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herbert and i

Over the Darien by air

COLOMBIA | Sunday, 10 August 2008 | Views [533] | Comments [3]

My last morning in Panama dawned wet and humid. I caught the shuttle to the airport, what a ride the driver was a nut case doing 5 things at once and one of them wasnt concentrating on the road. He talked on the phone, wolf whistled, swore at other drivers, waved at amigos and talked to a friend next to him all at the same time, never wavering from a gaze at everything other than the road. All the passengers were glad when we reached Tocumen Airport. I had chosen Avianca Air to fly to Bogota, the pilot was like the taxi driver everything at top speed i have never felt a plane prepare for taxiing at such speed. The flight was straight forward until we landed and neither front or rear doors would open. We all spent 45 minutes sweltering in the plane with the air conditioning off while they opened the doors. I hate to think how they did it as there was a lot of bashing and banging, im glad i wont be on that particular plane.

My first night in Bogota was cool and for the first time in months was able to sleep comfortably tucked up in a warm bed. The streets were so alive with music, vendors, performers of all types and great coffee. Now i only have to wait for Monday to clear Herbert through customs, hopefully he is there unharmed, shipping the bike is always a worrying time, fingers crossed onwards to Cali. Monday arrived and off to the airport to se if all was well with Herbert. The Paperwork was straightforward and the people helpful and friendly.After all the formalities Herbert was wheeled out minus the screen. They had plastic wrapped the whole bike and in the wrapping process had broken the plastic mounts. Easily fixed. Next dilemma how to get it off the loading bay with a metre and a half drop. Slings and all sorts were brought out. I was having none of it. A steel ramp was carried by about ten hombres. The bike safely down, I pumped up the tyres, reconnected the battery and i was away straight into the arms of a policeman. I was told that i would have to get a hi viz vest with number plates front and back and on the helmet, before i was allowed to leave the airport. A taxi was hailed and finally after over an hour of driving around, i had my vest and hemet with number plates in bright orange. All motorcycles riders have the vest and helmet ID apparently brought in to stop drive by shootings and apparently it works as if you dont have the ID you really stand out. Cali onwards and upwards.

I left Bogota with a storm threatening so i rugged up as i was told the passes were frio. By the time i found my way out of Bogota i was sweltering. Yes thats right lost again and once on the Autopista Norhtbound instead of south there was nowhere to turn around. Finally managing to find the right road i had to stop and compose myself not for the first time as you've probably gathered. Once out the road opened up to beautiful 4 lane road mostly with incredible views of the valleys way below, cultivated hillsides and rugged rock outcrops. It was mid afternoon by the time i reached Ibague, so i thought i would tackle the pass to Armenia in the morning. After an overnight storm the air was washed clean in the early morning, cool and fresh with stunning mountain scenery and no traffic. I stopped at a wayside cafe for breakfast and the traffic caught up. It was back to dust and exhaust fumes and cat and mouse riding the scenery remained just as glorious. The road was 30km per hour curve after curve all in all a great change from Central America.



Hi Tony,

What an adventure.

Stay safe.

  Tina Conde Aug 12, 2008 8:47 AM


just keep repeating, "it's all part of the adventure, it's all part of the adventure".

when you reflect on this moment, you wouldn't have it any other way (I say from the comfort of my home in Singapore where it's raining and the day is actually cool!).

On to the next leg........

  Gary Khoo Aug 12, 2008 1:02 PM


Drive by shootings....??? Great! Thanks for sharing that with us - VERY reassuring! I bet "high visibility vest" wasn't in your Spanish phrase book! DO stay safe! xx Kylie

  Kylie Graham Aug 13, 2008 8:59 AM

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