South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    I woke up late this morning and looked out off the balcony here at:

    N 7º 06.458'
    W 73º 07.108'

    at puffy white clouds drifting by and thought about leaving Bucaramanga. But in the end I just relaxed all day watching the world go by. I really like Bucaramanga. Not sure why. It has the cosmopolitan flair of a smaller Medellin East. After being above 8000 feet for the last while it was really nice to just hang out on the balcony here at 3300 feet, charge up my solar batteries along with the batteries in the camera and laptop, and watch the world go by. Sunny weather in the 70's is a nice change of pace after the Tres Cordilleras where it was in the 40s or 50s in the upper elevations. Don't let anyone talk you out of bringing warm weather gear to South America if you plan to ride the high mountain passes.

    When you're on a multi-month trip with no destination, sometimes it's nice to kick back and relax for a day and do nothing. I've been doing a lot of that lately. Nothing wrong with that.

    You see so much on these road trips. I think sometimes you need to stop and let it all sink in. So far Colombia has proven to be such a diverse country. It's almost like several countries in one. From the tropical hot mostly black ethnic port of Turbo, to the mostly hispanic hustle and bustle of beautiful springlike Medellin and Bucaramanga, to the 50/50 indigenous/hispanic villages up in the mountains near Venezuela. I could travel around this country for months.

    Some Spanish words used in Colombia that vary from northern Latin countries:

    Instead of Alto for stop, they use the word Pare (PAH-ray).

    Regular gas is called corriente (core-ee-EN-tay).

    Plato tipico is called plato corriente (PLAH-toh core-ee-EN-tay) for the regular dish of the day.

    money is referred to as plata instead of dinero. This actually started in Panama.

    tinto (TEEN-toe) is black coffee.

    Perico (pear-EE-co) is cafe con leche or coffee with milk.

    The Spanish dialect in Colombia varies from the coast to the cities to the mountains. As does everything else.

    more later….
  2. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    729
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    If you just say "toche" at the end of a phrase you'll sound like a real local in that area :rofl

  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    I had to do a google search to find out what this is used for coloquially in the Cucuta area:

    http://www.cucutanuestra.com/temas/africano/toche.htm

    looks like according to #11 it can be synonymous with pendejo.

    First you want me to try the aphrodisiac big butt ants and now you think I should add asshole to the end of my sentences.

    I am hereby making you chief executive officer in charge of Colombia here at the Zombie Apocalypse Travel Agency.

    Saludos,
    Juan Pendejo Toche
  4. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    729
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    :rofl:rofl:roflIt actually means sooo many things... It's like a wild card word, sometimes like new yorkers (especially the italian ones) use the word f*ck, or southerners use the word damn or some others use the word shit. The guy in the website actually starts off by saying that in Cucuta the word toche is actually used even to take a leak...



  5. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,255
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley riding wonderland
    Coño!

    :D
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    My big mission today was getting a haircut. Here is my barber:

    [​IMG]

    Washed my hair, gave me a shoulder massage. She told me I was guano, I mean guapo (handsome). I love Colombian women.

    Came back to the hotel and found this guy:

    [​IMG]

    Gaetan is from Quebec and has come down and rented an F800 from Motolombia for two weeks to see the sights in Colombia. Had fun this evening going out on the town for dinner. I had arroz oriental (fried rice) and Gaetan had what looked like dog. I tried it and it tasted sort of like beef, but the ribs were so small it looked suspect. I couldn't finish my meal it was so big, so let Gaetan finish it. He is a growing boy and can't live by dog alone, or whatever that mystery meat was.

    Gaetan has been lurking on ADVrider and had read my ride report. He came in today from La Violeta hospedaje in Suscaron. So we had plenty to talk about.

    Hasta Mañana mis amigos de aventura,
    Juan Amante de Cuño
    johnthomasdowns.blogspot.com
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    It's a rare thing to find a "real" traveler like yourself John. In my 7 years wandering Latin America I did things similar. I'd take breaks in places I considered little Garden's of Eden and spend time. Being on the road is tough, frequent breaks are good. So many blast through ... in fact about 90% of reports on ADV are that way.

    Great work on the ever changing Spanish terms. I first noticed it with fruit and vegetables and vulgarisms. These terms change several times from Mex. to Argentina.
    Spanish experts claim educated Colombians speak the purest Spanish outside of Spain .. and the best in Latin America. I agree. Mexico City residents also speak a very good Spanish ... but Mexico is so big ... once outside of D.F accents go crazy. Learning slang, colloquial and idiomatic phrases takes time and close listening. Mexico is loaded with them ... and Argentina is hilarious as well and I'm sure Colombia has their own jewels.

    Also note the various slang expressions for "copulate". Pisar (verb, to step down or step on) is an interesting one. Chingar is, I believe, uniquely Mexican. Portenos have a million of them as well, one is Fifar.

    A bus in Cuba is a Wa Wa. A Wa Wa in much of Latin America is a Baby.
    Some really funny mix ups can happen from time to time. :lol3
  8. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,255
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley riding wonderland
    Here is a valuable Spanish lesson... Cubano :D
  9. Cousteau

    Cousteau ...seeking adventure

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Guatemala City / Washington, DC
    Juanito,

    I'm still following along and taking copious notes as I head out in April... So jus a few months to go.

    You may want to check out http://www.tubabel.com ... This a website a friend of mine setup that captures all the slang of the Spanish speaking countries. It's great fun and can be part of your Spanish lessons.

    Safe travels my friend.

    Cheers,

    David
    Cousteau@ADV
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hola Dahveed,

    Great link! Thanks. It looks like Colombia is tops for slang submissions. That site will keep me busy.

    Muchas gracias amigo,
    Juan Largado
  11. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    326
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    :roflLove laguage! I once had a friend of mine running around Tamarindo telling everyone he was "caliente". It did work our well for him a time or two, but man was it funny when it didn't. I told him on the plane home what it translates to for the local crowd :viking .

    Still my fave: Buenos Nachos in place of noches. Always good for a smile from the tough ones to crack.

    More please :ear
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
  13. nimrod

    nimrod Pog Mo Thoin

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Espinazo del Diablo , Tejas
    ¿Que frijole cabrito? - How you bean kid?
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hola Nimrod,

    I bean good. Just got into Cartagena after riding all over the place. 500 miles of high speed wandering.

    Saludos,
    Juan Viajero
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Slept in again and was surprised to see Gaetan in the garage in Bucaramanga just as I was about to leave. He has a giant loop bag that looks perfect for traveling down here on a rental bike. All his things fit and he was strapping it down to the F800 as I headed out.

    Took 45A out of town north for the first 100 miles or so. Great road twisting through the lower elevation hills:

    [​IMG]

    I was on toll roads most of the day. This is what the motorcycle free bypass lane looks like:

    [​IMG]

    There are a lot of Renaults down here. There was a Renault factory in Medellin. I like these older classic mini station wagons called Master. Reminds me of mini cooper station wagons from the 60s:

    [​IMG]

    Speaking of which, I have seen so many Ford, Chevy, GMC and Dodge dump trucks and transport trucks from the 50s and 60s down here. I haven't been able to take any pictures since they are coming at me so fast, but some of them look mint and are awesome!

    I wish I would have had a little ripper Yamaha bike like this kid has when I was his age:

    [​IMG]

    45A was a nice road with plenty of curves, but when it dropped down to the flats and turned into 45 it straightened out. They appear to be making another two lanes over to the side, so it will be a freeway before long:

    [​IMG]

    Really fun road, easy to pass all the transport trucks heading north to the ports of Baranquilla and Cartagena. Straight as an arrow mostly for the next 300 miles:

    [​IMG]

    Stopped to take a break and this guy came up for some pets:

    [​IMG]

    Flying down the highway, I was wringing the Sherpa's neck. Stopped for a pic as the sun slowly sank into the western horizon:

    [​IMG]

    And then it was dark. And I mean new moon dark. Finally hit Santa Marta at 10ish, but it wasn't the beach vibe I was looking for . So headed west to Baranquilla at midnight. Here are the harbor lights:

    [​IMG]

    Carnival was over and it was kind of a hungover vibe, so I kept heading west another couple hours to Cartagena. Now you're talking! This place is nice. I had no idea where to go. Throttlemeister had suggested the Amber hostel in the old town. I headed to the malecon and sat on the rocks and watched the waves crashing on the jetty.The skies are clear here tonight at 3 AM. Lots of stars out with the new moon. I found Orion, but the curious thing is, you can't see the big dipper or little dipper this far south. There are a lot of strange looking constellations to the south. Really throws you off. Not to mention heading north to the coast. At least it was a clear sky today so I had the sun setting on my left as I headed north. But heading north to the ocean is a strange affair. I finally asked two cops where to find the Amber hostel and they led me there. Jean Pierre, the owners son was the night watchman and opened the gates. I tried to hop the two 1 foot stairs but the Sherpa got hung up. Jean Pierre said only one dirt bike has made it up those tall steps. I wasn't it. So he put down a board and I rode up into the lobby and parked the Sherpa. I think I'll stay here for a while. Really nice vibe in Cartagena. I like it!

    Hasta Mañana,
    Juan Cartagena
  16. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,919
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    You sound like me driving until midnight in Colombia:rofl You see the sign for the Volcan on your way? If you go certain days you can go for free and even camp out there have the whole place to yourself or someone you might bring along:wink:

    Plenty of stuff to do in Cartagena and if you stay long enough you can see the Castillo for free on the last Sunday of the month, amazing old fort and worth seeing for free.

    JP is a good kid be sure and tell him I sent you, me and him go back a few years:lol3 Just ask him, but not about a certain shock:evil He can help you find nearly anything you need in town as he knows the place well, I used him as my translator right before I was heading up to Cuba, we went all over Cartagena gathering up stuff.
  17. Packer

    Packer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    336
    Location:
    Scotland, wonderful biking when it's dry (rarely)
    What a journey, what a great report. You should bottle patience and sell it to other travellers. It would double their enjoyment.

    Those little Renaults were around in the '60's & '70's in Europe, called the Renault 4. Engine was a 4 cylinder water cooled initially of about 750cc. The gearbox was in front of the engine and the change was via a lever through the dashboard, over the top of the engine and down to the box. Empty they weighed about the same as a loaded full dress Harley, 650Kgs, 1430 lbs.

    Cornering was interesting, even on the skinny 135 section radials of the day you knew when you were going fast enough as the door handles scraped the ground. Well, it felt that way. Loooonnnng travel torsion bar suspension and soft shock absorbers. Brilliant little cars apart form the propensity to rust.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the hijack, fond memories:D
  18. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,223
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA.
    I had a few R4's too. Really spongy for running cart tracks in France. Renaults answer to the Citroen.

    Thanks John for continuing the report :deal it's just so interesting and informative :ear
  19. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    729
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    Wow. Didn't see that one coming. Here I paste the contents of the email Dad sent me:

    "Para no tener que inscribirme y respetar un sinnumero de reglas, cuando puedas dile a Juan que estamos siguiendo sus aventuras y admiramos, no solo su osadia sino su excelente y fino humor. Como siempre, abrazos."

    Maybe the next leg will be Medellín again and that would be loop #2 :D

    Cartagena is an awesome place to forget about the bike for a day or two and take pics in the old town. I recommend the fruit smoothies from the street vendors. For something exotic ask for jugo de zapote. I'd stay away from borojó unless you get some company :deal
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    I rode around the fort on the way in. That place is HUGE. Definitely have to check it out. And yes, I passed the Volcan mud place. It's only maybe 30K out of town so I'll check to see when the free day is and head over there. Nice to know you can camp up there. Thanks for all the tips amigo. Really appreciate it.

    It was fun meeting Jean Pierre last night. He covered his face and said, " I threw out his fucking spring" when I mentioned I had been recommended to come from my amigo John from Oklahoma. So he still feels bad about tossing your shock.

    I was still wired from riding all day and through the night so sat up and talked with JP until his shift ended at 5AM. He is a really good kid. I see what you mean. Good person to hang out with since he speaks English and corrects my Spanish and I correct his English. Sort of like having a Spanish teacher.

    He got really stoned smoking some buds a friend dropped off while I was updating the ride report. He said the fucking gringos are raising the price of pot in Cartagena. He showed me the handful of buds that cost him 10 bucks. Seemed cheap to me. But what do I know? I don't buy pot. Of course, people like me are part of the problem with raising the cost of living for the locals here.

    Muchas gracias por todo,
    Juan Señor
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.