Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Where did you learn Spanish?"

So I thought was in Pereira but not quite yet. I was in Dosquebradas (part of the Pereira's metropolitan area). It was around 16:00 when I was there. Antonio asked me to help him load some shit on his truck and then drove me to the main road going into Pereira. I though "why didn't he drop me off there before going?". When I was going to ask a girl where the hell I was and how the hell I could walk to the main terminal, she asked me if I needed help. Not only she helped me but she walk with to the terminal. But the terminal was faaar away. In some fancy area I used some of those "minutos" people (people that rent mobiles to call for 200$) and call Juan Pablo. He picked me up there and went to his flat.

Pereira is a lovely town. According to him "there's nothing much to do but the nightlife is awesome". Pereira is not very big. You can walk basically everywhere and there are several parks, something I love in a town.

One morning Juan Pablo and I were talking and he asked me where did I learn how to speak Spanish. I said that I learnt in my home country but I immediately realized that didn't actually even suggested anything. My home country could be anywhere, so I said :"I'm Guatemalan".

In total I stayed with Juan Pablo for three nights. He's an awesome host! He know the city very well and he pointed me in the right direction to start hitchhiking towards Bogotá. Even though the distances between some cities is not really big, I've learnt that in Colombia even if it's only 300 kilometers it can take up to 8 (or more) hours to reach your destination.  Exactly because of this I wanted to leave no later than 8:00 and I was aiming to get as far as Ibalgué. I left past 9:00 because Juan Pablo wasn't awake and I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye.

I was walking along the road towards the exit to Armenia, thumbing at the same time. Nothing happened. Kept walking and thumbing. Nothing happened, again. Saw some really nice shit along the way while walking and thumbing and nothing happening. Stopped in front of a motel which had a should so cars could stop but.. you guessed correctly: nothing happened. Some road workers using a theodolite told me that the bomba (petrol station) was only "a kilometer away, just at the top of that hill". Ok, I said to myselt, it's neither 1 kilometer away and it's not going to be at the end of that hill. I began to walk and ran into a road construction site. There was a long line of vehicles. The first driver I asked agreed to take me. That was when I realized that thumbing is not going to work for me. It's easier, faster and better to ask drivers any time I have the chance, regardless if it is a bomba or a construction site. Maybe things will change when I start hitchhiking with Paula, but so far alone, thumbing is jut not working. The driver took me to Armenia, some 50ish kilometers from Pereira. He drove me to the side of town with the exit towards Ibalgué and Bogotá. I've heard that Armenia is lovely but I couldn't see anything, I just asked some people where the closest bomba was and started walking again. The distance between Armenia and Calarcá is 7km. I almost walked the entire 7km! I ran into another construction site and started asking cars with "BOGOTA DC" or "STFEDEBOGOTA" license plates only to be turned down. Walked behind the fence, dropped my bags and sat. Then, to my surprise the driver of a kombi I asked only 2 minutes before stopped and told me to get in. I thought he was taking me to the next bomba because they told me they were going not far but to my surprise they drove ALL THE FUCKING WAY TO BOGOTA! 

The road from Pereira to Bogotá is full of awesome landscapes. You have to climb to the top to the Cordillera Central, at the Alto de la Línea and then go down. Starting from Ibalgué there are hardly windind roads. The government is building a new road, full in bridges and even a few tunnels. Actually, one tunnel is already open for traffic. The tunnel didn't look that different from the tunnels in Europe, I only noted 4 differences: 1. The length of tunnel wasn't written on the sign at the entrance, 2. I've seen in Europe that they have the distances to both ends of the tunnel i.e. 1250m/750m. Not in this one, 3. the vehicles were similar bot not the same. You can see more European carmakers represented in Guatemala than here, with the exception of Renault which has a manufacturing plant in Colombia and 4. NO ONE was driving under the speed limit (60kph). The tunnel that is being built is going to be among the longest in the world, La Línea is going to be among the longest tunnels in the world. The driver told me that the tunnel is not completed and that the two ends still have to meet somewhere inside the mountain... It's completed and it's scheduled to open next year. The driver told that the tunnel is 35km long... it's 8,5km making it the longest in Latin America when fully functional.

After a quick stop in Cajamarca (seemed like a cute little town) and ate a (some kind of) potato soup I finally arrived in Bogotá, despite all odd and after only 10 hours! by the way, it was the first time in my two weeks of hitchhiking in Colombia that I finally reached 120kph instead of the average 40kph I was doing. 

Now, I've been in Bogotá for the past week, freezing my ass because it's cold and rainy but I still like it. People here is really nice. My laptop broke so I posted an thread in one of the Bogotá forums and received immediate replies and got the laptop fixed! Thanks Javier and Mauricio!

Bogotá is huge. Has a very complicated bus rapid transit system: Transmilenio and even more complicated bus system. Freshly arrived in town I asked some people where I needed to (Yasmin's flat) and I had 3 people helping me! One of them even walked with me to the transfer station. Bogotá is nice but the weather sucks! Well, I got what I was hoping for no? I didn't want warm weather anymore, and this is definitely not warm all right!

Tonight, finally Paula arrives and yet another leg of my travels will begin. I've been waiting for this moment for the last 5 fucking months! Yes, I'm fucking counting! Sue me! 

1 comment:

Erick Bonilla said...

Hola Ron.. me llego a mi correo tu historia por medio de couch surfing... no se si estas viviendo en Colombia pero quisiera que supieras que vivo en Quito, Ecuador.... tambien llevo tiempo viajando como mochilero y pense que era el unico que habia renunciado a su trabajo y le tiro la carta de renuncia en la cara al jefe jajajaja soy de la ciudad de Guatemala y en Agosto hare el viaje a Argentina a ver si te animas a venir conmigo y mi esposa.

Te voy a dejar varios links sobre mis viajes y espero que podamos coincidir en proximas aventuras juntos como Guatemaltecos... una abrazo hermano de viajes jajajaja.

en youtube pone mochilachapina junto y te van a salir los videos.

y por ultimo en facebook tambien busca mochila chapina.