Final prep....

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, October 15, 2012

We spent six days in Red Deer preparing for our trip. It was pretty chaotic and stressful.  We needed so much stuff and most of it was really specific, i.e. light weight or small or cycle touring related.  Kory had managed to get most things sorted for the bikes but there were still lots of things we needed to sort out or buy.  We spent five hours in MEC on the Saturday and spent about a thousand dollars, on sleeping bags and jackets and bits and pieces that we needed.  We were pretty stressed out and really wished that we had spent a bit more time getting ourselves organised earlier on.  Oh well, I would say that we will learn our lessons for next time but we probably won't because neither of us work unless under pressure. 

We spent some time with Kory’s family, including having a Thanksgiving meal, an evening carving pumpkins and a session in the hot tub.  It was great to meet them properly and to spend some time with them.  It was just difficult because they clearly wanted to spend lots of time with us and we were just trying to keep how stressed out we were both getting under wraps. 

On the last day before we left we were up at 6.30am to get our final things that we needed.  You know, just simple little things, a laptop, a camera, bike shorts, walking trousers, sandals…etc, etc the list goes on.  Well we managed to get most of the things sorted, and then we went back to the house to pack up and put the bikes into boxes.  I spoke to my parents on skype for a bit too, which was good.  Things were finally coming together, Kory went off to sell his van and pick up his shoes that had been mended, really poorly though.  Not sure how long they will last for? 

We had dinner, I asked Jordon and Leah to do the final seal up of the boxes and after a quick un-packing of everything again, because I couldn’t find my laptop charger we were finally off.  Kory’s folks drove us to the airport and there was a slightly emotional goodbye, not from us though because we were both more worried about the practicalities of getting the bikes on to the plane.  We were fairly concerned about all the usual things, how much do the boxes weigh, will they unpack them both, how much will it cost to put them on, will they arrive safely, or at all, will they get damaged, and then after all that what will happen when we arrive? 

The check in part was fairly simple, the ladies debated between themselves if it should be 50 or 70 dollars and then they decided on the smaller figure, sweet!  We wheeled the boxes over to the oversized luggage guy who decided that we needed to unseal the boxes to check for drugs.   Surprisingly he didn’t find any, so we were free to tape the boxes back up for the third time in one evening.

The flight left at 00.05, so we were pretty tired as we waited for the plane.  Kory bumped into someone he knows from the fire but can barely remember the conversation because our brains were so fried.  The idea of landing into a country where we don’t speak a word of the language was definitely on our minds, especially when having huge, awkward boxes too.  We were pretty nervous about everything again, the heat, the humidity, the language barrier, being ripped off and on top of that Colombia has quite a reputation for being dangerous.  If you don’t get robbed, stabbed or raped, you’ll get run over or somehow duped into a drug run or caught by the corrupt police.  We felt far and away from the relative familiarity of Asia.  I repeatedly said to Kory "why can’t we be normal people who are happy to stay in their home towns and holiday in Spain?"

The flight went without any problems, but we noticed that even on the Air Canada flight they spoke the Spanish first and replied in broken English.  We also noticed that there were more local looking people than foreigners on the plane. 
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