It’s been an experience. For someone who’s never travelled alone until this trip, I’ve done a lot of new things on my own. I’ve also never been happier than when I saw Brian’s taxi arrive at the AirBnB in Cartagena and I knew the alone part was over!
The volunteering was really great – and really hard. I have a lot of respect for all teachers, and day care workers and babysitters. And parents. But day care workers? Wow. 26 2 year olds. In 33 degree heat and humidity and no air conditioning. Impressed. Next steps? Knowing I will never be a child care worker but still love to play with kids and having the utmost respect for those who do that every day.
The home stay was also great. Warm and welcoming people and a different world for me. I definitely got to use my limited Spanish. Next steps? Spanish classes or a tutor back in Toronto. I went to a couple of language exchange meet-ups, in Cartagena and Medellin, and will seek those out in Toronto now.
I hated it. I am not a bus person to begin with. I need gravol for my motion sickness. This bus ride was supposed to take 4 hours and it ended up as 6 1/2. Plus it was 6 1/2 hours of windy roads. Non stop windy roads through mountains.
These roads were filled with trucks. Trucks that can’t handle windy roads up and down hills, so have to stop and wait at every single turn until there is enough room for them to navigate. Some of these waits lasted 15 minutes. Some felt like they were taking 30 minutes.
Brian said it was going to be worth it for the views. Nope. This wasn’t Big Sur or the Ring of Kerry. Not worth it. Hated it. Should have flown.
Don’t listen to everything Lonely Planet writes. There is a very famous restaurant a half hour north of Bogotá called Andrés Carne de Res – Anthony Bourdain has been and they seat up to 2,000 people at a time! We had already determined that it was too far for us to go so had kind of gotten it out of our heads. Well, last night we were having a beer at a local breweryin a Bogotá barrio called Zona Rosa and noticed that Andrés DC, an outpost of this famous restaurant, was right around the corner from us. Lonely Planet said it wasn’t worth it if you couldn’t go to the original. I am glad we ignored that note!
While not big enough for 2,000 people, Andrés DC is still a big place. Four stories of food, drinks, people, lights and music, it is also a feast for the eyes, ears and palate! Zona Rosa is an upscale barrio with a lot of high end shops and restaurants and while most places were closed or just not that busy on a Sunday night, the brewery and the restaurant were both pretty crowded.
So I got to Cali late last night – too late for me to go out, I was beat – and woke up early today to see the town. From my searches online and with my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook, I found a lot of good things to see and do!
I started with a taxi from my hostel, Pelican Larry. I have a private room and access to a shared bathroom, which is all I need. Clean and with hot water! My room has a fan which had the dual purpose of keeping me cool and drowning out outside noise.
Those who’ve travelled with me know I like to pack light. This is a long trip, though: I’ll be gone for 5 1/2 weeks and I want to have workout clothes, working clothes, beach clothes and going out clothes! Plus shoes! You ladies know what I mean.