Thanks so much, everyone! Looks like this will be the last installment on South America, so I need your help. Should I continue this RR, even though much of the rest of the story is already documented in Paul's thread, or is it time to wrap it up?:) Cast your vote! (since there is no option to create a poll, just click "like" on this post if you want this RR to continue). *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** For a brief moment, I lay very still. The popping sound was definitely gunfire; for a second, I hoped it was just fireworks, this was Colombia after all, why wouldn't there be fireworks at five AM - but then I remembered what I kept seeing on the roads in Putumayo. Not exactly party supplies. Eventually, I decided to go find out what was going on. A tent isn't much of a fortress, anyway, so I crawled out, blinking at the bright morning sun. Other campers, equally bewildered, congregated at the campsite office, unsure of what to do. Who's shooting? At what? Why? Lush green tree leaves were dripping with dew, the rising sun heating up the earth, and everything felt so bright and so painfully alive. "It's a robbery gone wrong", - the campsite owner, a tall, lanky blonde Dutch, finally announced. "I just got off the phone with the local police. Apparently, some armed people tried to hijack a taxi, but a police patrol happened to be driving by and there was a shoot out. The taxi driver is OK, so are the police officers. The bad guys... not so much", - he explained nervously. Relieved but still a little on edge, we all went back to our business. There was no point in trying to sleep now - the heat was rising, so I located some coffee, packed up, and left. Heading north, Colombia felt like a green, hot and humid blur. Vivid green mountain slopes and pastures, green coffee farms, muddy rivers and more shades of green across the rolling hills; and it rained most of the time: large drops, sheets of water, slow but unrelenting drizzle - Colombia was drenched in water, and I felt like I was traveling a strange, melancholy planet from one of Ray Bradbury's stories, "The Long Rain". Sid was still going strong, but everything else was in tatters. My construction boots had given out, so I purchased a pair of hideous rubber boots to keep my feet dry, following the lead of local farmers. Everything was constantly damp, nothing ever dried, my saddlebags were barely holding together, my tent kept falling off, and my bank account was looking sadder and sadder each day. I knew this was the end; last few hundred miles, last mad gallop towards the Caribbean, and then what? I rode on slowly, and my face was always wet, from the rain, most of the time, and sometimes from tears, and there was nothing I could do. I should have gone straight to Bogota, but in my feverish mind, I wanted to reach the Northernmost point of South America, to see the Caribbean, to put the last dot on the last i, and then come what may. But Taganga Bay, a small fishing town on the coast of the Caribbean sea, didn't feel Hemingwayan at all. Packed with young backpackers, drug dealers, beach bamboo bars and sleazy night clubs, Taganga Bay felt more like a gap year refuge than a quiet native village. The fishermen were still there, the boats and the turquoise blue water were still there, but the spirit had gone. There was nowhere else to go. I couldn't afford to keep going, the Darien was impassable, and I finally ran out of everything - road, resources, and will. I knew I had to go back to Europe, probably get my old job back, probably save up and then hit the road again. Africa, perhaps? Asia? It all felt surreal. I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that this was now over. Rolling slowly towards Bogota, I bargained with the universe. A few more days, one more week... Bogota welcomed me with endless rain again. It rained, and it rained, and it rained. I booked a one way flight home. Sid stood on the curb in front of the hotel, suddenly so small and lonely. I had to do something about it. Sergio, a Colombian rider I'd met previously in Peru, invited me for aguardiente and offered help. We visited motorcycle dealers and sellers in Bogota; nobody wanted Sid because of its Peruvian registration. For parts, then. Reluctantly, I handed the keys over to one of the dealers. There was nothing else to say. Sergio shook my hand and wished me luck. See ya. Yeah, some day. I got into a cab. Twelve hours later, I walked out into a cold, starry Vilnius night. I stood there for a moment, on the steps of the Vilnius airport, my tattered backpack by my feet, Sid's Peruvian license plate, still covered in road dust, tucked safely among my sparse belongings. My dad came to pick me up. It was almost midnight. "Hi, dad", - I sad, not quite knowing what to do with my hands. "Hi", - dad said. "October is unusually cold this year".