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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    My blog here talks about the Popayan, Pasto, Mocoa area, which I passed through and stayed at recently. Several days with locals in Garzón. No issues with criminals. There was rain and landslides there though so maybe they were laying low.

    The US State Department has marked all the border states in Colombia as red (high danger) and says they will not assist anyone in those areas, and prohibit their own employees from going there. I think they are close to useless at best.
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  2. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Local warnings.

    In Bogota, I was warned about Cartagena, to the northwest, being dangerous.
    In Santa Marta I was warned about Palomino, to the northeast, being in dangerous. In Palomino I was warned that Riohacha, to the Northeast was dangerous. In Riohacha I was warned that Uribia, to the northeast, was dangerous. It seems wherever I am heading is dangerous. This whole area is a border state with Venezuela so you can say it is all dangerous.

    These people all have my best interests at heart, so of course it makes me more vigilant. But procedures are the same everywhere. Don’t give the papaya. (No dar la papaya). Do what you can to stay safe.

    And don’t run around with more than you can afford to lose. Goes for the bike as well as personal stuff.
  3. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    So my sailing friend, Sara, is an online Spanish teacher. She speaks good English, having spent some time in the states. She is real Colombian though, from Bogotá. If you want Spanish lessons I might give you contact info.
    6AC7070C-B934-49D9-8CA2-7F546A3BB73E.jpeg
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  4. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Bike fixed

    The Bajaj 200 fan arrived about noon yesterday (Saturday). The housing was completely different and it was not marked Spal. But I took it to try. The connector and core were duplicates of the original except for color and brand.

    Of course it started raining shortly after I got the part in my hand. But around 4 PM it stopped so I ran the bike and all the parts over to my sidewalk garage. First I plugged in the new fan and let the bike heat up. The fan worked great, came on at 4 bars.

    John was trying to rig some wires for a direct to battery test while I proceeded with my test. So his test became irrelevant before he even had the wires rigged. But he was anxious to do the installation so I let him go from there.

    I thought we would have to switch the core of the fan over to the old housing but John tried to make the new fan work as is . I was kind of surprised when it bolted right up and even fit in the old location. It does blow the air straight down now, instead of back like it used to.

    Food

    I still think the illness I felt last week was from food. But not seafood. Since then I have eaten fish a couple of times. So far I have never had a problem with it. I do taste it carefully at the start. Old fish tastes fishy.

    There is a fruit drink that is commonly sold everywhere that I have been leery of. I asked someone the name of it and they called it …fruti-fruti. There must be a better name. Anyway, my thought was that with so many different fruit types floating in it and the hot climate, there would be inevitable contamination.
    But this drink has been talked up as being really good too. So I just yesterday tried my first one:
    AEE70B35-0ABC-41F9-8AC7-D4AFB8FA73E0.jpeg
    This one was very good. 2000 pesos. Standard street price for most things.
  5. GenXrider

    GenXrider Been here awhile

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    Glad the fan worked out.

    That looks like "Salpicon" to me. Popular in Medellin and on the north coast.
    Over the years I have drunk/eaten liters of the stuff with no ill effects to date :-)
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  6. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    Blowing down may be a blessing in hotter climates!

    Glad you got it fixed and good idea to test it before installing.

    Now ride!
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  7. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Salpicon ,Tuti Fruti
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  8. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Wiki confirms salpicón. Seems the word means …medley… and as a culinary term means different things in different places. In Colombia it is this fruit cocktail in watermelon juice or other liquid. It could be orange juice or a carbonated drink. In Mexico or Central America it would not be a drink at all. It would be a salad with pieces of flank steak.

    tuti fruti is easier to remember
  9. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Robbed

    This afternoon I went for a ride toward Taganga, a small town to the Northeast famous for dive shops and boats to Tayrona. There are some poorly marked roads close to the ocean that I wanted to explore there. Mostly they are routes to resorts. But there is one that connects them.

    I found it. You start at the road to the resort called Playaca. It branches to the left, bypassing the resort and hugging the hillside toward the ocean, and heading back toward Santa Marta.

    The road gets smaller and smaller so I parked the bike when the single track was so narrow that you were constantly brushing the bushes. The scenery was fantastic so I walked further. I was thinking it was a romantic spot and the bike could have made it.

    Suddenly four guys came running down the trail. The first one had a long black machete and cocked it when he got to me. Another went around behind. The guy demanded all my stuff. I had my Canon in my hand and I gave him that. He wanted more so I gave him my fake wallet. He wanted my phone too and we argued about that. I told him I didn’t have it but he didn’t believe me. I was wearing only light clothes so they frisked me some and were satisfied that I had no phone.

    The phone was back on the bike in the backpack on the seat. The key was in my pocket. Lucky they didn’t get it all.

    There were four cops at the end of the dirt road as I was leaving. I told them, dreading the paperwork. But they really did not care. A local rider stopped and helped translate. We all went down to the station and a couple guys on a bike were dispatched. They did not expect to find anything. The only cop remotely interested was reluctant to take my phone number. I wonder if it is in the circular file already.

    You all know that I was aware that this stuff happens. I actually have another fake wallet in case of what happened. Only I left that one in Bogotá. Trying to travel light.
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  10. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    Yikes.
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  11. GeoAggie

    GeoAggie Adventurer Supporter

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    Always the voice of reason in this entertaining thread! Thanks for your input. Are you in mining as well?
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  12. GeoAggie

    GeoAggie Adventurer Supporter

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    Scary stuff indeed Champe, stay safe.
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  13. Scribe

    Scribe £Bob£

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    In my natural state
    Never good when someone threatens you with a machete. It sounds like you stayed cool, though, and were planning for just such an occasion. I'm happy to hear you are OK.
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  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Could have been much worse. Or better.

    I had offered a ride to a blonde English girl…Luca, the day before. So glad she was not with me. The translator guy told me at the police station that the point of land I was on was very dangerous. That a girl was raped there earlier the same day.

    Of course I have a solution to the problem. American gun rights. My Colt officers model lightweight .45 would have made a big difference .
  15. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Something positive.

    The Duke is back in action again, but the last week I hardly rode it because of the oil and fan issues. So I had more than the normal time for Duolingo, the language app. There are a lot of game features including league play. If you score in the top 5 one week, ending on Sunday, you advance to the next higher league. There are seven levels. I have been in the Diamond (top) league for several months. There is some recognition for scoring #1 in Diamond league and I have done that too. Last week I did that for the third time. Yay me.

    You would think my Spanish would be pretty good from that, but you would be wrong. It is good enough to do normal stuff, but not enough for an in depth conversation. There is still half the course to go, so of course I am going to continue .
  16. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Minca

    There is a small town about 40 minutes inland from Santa Marta, known for ecotourism and as a hippie hangout. I have been through it several times to ride the dirt roads beyond it. There are a few nice waterfalls in the area and it has a little elevation so it is a little cooler than Santa Marta. Usually I have spent a few hours at a time here but gotten rained out at the end. Now I have moved here and hope to spend a few days getting to know it better.

    I tried to find a hostel called …casa azul…because it is supposed to be very close to a waterfall but it turns out to be a good way down another dirt road and I am fully loaded. So I checked in to another one near town called ….River Sound.

    They wanted 60,000 pesos a night. I said that is …caro…expensive, and went to leave. Halfway down the stairs they said 40,000. I replied 30,000. They said OK. So here I am. It is next to the river and I have a private room without air conditioning. The sound is nice. The sign said they have wifi but when I asked for the password they said it was not working. The phone hotspot will have to fill in for now.

    So now that the bike is unloaded, I will explore a little. Maybe find Casa Azul.

    I may also copy another traveler’s idea. He rented a dirt bike for 25,000 an hour to go see a waterfall.
  17. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    if you want to see something spectacular go to Cerro Kennedy 3100 MASL. Yes named after JFK, check the weather forecast and you have to leave Minca at the crack of dawn 5 am you will get there around 8 am depending on your riding ability the sight is magnificent view of Sierra Nevado de Santa Marta
    go early because the clouds roll in around 9 or ten
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  18. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    I do want to see something spectacular.

    I have been in this area a few times now and always get rained out. It is afternoon again now and it just started raining. Just as I was about to go out for a 40 minute each way dirt ride.on the Duke. Ha ha. Mother Nature is reliable around here.

    The Cerro Kennedy run is on the short short list now, with that tip about timing. My luck has been terrible with catching a tropical glacier on film. They are always in the clouds when I am there. Of course it is the furthest point on a points of interest map of the area. 3 hours of hard dirt each way is more than I want to put the Duke through, especially if it rains. Not into testing the skidplate any more either.

    So how reliable is the clearing of clouds around 8 AM ? I want to do this with a rental, and it is a serious commitment. I have done much, maybe most, of the route before.
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  19. TDC_ERock

    TDC_ERock Been here awhile Supporter

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    We stayed at Hotel Minca La Casona for a few days in 2017. It was a nice walk to Pozo Azul. Took a while but the elevation change wasn't much. Seems like I remember Casa del Pozo Azul along the way. Very refreshing to swim at the falls at Pozo Azul.
    Another day we hiked up to Finca la Candelaria (coffee and chocolate). That was a much more strenuous hike and we were passed by several people who took moto taxis up there. The moto taxis are cheap. Really enjoyed the tour there and bought coffee to bring home.
    Found a good Italian restaurant too :) - I think it was Santisabella.
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  20. ALLMOSTHERE

    ALLMOSTHERE Make to best of everything

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    Pretty clear skies early morning Unfortunately September / October are peak months for rain ,March is dry practically fire season its smokey
    a small enduro will get you there no problem if the bike is no problem Haha sleazy rentals in Minca