Gringo in Paradox - Travels in Colombia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    This is the plane in better times. It has a stairway here and no big trees grown up all around it. It was indeed used as luxury hotel rooms. The ladders in place of the stairs, the way it is today, could mean it is not used as a hotel presently. The aircraft type, I believe, is a DC-4. A lot of plane to land on that short field.
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  2. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Moved over to Filandia today. Not that I’ve seen everything. Just starting to get concerned about my rear tire. Seems it is at the wear bars at 7000 km. So I think Cali is the place to get them.

    Yesterday was my last day in Salento and I used it to go dirt riding. There is a road used as a mountain bike trek that is completely un paved and heads toward Mt. Tolima. It is called Salento-Toche. It was one of the best rides yet.

    Heading East the road rises alongside a mountain so you can look back and down and see Salento.
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    A loading chute for farm animals.
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    There were more wax palms. More than you could count. Some single in open pasture and some in thick forests. I was not willing to walk much but here was one right at the side of the road. 99850423-D3DC-43D8-95A2-B6683634D49C.jpeg A51DC764-137C-48FD-9E62-293F8C112C2A.jpeg 731EE2E9-0DD2-48BC-971C-587E8951C247.jpeg
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  3. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Landscapes with wax palms, all from the same road. This is a forest of them.
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    I was lucky to have some good light and short range clarity here. As the mountain got higher later, the fog/clouds rolled in
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  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Stock pens in torn up condition. There is a motorcycle in this photo. A6527241-23BD-49C0-B9E2-A0472C8A9BA9.jpeg

    Strange fog condition. Slightly off the mountain, the fog is thick. On the road there is no fog and visibility is good.

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    Photos of mountains with clouds drifting around them are standard in Colombia. It can provide some interesting effects.
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  5. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Cloud / mountain photos 34359C84-FD62-4F02-AC6B-387CFE07AC8B.jpeg D46C526F-3754-428D-B262-112EE38B3FF0.jpeg
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  6. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I still have some Salento photos but I am still laughing about my breakfast in Filandia, so I am going to share that photo now. I arrived in Filandia yesterday and thought I would try the “best restaurant in Colombia”, which is supposedly Helena Adentro here in town. It was jammed yesterday so I skipped it. Today is Sunday and it is closed. So I went to a local restaurant, a little off the main square. There was no menu so I explained what I wanted and the elderly waitress made some suggestions. I ended up with scrambled eggs with tomato and onion, beans and rice, an arepa and a bowl of hot chocolate. 6000 pesos…less than $2. A new record for cheap eating. This place had several customers when I went in and became overwhelmed with bicycle riders as I left.
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  7. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    When I got back to the hostel my roommate was outside polishing his bike… a KTM 200 Duke. It looks new, with new tires. And he has 1000 km less mileage on it than I do on mine. He was blown away when I took the cover off my bike and he saw it was the big brother to his. The owner of the hostel, David, came out and joined the conversation. The owner of the 200 has his hand on the throttle of my bike. I think he is jealous.
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  8. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Bueno Champe!

    So, meals are almost $3 but one beer is almost $4?
  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Where did you see $4 beer ? One beer in a grocery store is 2000 pesos…60 cents. Same beer, cold, on the beach, 3000 pesos… 90 cents.

    I had a nice chicken dinner with a beer for $3, total, recently. The waiter had to go somewhere else to get the beer for me too.

    Possibly you could spend $4 on an imported beer in an exclusive restaurant with a great view, but I don’t travel in those circles unless someone else is paying.

    Meals can cost whatever you have to spend, particularly in tourist areas. Salento is a good example. Trout is farmed there and is a popular offering around the town square. The cheapest version is 13,000 pesos.. a little under $4, but you can spend double or triple that if you order grilled with mushroom sauce and a drink.
  10. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Some street photos of Filandia
    BMW 350 single, beautiful condition
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    Delivery vehicle
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    Empty streets early Sunday morning
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  11. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Got a new rear tire yesterday. The stock Metzler was really good so I wanted another one to replace it. The nearest KTM dealer is in Pereira, a large city about an hour away. They were closed due to some national holiday but I was told later that they do not sell tires anyway.

    So I went to a motorcycle tire store instead. They specialize in Kenda tires and only had a tire that was slightly narrower. And no machine to mount it. Had to go to another place to have it mounted. Now it is done and tested. Works fine.

    Lonely Planet and my sister had good things to say about a fancy restaurant here in Filandia. It is rumored that Helena Adentro may be the best restaurant in Colombia, even. Of course I wanted to try it. I went by there many times but there was always a line at the door. Not my kind of scene. But last night was a Monday night and there was no line. So I went in and ordered the rabbit sandwich and a coconut/soursop frappe. Both were good but the frappe was good enough to order a second one. It was one of my more expensive meals at 48,000 pesos…$14. And the place has one of the best views in town. 47F6EF06-9FCD-4242-B206-E704A54E7E77.jpeg 0B5AAD92-99AC-4A66-BFC0-E27B02659BF1.jpeg 8DAC4DBF-4F9A-43ED-A91D-B9B7EB0D1E8B.jpeg

    sunset from Helena Adentro
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    This restaurant is kind of ahead in technology. They give you a card with a QR code and you look up the menu on your smart phone.
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  12. GenXrider

    GenXrider Been here awhile

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    Pretty much every half-decent restaurant in Colombia does this now. It was born from COVID and not giving out physical menus that people have to touch and share.
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  13. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    They do that here also and I have a flip phone! Most have a paper copy if you ask
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  14. pro69ss

    pro69ss Been here awhile Supporter

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    Their menu is quite impressive! Zacapa 23
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  15. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Cali

    Filandia is pretty nice and it has some dirt backroads that were fun. But it is time to move on. It is some sort of national holiday today..Tuesday.. and the other two riders at the Filandia hostel said it would be a bad day to travel, especially to Cali. There would be roadblocks by demonstrators at the very least.

    so I went anyway. There was a little roadblock entering the city at a rotary. So you just went outside the rotary… no problem. They were burning something in the middle of the road and directing you around. I got a nice photo of the action and then of the peanut gallery sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer.

    Got to the hostel without issues. This is one with a swimming pool. And motorcycle parking is in a central courtyard, next to my room. The room is a 10 bed dormitory… the largest I have seen so far… but I am the only one in it.

    took my normal stroll once unpacked. Got sent in the direction of some grocery stores but got sidetracked by some large crowds with a lot of street vendors and a live band on a stage. Colombian flags were everywhere. I went trough the whole crowd and started to return when I heard a deep loud bang, like a cannon. I was now headed upwind on Ave. 5. The bang was tear gas and then there were a lot more. Up ahead I could see white smoke and it drifted towards me. There were protestors throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at gangs of police. They returned fire with tear gas. I had to leave, because I was downwind and catching some of it.

    It was difficult to get away because the disturbance was between me and “home”. I had to detour several times because gangs of police were in the way. Eventually I got around the whole mess and was able to watch from an upwind position. I got lots of photos. The road was covered with rocks that were thrown. The upwind crowd was not violent and was not attacked by the police, but whenever police were near , they did take a lot of verbal abuse. They were being called bullies, murderers, assassins, and worse.

    I am sitting by the pool right now, but I have not had a chance to look at the photos.
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  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Some excitement in Cali

    These protestors were throwing some serious rocks. The street is covered with them.
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    This guy kneeling had a 6 foot pipe he was using as a bazooka. He would aim it while an assistant loaded and lit a bottle rocket inside. Their aim was terrible. The one shot I saw hit a garage door.
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    I was there from about 4 to 5:30 in the afternoon. There was a police helicopter circling the area the whole time. When I got back to the hostel there was a military helicopter as well. Back at the hostel there was no sign of trouble.

    There was a lot of anti government graffiti in the area from previous. I was actually hoping the protests were done already. No such luck.

    One good thing I noticed was that private property was not being targeted. That police armored vehicle was targeted though. It was hit by lots of rocks and a few Molotov cocktails.

    I think the police were very restrained. It took them an hour to advance only about a block. They had massive reinforcements in adjoining streets, but did not use them while I was there. The loud explosions from the tear gas were surprising to me. It seemed to me that those should have caused massive injuries but that did not seem to be the case.

    If I was in charge I would have had the police attack the rock throwers with a non lethal method. Like water cannon. Or ink bullets. Mark them for later prosecution. Those rock throwers were very dangerous, using big rocks and throwing them hard and far. I hope at least some of them were arrested, but none were that I could see.
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  17. GenXrider

    GenXrider Been here awhile

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    Welcome to Colombia on Independence Day!

    Love the bazooka photo :-)

    The cops are laid back, but when they do go in, they make it count, and sometimes lethally!
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  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Cane juice.
    On my walk around the Independence Day festivities I encountered a sugar cane juice vendor. There was more than one, but I had never seen one before. They have a cart with a wooden press powered by a lawn mower engine. The raw cane gets fed through, squeezing out the juice. I expected it to be super sweet but it was not. Still somewhat sweet and very refreshing.
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  19. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    You have never seen a Kazuki before ? Now you have.
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  20. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Sorry l misunderstood, you were describing a meal and then said.
    "first beer of the trip $4"
    :photog