COLOMBIA THE BEAUTIFUL PART 1

LET ME JUST SAY. I LOVE COLOMBIA! THE SCENERY, THE VIBE, THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE. FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE TRIP, CHASE AND I SLOWED THINGS DOWN A BIT AS WE WAITED FOR MAC (CHASE´S BROTHER AND ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS) TO FLY INTO MEDELLIN AND JOIN US FOR THE REST OF THE JOURNEY.

SUNDAY JULY 7TH – DAY 32 – SOMEWHERE IN THE CARIBBEAN – CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

After arriving at the docks, Chase and I went straight to the beautiful colonial center of Cartagena where all the hostels are located. We found a cheap one with a nice courtyard, a pool and clean sheets and called it a day. The rest of the day was devoted to relaxing in the pool and emotionally and physically cleansing ourselves from our sea voyage.

Straight to the pool!
Straight to the pool!
Lounging in our Cartagena Hostel.
Lounging in our Cartagena Hostel.
Clean sheets and a great ceiling fan = happiness
Clean sheets and a great ceiling fan = happiness

MONDAY JULY 8TH – DAY 33 – CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

Arriving in a foreign country by sailboat, with a motorcycle, carries with it some customs procedures. Our whole day was practically consumed in getting our passports (with our immigration stamps) back from the captain and then going to the local customs office to get vehicle permits and then the obligatory vehicle insurance.

Lucky for us, somewhere along the line we found two aussies who were doing the same journey on motorcycles. We joined forces for the day and tackled all of the customs hoops together. It was pretty funny swapping stories of our travels. The aussies have found a way to throw out the F-bomb after every other word in a surprisingly charming way. I´ve decided I need to make some more aussie friends when I come home.

A world-class lunch. Chicken, coke and a big ol´bread.
A world-class lunch. Chicken, coke and a big ol´bread.
Walking around Cartagena with the aussies.
Walking around Cartagena with the aussies.
The old colonial portion of the city was awesome. A big portion of the people here were from other countries. It had a great energy.
The old colonial portion of the city was awesome. A big portion of the people here were from other countries. It had a great energy.
Cartagena from one of the boardwalks at night.
Cartagena from one of the boardwalks at night.
Making friends with the locals.
Making friends with the locals.

TUESDAY JULY 9TH – DAY 34 – CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

More relaxing, resting, chillin. Attempted to clean our rusted chains the best we could. Hung out with some british gals for a good part of the day and enjoyed eating the different foods of Colombia.

When we want a cheap/satisfying brunch. This is what it looks like. Egg sandwhiches, bananas and coke.
When we want a cheap/satisfying brunch. This is what it looks like. Egg sandwhiches, bananas and coke.
Attempting to clean/lube our rusted chains before our journey the next day.
Attempting to clean/lube our rusted chains before our journey the next day.

WEDNESDAY JULY 10TH – DAY 35 – CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA – CAUCASIA, COLOMBIA

At this point it had been about a week since we had a full day´s ride and we were both STOKED to see what Colombia had in store for us. 3 days in Cartagena was enough time in one place and we thought we´d wait for Mac in Medellin where we planned on meeting up.

Medellin is famous for a couple reasons, firstly because it was where Pablo Escobar lived during the golden age of cocaine and secondly, because the women here are supposedely the most beautiful in the whole world. You´ve got my attention. The residents don´t like talking about the Pablo Escobar thing but they love to talk about the beauty of the women and their metro system.

But first, getting out of Cartagena was nuts. No other country we´ve been to has so many motorcycles zipping around. They have no respect for space and at one point a motorcyclist behind Chase started nudging his saddlebags to the side in order to move ahead 10 feet at a stop light. After leaving the city, it was a mellow ride through colombian ranches and small towns. We arrived at Caucasia, ate some carne asada and found a hotel for $5 each.

Marshland en route to Caucasia
Marshland en route to Caucasia
typical scenery on the way to Caucasia.
typical scenery on the way to Caucasia.
Pee break in the countryside.
Pee break in the countryside.
Almost at Caucasia
Almost at Caucasia
A pretty typical Colombian meal. Rice, fried banana, salad, a fried egg, and in this case carne asada.
A pretty typical Colombian meal. Rice, fried banana, salad, a fried egg, and in this case carne asada.

THURSDAY JULY 11TH – DAY 36 – CAUCASIA, COLOMBIA – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Our day started out just like any other here in Latin America… But three seconds after starting my motorcycle, IT DIED. It had rained all night long and I suspected water had gotten somewhere it shouldn´t have. We tried bump starting it and it ran for about 4 seconds before it died again and then wouldn´t start. These are the moments you hope don´t happen while you are in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for us, while trying to push start the bike a car mechanic from a nearby shop invited us to bring the bike into his shop and out of the sun so we could make our necessary repairs. The friendliness and hospitality of the Colombian people is right there with the Mexicans.

The guys in the shop all crowded around trying to guess what the problem was. They were all genuinely interested in helping us out. After the mechanics helped me rule out bad gasoline/water in the carburetor, I had no choice other than to take the carburetor apart piece by piece. After disassembling everything and putting it back together the bike barely managed to start but wouldn´t stay running long. It could have been any number of weird electronical problems from the rain the night before but it seemed to be carb related. Again, I took the carburetor apart and found the vent hose had somehow gotten fried shut so the carburetor was trying to equalize the gas levels by sucking air from the fuel line. I clipped the fried part of the vent hose off, reassembled everything and she started up like nothing had ever happened. 5 hours of frustration and fear of being in Caucasia the rest of my life waiting for electronic pieces ended with a quick snip of the scissors. The guys in the shop were all glad to see we solved the problem and they made us promise to stop by next time we travel through Caucasia. Deal.

Leaving Caucasia around 2 pm we got on the road to Medellin, Colombia. From here the road left the countryside and traveled along a muddy river bigger than the Colorado. After an hour following the river we crossed and started heading up a windy mountain pass. It was BEAUTIFUL! We went from 500 feet above sea level in the morning to above 8000 feet in the afternoon. By nightfall we started the descent into the valley where Medellin is and around 8:30pm we arrived in the city. The lights from the tall buildings at night were incredible.

While we were in Cartagena we had arranged for a place to stay a couple nights through couchsurfing.com. A great guy and motorcycle lover from the city, named Juan, offered to host us. We met him near his home and he then guided us back to his 15 story apartment building on the mountain. Again. The view was incredible.

Breakfast before realizing we were kind of stranded.
Breakfast before realizing we were kind of stranded.
Mid way through taking the entire carburetor apart.
Mid way through taking the entire carburetor apart.
Leaving Caucasia, Hoorah!
Leaving Caucasia, Hoorah!
Riding alongside the Rio Cauca. These little geysers were all over the place. The people live along the river on the left but on the right waterfalls come cascading down the cliffs and the locals use the waterpressure  to clean cars and semis here. The geysers are their form of advertising ¨car wash¨
Riding alongside the Rio Cauca. These little geysers were all over the place. The people live along the river on the left but on the right waterfalls come cascading down the cliffs and the locals use the waterpressure to clean cars and semis here. The geysers are their form of advertising ¨car wash¨
Crossing the muddy Rio Cauca.
Crossing the muddy Rio Cauca.
The view from the highway riding up the mountain to Medellin.
The view from the highway riding up the mountain to Medellin.
We were both pretty stoked to find chicken flavored Lays.
We were both pretty stoked to find chicken flavored Lays.
This entire town seems to have been built completely on a 45 degree angle
This entire town seems to have been built completely on a 45 degree angle
Another angle
Another angle
Arriving in Medellin. City of the eternal spring. The jacket was only necessary for the mountains but once in the city, the weather was perfect 24/7.
Arriving in Medellin. City of the eternal spring. The jacket was only necessary for the mountains but once in the city, the weather was perfect 24/7.

FRIDAY JULY 12TH – DAY 37 – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

We woke up the next morning, did our laundry for the first time in a long time and looked through Juan´s Colombian travel books. He was a great resource and had something to say about every motorcycle detour we could possibly make while in Colombia. The three of us ended up going on a nice loop up the southern mountains above Medellin and back down around the other side. Later, we went to our friend Hugo´s house to go swimming with him and his kids. Hugo was the only Colombian aside from the Captain on the “Island Fever.” Hugo, a hostel owner in Panama, is another perfect example of a friendly and hospitable Colombian. He offered to take us down to the Kawasaki dealership the next day to get our rusted chains all sorted out.

Chase splitting one of Juan´s cheesy arepas
Chase splitting one of Juan´s cheesy arepas
The view from Juan´s balcony.
The view from Juan´s balcony.
The start of our loop around the city with Juan.
The start of our loop around the city with Juan.
Climbing the mountain above the city. This road was awesome! It was one lane, one direction. It felt kinda like a disneyland ride.
Climbing the mountain above the city. This road was awesome! It was one lane, one direction. It felt kinda like a disneyland ride.
In the mountains above the city.
In the mountains above the city.
Heading back down the mountain.
Heading back down the mountain.
Oh, Medellin!
Oh, Medellin!
Pit stop with Juan
Pit stop with Juan
The view from the mountain above the city.
The view from the mountain above the city.
This is after I told them to go easy on the sauce.
This is after I told them to go easy on the sauce.
Dinner with Juan at a local restaurant.
Dinner with Juan at a local restaurant.

SATURDAY JULY 13TH – DAY 38 – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

We met Hugo once again at his house at 9am and then followed him around as he asked neighbors for a motorcycle and a helmet to borrow. haha an hour later we were en route to the Kawasaki dealership. It was heaven. Everything we needed and more. We got bought a chain and had another that we already had put on free of charge and bought some new motorcycle oil. We found a hostel to stay at that night and then met up with Juan again, who took us to a friend´s motorcycle shop so we´d have a place to change our oil and throw out the old stuff. After getting back to our new hostel, we showered and got ready for what Hugo promised would be an incredible night on the town. Around 10pm Hugo showed up with his cousin, Luisa and his ex-wife. Paola (argentina), Jan and Evit (slovakia) from our sailing adventure also showed up and we walked a few blocks to the party district. We ended up salsa-bar hopping til about 2am. Me and Chase were both pooped. Paisas (the nickname for people from Medellin) usually go til dawn. At 2am the streets looked like they were still getting busier. I´d never seen anything like it. It was just a normal saturday but it looked like spring break in some party town. Getting back to the hostel we went straight to bed.

Following Hugo to the Kawasaki dealership.
Following Hugo to the Kawasaki dealership.
Love this place. I don´t blame Pablo Escobar for not wanting to get extrodited from this gorgeous city.
Love this place. I don´t blame Pablo Escobar for not wanting to get extrodited from this gorgeous city.
A REAL KAWASAKI DEALERSHIP! Getting the new chains put on.
A REAL KAWASAKI DEALERSHIP! Getting the new chains put on.
With Juan after we changed out our oil at his friend´s shop.
With Juan after we changed out our oil at his friend´s shop.
Look! They´re breakdance fighting!
Look! They´re breakdance fighting!
Our nightly routine here in Medellin. 2 pizzas, 2 hot dogs and 2 drinks.
Our nightly routine here in Medellin. 2 pizzas, 2 hot dogs and 2 drinks.
Photographic evidence to future posterity that I, Aron Procuniar, went salsa dancing in Colombia with one of the locals. Chase had a nice go with the lovely lady in the foreground.
Photographic evidence to future posterity that I, Aron Procuniar, went salsa dancing in Colombia with one of the locals. Chase had a nice go with the lovely lady in the foreground.
Enjoying the Medellin night life with some of our friends from the boat and Hugo´s ex-wife and his cousin, Luisa. Hugo is the one sitting next to Chase.
Enjoying the Medellin night life with some of our friends from the boat and Hugo´s ex-wife and his cousin, Luisa. Hugo is the one sitting next to Chase.

SUNDAY JULY 14TH – DAY 39 – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Early that morning we woke up for church. About a mile away from our hostel. We came back to our hostel and met up with Paola, our Argentine friend from the sailing adventure, for a day trip to La Piedra del Peñol. A big fatty rock that is “a must see” while in Medellin. Again, we cruised through the mountains above Medellin and then into the Colombian countryside where all the rich folks have their summer homes. The rock was big. It was black. And we climbed it. We ended up dropping Paola off in a town near the rock and headed back to Medellin.

We came back just as it was getting dark and snaked our way through heavy traffic. That night Medellin was playing Bogota in an annual soccer rivalry game. Everyone was wearing green and going nuts. We watched part of the game but it ended up being 0-0…

Paola and I arriving at La Piedra del Peñol. Here´s a fun fact.. It´s illegal to have two men ride on a motorycle together in Medellin. This was where Pablo Escobar had his headquarters and apparently many of the shootings/killings occured from two men on one motorcycle. So the police banned it. Apparently, it has helped with violence. Pretty interesting though that women are fine but men aren´t. That would never fly in the US.
Paola and I arriving at La Piedra del Peñol. Here´s a fun fact.. It´s illegal to have two men ride on a motorycle together in Medellin. This was where Pablo Escobar had his headquarters and apparently many of the shootings/killings occured from two men on one motorcycle. So the police banned it. Apparently, it has helped with violence. Pretty interesting though that women are fine but men aren´t. That would never fly in the US.
Riding up to the ¨rock with the best view in the world¨
Riding up to the ¨rock with the best view in the world¨
Paola, stoked for the climb!
Paola, stoked for the climb!
Almost there! The rock looked over one of Colombia´s biggest artificial lakes.
Almost there! The rock looked over one of Colombia´s biggest artificial lakes.
740 stairs later. WE ARRIVED!
740 stairs later. WE ARRIVED!
The three of us on top of La Piedra del Peñol.
The three of us on top of La Piedra del Peñol.
We can´t get enough of this beautiful city!
We can´t get enough of this beautiful city!

MONDAY JULY 15TH – DAY 40 – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

I just received word that Mac will arrive tomorrow night at 7:04 pm here in Medellin International Airport. At which point, our South American party tour can really get started!

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