[7:58 AM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: Buenos dias Diabla.
About 30 minutes ago we parked at a truck stop near La Boleta for food and rest. I only got orange juice. The food smells really good, but the line is long and I don’t feel like eating.
There are a lot of grackles here. I know them from their seasonal migration to Austin. They are the biggest assholes in the bird world. One morning I was walking to work at the Texas Capital and a grackle attacked me. Maybe I walked too close to its nest. I was swinging at it like we were boxing. Here the grackles are just looking for food people drop on the ground.
The roads are under construction and mostly dirt, so it’s been very slow and bumpy. I was glad we stopped but it’s time to get back on the road and I don’t see the driver anywhere.
When we left Montería I noticed my GPS said we were going towards the Caribbean, away from Medellín. I don’t know why we took this route because it was shitty roads all night. I got a little sleep, but not enough.
We’re leaving the truck stop now. We are already an hour late and still have 114 km to Medellín. It’s fine because check in at the hostel is in the afternoon. I’m just tired of being on the bus.
The countryside reminds me of Costa Rica with the curvy roads running through mountains and the pressure in my ears from the increasing altitude.
[10:11 AM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: I’m starting to see signs for Medellín. I boarded the bus over 12 hours ago and we still have 42 km to go. I’m glad I didn’t take the bus here from Cartagena. That would’ve taken days. I’m tired, hungry, thirsty, dirty and I need to brush my teeth. I hope the hostel will let me check in early or take a nap on the couch. I’m so ready to stop moving. These curvy roads are killing me.
[11:09 AM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: Touchdown, 13 hours total, 4 hours late, the Colombian way.
[12:35 PM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: At the bus terminal I talked to 5 taxi drivers before one would drive me the 5 minutes to the hostel. The maniac took the scenic route to pad the meter. The total was 14,000 pesos but said he didn’t have change for a 50,000 peso note. He started getting aggressive, touching me and yelling. I wanted to get out with my bags and get change at the hostel, but he wouldn’t let me. He aggressively drove to a gas station where we got change. He refused to give me change for a 20,000. I’m still shaking from the incident, but I’ve been through much worse situations. I knew he was cheating me at the time, but I felt it was more important to get myself to safety than to argue over $1 in change. I know how to fight, but I avoid it whenever possible. I came really close to defending myself in that taxi. It was hard to restrain the caveman brain (another rhyme). I’m not trying to get in legal trouble in a foreign country.
[4:06 PM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: I have been sleeping for three hours since I arrived at the hostel.
[6:53 PM, 9/25/2022] Derrick 🇨🇴 🇵🇦🇳🇮🇨🇷: After I woke up I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Near the hostel is a street called Carrera 70 with a lot of bars and restaurants that dead ends at Pontifical Bolivarian University. It looks like where all the cool kids hang out.
Today I only ate an empanada and a piña colada (my lunch rhymed) so I found a place to get a real meal (this also rhymes). I found a cheap place with a nice bone broth soup with rice (I swear I’m not writing poetry). The soup warmed my bones. It isn’t cold here, but less hot than I’ve grown accustomed to in Latin America. It feels like a warm fall day here, which technically it is. But the closer you get to the equator, the less you get four seasons and instead get rainy or dry season.
While I was walking I looked down on the sidewalk and saw the concrete tiles spelled “Peru.” I didn’t think anything about it until I started seeing other Latin American country names randomly on the sidewalk. When I saw “Panama” I took my first photo in Medellín.
The first time I saw “Colombia” on the sidewalk, a motorcycle was parked over the “C.” So I walked around for a while until I found an unobstructed “Colombia.” I also photographed “Ecuador” and “Peru” because I’m going to those next if Colombia doesn’t kill me first.
After dark I came back to the hostel and am working on the website.
I had my first hot shower since I left Florida 189 days ago. The places I’ve traveled have all been hot, so a cold shower was a welcome respite from the heat. I forgot how much I love hot water and steam in the bathroom. I feel like King William again. Appreciate the small things folks.
Lastly, I’m the furthest south I’ve ever been on the globe. More about that when I cross the equator in November. I also need to charge my phone.
That’s my first day in Medellín. I’m looking forward to seeing more beauty and less thieving bastard taxi drivers.
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