As we queued up to file through customs we walked past an open door and felt a gust of cold wind hit us. We had been expecting a hot, humid, sticky heat but it appeared that the heating was on the airport and it was cold outside. Well, that was a surprise. Obviously there was the usual procedure of us not having the customs form, then not having a pen, then having to try to wheel two huge bike boxes out through the airport, but eventually we made it.
A smart looking guy in a suit called to arrange a large taxi for us, due to the huge boxes
. We knew we were probably being charged twice the price that we should’ve paid but there wasn’t much we could do about it. The young taxi driver confidently nodded that he knew where our hostel was, so we loaded the bikes and hopped in. It didn’t take long for us to realise that he did NOT actually know where our hostel was, as he stopped repeatedly to ask pedestrians and to phone his friends numerous times for directions. I got out a map that we had been given in the airport and with my limited Spanish tried to direct him. He followed the directions but didn’t seem to appreciate my assistance (probably not helped by the fact that I’m a girl, of course).
Finally we arrived at Hostal Fatima, which was a funky backpacker’s hostel with lots of dorms, a few private rooms and lots of hang out areas with hammocks. We lugged our heavy boxes up the stairs and smiled at the curious looks from the backpackers; we don’t ever carry off the "travelling light" look. By this time it was about 4.30pm, and we had managed to get minimal, broken sleep on the flight so Kory and I tossed up what to do next to get the most sleep. We were also concerned because we had heard so much about Colombia and that it wasn’t safe for us to walk around in the city after dark. We decided not to nap even though we really wanted to but to grab dinner before it was dark and then to get an early night
. We went for a little walk along a couple of the streets and found a place selling Empanadas
, which we has read a lot about in a book about a kiwi chick who had cycled here. We thought we should test them out; they were shaped like a pasty, with a fried dough on the outside and filled with rice and chicken. They were pretty good, and very simple. We had a couple each and they filled us up. We were too tired to even test out a Colombian beer on our first night. From our first impressions the area that we were staying in seemed safe enough, there were hardly any homeless people or beggars and there were street lamps to help us see the way to go. The roads were all easily numbered in numerical order to help our navigation and there was a proper pavement; very civilised compared to some places we have been to. After our quick snack dinner, we were exhausted and in bed by 7.30pm. Thankfully the hostel was quiet and we managed to sleep well for 14 hours!
As we flew over Colombia into Bogota, the first thing we noticed was how hilly the country looked, the second was how green and covered in vegetation it was and lastly how wet it was. It looked as wet as India did as we flew into Chennai, over the monsoon, flooded rice paddies. It looks like we've done it again, with our uncanny ability to arrive into the country in their wet season…with bicycles!