From the Cheap Seats into the Northern Hemisphere

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Black sheep hostel

Flag of Colombia  ,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

With our first possible available lie in for what seems like weeks I was up at 6:00 and managed to find some football highlights on the TV (Yes that is right a TV gosh its strange), and also managed to finish another book. When Erica woke at about 8am we went down for breakfast and had a marvellous mango, then omelettes with bread etc.

The Canadian ladies were at breakfast and were generous enough to donate a book to get us through the last month and also a wifi password to publish a couple more blogs. The taxi arrived a little early so we loaded up the bags and found just enough space for us to jump in the boot. I think we were all amused at the situation with what could be about 3 hours locked in this position.  But we were up for the experience and busily planned our next foray on the way.  To be fair the taxi ride was ok, we did get quite a lot of fumes from our own car oddly enough which did lead to a bit of stinging of the eyes but hey it was nothing in comparison to a day in a chinese city. After about 2 hours we arrived at our stopping off point we had arranged with the taxi driver Minto del Mundo, the centre of the earth, or the equator as we probably know it better. Did you know you weigh less on the Equator than anywhere else in the world?

After paying a couple of entrance fees, one to get in (2 Dollars) and one to climb up the monument and have a quick look around a museum (3 Dollars) we were fairly underwhelmed with the place, it has lots of shops, bars and restaurants but not much else. Still it was a significant moment for us as it gave us the opportunity to step back over the equator into the Northern Hemisphere for the first time in a very long time it seems. It was significant as looking at our bank balance it will probably be a long time till we step foot in the southern hemisphere again after today. So we made the most of it.

After chatting to the ladies some more we jumped back in the jeep to get us to our drop off point Quito airport, this was the last flight on our South American Airpass, which Erica could not wait for as she had now done about 4 or 5 flights with the tickets in the wrong name. We said our goodbyes and the ladies picked up the cab fare with us donating a tip to the driver.  That was so kind of them. We said our goodbyes and look forward to some comments from them on the blog when they get back home. We checked in with lots of funny looks at the LAN desk as they couldnt find Erica's booking, then were horrified to find a huge leaving tax. A quick tip, the South America airpass is a steal if you want to go to Easter Island but don't fly out of Quito get the bus as the tax is horrific (41 Dollars each).

The flight passed fairly uneventfully bar me nearly passing out and then almost being sick in the sick bag, not sure what happened but I just starting sweating like a pig then went dizzy. I was fine by the time we landed though and I have to say that Colombia even just from the air is possibly the nicest and most picturesque country we have seen from the air. We landed in Medellin, famous for.... well having been the murder capital of the world only 14 years ago and for Pablo Esquabar and the drugs trade. Dont worry though Medellins murder rate has dropped from 6,000 per year down to 600 per year which I guess is still probably quite high for a city with about 3.5 Million people, but anyway it isnt 6,000.

We avoided all the taxi drivers and found a city shuttle bus that we jumped on for 7000 peso each (we had no idea how much this was a the time). This took about an hour and took us through some wonderful scenery and with the sun setting behind the mountain we really had already started to get a picture why Colombia is so often highly regarded by the people we have met.

When the bus stopped I have no idea where we were but it was just on the side of the road, it was dark and there were lots of kids asking for money trying to control the taxis, they were just a bit of an annoyance as they would try and send taxis away from us as we wouldnt pay, most other people seemed to though. After a few failed attempts we finally got a cab and found the Blacksheep Hostel. We had a quick beer and listened to tales from guys who haven't left Medellin after a month because of the beutiful girls who are very attracted to gringos. Oh yes we are interested to get out but knackered but Colombia is the plastic surgery capital of the world, perhaps this is what they are talking about. We walked out at about 9pm and found a taco place which did a taco for about 2 with tortillas and a coke (of course the brown fizzy kind). We did however head back straight away as we just cant shake off the tiredness.

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