It is not easy to leave Colombia but I need to at least see one another country in South America. I am NOT going to make Machu Picchu for sure but I am ok with that. I was thinking about dipping into Peru and riding Canyon del Pato but I think that I may just stick in Ecuador. I will be back to South America sooner than later and really need to pick my battles now.
Colombia has been amazing. The people, landscape, history and sites. The people young and old are very concerned about outsiders image of Colombia. Even the young college students questions focused around "How does your family feel about you traveling to Colombia?" "Do you feel safe?" and "How has your experience been?". Our discussion finished with me saying that in America I feel that the opinion of Colombia is starting to change and it is really their age group that will continue to move Colombia in a positive direction. They agreed and want nothing more than to improve Colombia in the view of the public and for future generations.
I found their awareness and interest refreshing and encouraging. I dont feel most 20 somethings(including my self in my early 20s) in North America have this level of awareness and concern. I have had several wonderful conversation with many people about Colombia and where it is at in its history. Colombia has so much to offer and is rapidly changing for the better. There is a strong military presence improving safety and economic growth is strong in a lot of regions. The people here love and are very passionate about their country. They want all travelers to take home positive experiences and stories.
I can say that will take home only positive stories and I have loved my time in Colombia. I also know that the four other moto travelers that I have been spending time with off and on since Nica will do the same. See the usual suspects below.
The five us were sitting in the plaza in Popayan and this guy came up to us and very passionately started talking to us. He went on and on and on. Luckily Mihai was there to translate most of it. The guy spoke fast and used a lot of slang so he did not get it all. He may or may not have been drinking we never did figure that out but the passion was unmistakable. The gist of his message was that he was asking us to enjoy the country that he loved and know that there are many good people here. He wished luck in our travels and that we take home a great experience and stories of Colombia. I love the Colombian passion for their country!!
One of the last friends I made in Colombia! Haha
I stopped to pet this little guy(girl actually) and then she decided I was good enough gringo and hopped up for more attention. I was all the guys and they got a pretty good laugh out of it.
Now off to Ecuador. We were on a record pace to get processed out of Colombia and into Ecuador until... the Ecuador Aduana and the 2 hour lunch. We were thinking a big day and getting to Quito but not after a four hour border crossing. Stayed in the border town of Tulcan. Tomorrow the Equator and Qutio.
Mihai taking a little time to be a kid before hitting the road.
A very cool plaza on our way to the Equator
The entire country is in a foam water ballon fight due to a religous holiday. More on that in my next post. But Mihai and I had to participate. I mean if the locals are doing it!
And of course Lat 0 pics
Foamed at Lat 0
All quito and big foam fight up next. Great times!