The Motorcycle Diaries.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Oh my ass hurts. I guess it's about how Alberto Granado felt when he was riding around South America with Che on their noisy 1939 Norton 500cc. Except I am here in Colombia with Anibal, a local from San Agustin. I am a passenger on his Kawasaki KB 125cc. We are driving up and down and left and right, on bumpy and dusty gravel roads in the beautiful green mountains around San Agustin. Visiting the statues and tombs at Alto de los Idolos as well as the waterfalls of Salto de Bordones and Salto del Mortino. One of the main reasons my ass hurts, other than me being a passenger on an uncomfortable motorbike, is because I went horseback riding yesterday. For the second time in my life or so. Galloping around in the mountains for several hours among gorgeous scenery, visiting the Parque Arqueológico at San Agustin as well as other nearby sites.

I came to San Agustin with Angelo, a friendly Dutch guy I met in Cartagena and then again in Popayán. It took us five hours or so to get here from Popayán, crossing the mountain on a bumpy bus ride. The whole road more or less packed with soldiers. We are staying at friendly Casa de Nelly just outside San Agustin. Here we meet Helena, the kind Slovenian backpacker, as well as Ranja from Sweden. Her parents are from Palestine, but she grew up in Sweden. She is only 24, but extremely clever. Working in Colombia for five years as an University teacher in Software Engineering. Apparently she started school when she was about three, both reading and writing, and University at the age of 14. Except for that, she seem to have been around the world several times, and speaks a myriad of languages. Makes me feel like the broken rusty old screwdriver in the toolbox.

Oops, is that a flat tire? "Anibal, how do we fix a puncture up here in the mountains? I haven't seen a soul around for hours." Turns out that Anibal has been around before. He got most of the equipment needed, and to fix the two punctures in the tire itself, he uses a piece of nylon string tightly tied around the holes. Amazingly it works, and we continue our journey somewhat delayed. After eight hours I am happy to be back in San Agustin. I invite Anibal and two of his kids for dinner and billiards that same night, and Anibal is so grateful that he invites me for breakfast the next morning, with his family, at their very spartan apartment. Anibal, his wife and three kids share one small room. It´s bedroom, living room and dining room all in one. The kitchen and bathroom is outside in the "backyard." No matter what, the eggs and aquapanela (unrefined sugar melted in hot water) both taste great. Then Anibal checks the bus times, and drives me and my backpack 10km on his motorbike to the junction where I need to catch the bus to my next destination.

I start to understand the travelers I have met who say they love Colombia.
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