Medellín I knew that I needed to be on my own.

I thought of spending Sunday night in Medellín so I could leave early but my last shift in the hostel was the evening shift. It turned out that I did the afternoon shift. I didn't have a couch anyway. I wanted to leave no later than 8:00. I was in the bus stop at 7:50. I don't like to start hitchhiking very late (I should had left earlier though) so I was waiting for the first car to stop of the first bus to come. It was the first bus. I got in but it wasn't going to Medellín, yet. I wasted 30 min going to opposite way only to return to where I was standing. 

Finally I got to Medellín center.  I took the metro to the last station and walked maybe a kilometre to the first petrol station. Hitchhiwiki says that it's not a good spot. Better to "take bus/hitch to the next petrol station 4 kilometers after the roas splits" to somewhere. I hitched a ride. My ride, a beer truck. Two firsts for Colombia: motorbike and beer truck.

The driver dropped me off in what I thought it was a good spot, near a place where lots of trucks stop. It wasn't. I saw another petrol station coming up that seemed a better place. Next time if I don't find a ride straight out I will ask to be dropped there. 

This time it was not hot or sunny. Actually it was cool and cloudy, which made my 4 km walk uphill bearable. Finally I arrived to the truck control. I thought it was going to be like the ones I had been before but this one was quite small. I saw some truck drivers and asked but none where going my direction: South. I decided the day before that I was going where the driver was going to, I had two options: Manizales or Pereira.  Suddenly a big truck pulled over and I asked the driver but he said no at the same time he was pointing at the sign on the door: "no se permite llevar pasajeros" (forbidden to take passengers) and giving me a couple of lame excuses. Another truck driver just said no moving his fingers without even rolling down the window.

Some 15 minutes later a small truck pulled over. I asked the driver and he told me to wait while he was doing the control. He walked to where I was seating and asked me if I was alone. I asked  him where was he going and he said "I'm going to Africa". Fair enough. I got into the truck. It was  maybe after half an hour that he told me he was going to Pereria. Pereira it is I though. I have a couch there so no asking in Police/Fire stations tonight.

I left the hostel at 7:50. I was in the first petrol station around 10:45. I was arriving in Pereira (after loading some cargo in Dos Quebradas, part of Pereira metropolitan area) at 18:00. Finally getting to Juan Pablo's (big) house in Pereira around 19:30. Almost 10 hours! Will I make it in one day from here to Bogota?

Antonio told that going to Manizales was not very good for hitchhiking, there aren't many truck going that way. It's better to go through Armenia and Ibagué. Lots of trucks heading that way. I still could go to Manizales. I still have a week to get to Bogota. But I want to explore Colombia with Paula. Besides, I need to go the clinic and also to the Peruvian embassy. So, the earlier I get to Bogota, the longer I will have to do all that.

Oh yeah, the two first for Colombia are:
- hitchhiking a motorbike, and
- hitchhiking a beer truck

Where the hell is the hippy van!?

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