White Washed Buildings...Fresh Beginnings

Trip Start Sep 09, 2006
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Our first Colombian city, and the official beginning of a long and wonderful road through this marvelous country.  Popayan was an introduction to the beautiful cities of Colombia that we had yet to explore.  Its colonial architecture, whitewashed buildings, multitude of coffee shops everywhere, and kids chasing pigeons in large city squares were all representative of the quaint Colombian cities we would come to know over the next while.  We also can´t forget the spectacular road from the Ecuadorian border that winds through a remarkably beautiful stretch of the Cordillera Occidental in Colombia´s Andes. 

And during the introduction to a new land, a new culture, a new people, we leave behind previous experiences for the time being, and make room for fresh perspectives and new observations that will hopefully reveal the truth about what is truly Colombian.  We planned for a month, but just a few days into this beautiful country, and we have a feeling the calendar is going to be thrown out the window and time will surely slow down here.

- Cafe Madeira serves delicious brownies and cappuccinos.
- Naturaleza y Vida is a good veggie place that serves a full course lunch for 2000 pesos.
- The only real cheapie in town is the Casa Familiar Turistica, 13000 pesos per person.  The rooms are musty and the beds are crap, but the lady who runs the place is nice.
- Despite negative travel advisories coming from every angle, it is safe to travel in the Pasto and Cauca regions.  Roads are secure with military checkpoints.  Just be careful of projectile vomiting coming from the seat beside you! 

- The windy road up from Ecuador - Tips to avoid motion sickness: 
    > Busetas (minibuses) are the way to go through the Andes.  Not only are they more maneuverable and perhaps faster through the winding and climbing stretches, they have windows that can be opened, thus, providing fresh air in your face and ultimately help to prevent a case of the heaves and chucks.  Although more comfortable, the larger luxury buses are climate-controlled and therefore you´re forced to breathe whatever frozen, artificial, semi-breathable gas that comes out of the vents.  We got some strange looks along the way when we´d arrive at a bus station and decline offers from touts of the larger bus companies stating, "no quiero, por que no posible abrir la ventana".  However, do note that if travelling long distance overnight, it´s safer to stick to the luxury buses (such as Bolivariano, Copetran, Rapid Ochoa, or Brasilia) which seem to be more secure....just remember to take some extra layers on board and avoid stuffing your face before boarding.
    > One word...MINT!  It works like a charm.  Always have a supply of peppermint flavored gum or mint candies (not a mild one, buy some that make your eyes water when you bite into them).  We have a stash of Frisk mints and Orbit gum on hand at all times which we sometimes even offer locals when we notice sweat forming on their foreheads, in order to avoid a chain reaction event similar to the one Lard Ass caused in Stand By Me.  And, if you´ve been to SE Asia, you´d know that the ancient Asian secret is to sniff orange peels to keep you from tossing your insides.  It all works...really...22 countries, and we still haven´t spewed once.
   > Sit at the window and, if you can, near the front with a good view of the road ahead.  The perspective this offers seems to confuse your head a lot less, but be warned that along with the frontward view of the road ahead, comes the responsibility to assist with the bus´s acceleration and maneuvering using your telepathic Obi Wan Kanobi force.   It's surprising how you can will the bus to quickly return to its proper lane after passing trucks on narrow bends.  With a seat up front, you will indeed be thinking about the details of your will a lot more .
   > Last but surely not of least importance; if you aren`t one of those blessed with an inner ear or stomach made from impenetrable steel, then skip breakfast and wait at least a few hours into the bus ride before you even think about ingesting something other than your own saliva.  This gives your head a chance to adjust to the 20 G´s of gyroscopic forces that the ex-NASA pilot sitting there in the driver seat is putting you through.

"In Case of Motion Sickness, Request a Plastic Bag"

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sweeetbea on

LOL!! Love your 'maneuvering using your telepathic Obi Wan Kanobi force.' .. how many times I've done this on my lifetime too! LOL

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