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Old 01-11-2008, 10:46 PM   #1
calrider OP
I'm Lost Too!!
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OK, so we're riding Colombia 2 up on a China Bike.

My Colombian amiga headed home from Canada for the holidays and we decided to hook up and do a bit of a motorbike tour. Originally I was only supposed to stay from Jan 5-17, but I love it here so much I decided to extend by a few weeks. She wants to show me her spectacular homeland, so we bought a new 200cc China bike for the equivalent of about $2900 and we're heading out to explore the country 2-up. I have no idea how often I'll be able to update this, or even if I'll be able to get to it again before I get home to Canada, but I'll give it a valiant try. I apologize in advance to anybody that feels "left hanging", but I honestly don't think my prose will be that gripping.

This was one of the options before buying the China bike:
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:18 AM   #2
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Sounds good.. your prose doesn't matter... just take lots of pics and show us what you've been up to

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Old 01-12-2008, 07:04 AM   #3
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Location: Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
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Oh yes,not just the countryside we want photos of the local talent as well,just make sure the girlfriend doesn,t catch you!!!
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:33 AM   #4
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Which bike?

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:54 AM   #5
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No matter your style we want to follow your trip. I will be wanting to know how the bike is holding out too.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:19 PM   #6
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Made it back and now ready to write!

Well, it was a trip...
But lets step back a bit to when I arrived in Bogota.
One of the first things Amiga did was take me up to La Calera, above Bogota, for a traditional Colombian meal.

This was my first introduction to what was to become a bit of an issue over the course of the trip. I'm not a huge eater and even breakfasts (which I don't normally even eat) are huge in Colombia.

So here are the protagonists in this little story:

And a demonstration of another little issue. I tend to blink when the flash goes off…

At this point, I had brought along helmets and riding jackets, but still didn’t know how the motorbiking would happen. Amiga’s father has a Yamaha DT175…maybe we’ll ride that. Or maybe we can rent? Or buy? Who knows.

But first we needed to look around Bogota a bit. This is an area called La Candelaria. A funky, artsy university district full of historic buildings and cool streets.

It was here that we met up with Amiga’s friend Cesar, a member of the Arhuaco indigenous culture from Northern Colombia.

Amiga had met him a while back at a conference in Switzerland and had arranged with him to travel to their territory. We were going there to do some work to help them get their message out to the world…but more on that when we get there.

This was another scene which seemed quite unusual to me at first. Later we were to come to appreciate these folks very much. But at this point…just a bit unnerving.

But nothing that a little Chicha wouldn’t solve.

This is a fermented corn drink. Shared by everyone and a great way to catch a cold!

After a couple days in Bogota, it was off to Villetta (in a car), where Amiga’s grandparents live. This is a getaway area for Bogota. Bogota’s climate is actually quite cool and damp because of it’s altitude, so people often head off to the lower valleys a couple hours away for some warmth and sun. One of the attractions in Villeta is a ride on the abandoned rail lines. These enterprising folks will push you up the railroad tracks on little carts for a couple kilometers. Once there, you come flying back down the hill forcing chickens, dogs, people and oncoming carts off the tracks.

Finally it was time to take the little Yamaha out for a burn. Amiga needed to see the mayor in the neighbouring town, so we decided to ride. She does consulting on community development plans and the town was considering engaging her services.

Along the way we stopped at a panela plant. Panela is a type of raw cane sugar that is very popular in Colombia. It’s delicious. This is the guy that feeds the cane into a crusher that squeezes the juice out:

Check out the beautiful old motor that powers the whole thing:

They knew something about reliability in those days…

The liquid goes through a series of vats in the bowels of hell where the water gets boiled off.

This is the guy that stokes the fires of hades to keep the vats boiling:

At the end they pour the thick paste into forms and let it harden:

And there it is, blocks of panela:

Amiga just stops and strikes up conversations with anyone… it leads to some great encounters. But it’s time to get back on the bike (“moto” in Colombia).

While Amiga had her meeting with the mayor, I hung out with the kids. My Spanish sucks. They just treat me as though I’m a big kid that’s a bit slow. It seems to suit me as I have a great time as they patiently try to explain to me what they’re trying to communicate. Having a cool helmet to play with helps too:

calrider screwed with this post 02-23-2008 at 06:35 PM
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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Indoor Adventure riding!

Now this is something the guys in the Great White North should try!

Originally Posted by calrider

This was one of the options before buying the China bike:
I don't ride to fast but I well ride to eat!

(I like pie.)
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:04 PM   #8
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Great report. Thanks for sharing.
"Get yourself to the hills and be uplifted, assuming you got some good knobbies"
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:08 PM   #9
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Keep it coming.
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Caracas, Venezuela
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:19 AM   #10
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Great adventure -

Keep it coming - ' enjoy all the pictures!

MORE snow coming this weekend to the frozen prairies. This the winter of my discontent.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:14 AM   #11
Planning mode...
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Very nicely done
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:07 PM   #12
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I am Charlie.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:00 AM   #13
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Great piece -

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by vtwin
Thanks for taking the time to write this report. Makes Columbia look a little friendlier than I've been hearing.
Yes, much friendlier than the CNN "infotainment" guys would have you believe!
Originally Posted by bananaman
Thanks bananaman. Hats off to your amazing ride report.
Originally Posted by Gringacho)
Just stumbled across this report Calrider and enjoying all the great pics and riding.

By the way...... I used to have an "Amiga" at one time that rode around Honduras with me on our 400CC Honda. I liked her so much I put a ring on her finger and she's now called "Esposa" !
Nice... I can see how that could happen. Glad you're enjoying the RR!
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:36 PM   #15
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We headed out of Valledupar in typical fashion. Late in the afternoon and heading into the night. Amiga wanted to get a quick look a the central plaza before we left:

These guys were curious about us and came over. They gave us good directions on how to get out of the city towards our destination of Pueblo Bello:

Pueblo Bello is a town up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. We had to get there to find the dirt track that would take us over the mountains to the Arhuaco capital. It was about 80km from Valledupar.

By the time we gassed up and found our way out of the city, it was getting pretty dark. The moon drove along with us:

With our feeble headlamp and a bug-spattered visor we picked our way down the highway, staying bout 50 meters ahead of various transport trucks to take advantage of their headlights.

We got to the Pueblo Bello turn-off and started heading into the mountains. By this point it was pitch dark and we could only see vague outlines of the mountains in the moonlight. The worst part of riding at night is not being able to see the scenery. I was getting irritable, so we began to look for places to pitch the tent as we wound our way up the road. As we came around a corner, we saw a hut right beside the road with a bare light bulb hanging from it. There was a woman standing there. We slowed down and turned around and I prepared to unleash Amiga and her charm on the unsuspecting woman. Turns out she was waiting for a friend that was coming on a motorbike and she thought that we were him. Amiga struck up a conversation and before you know it, we were invited to sleep at their place. They were willing to give up their own beds for us, but we insisted we'd stay in the tent. She had a couple daughters, sons and inlaws all there along with grandchildren. We weren’t sure who all lived there and who was visiting.

Where are you from? Where are you going? How do you like Colombia? We were getting used to these questions…

Grandma with some of her handiwork:

Daughter cooking up some grub:


Here I am again in my role as the big dumb kid that doesn't know how to speak properly. Oh well. The kids are patient with me and are great Spanish teachers.

Those are eucalyptus leaves in my hand. They gave them to me because I had a cough. You boil them to make a tea. It's quite good! (Don't know if it did anything for my cough, though)

The family is actually part of another indigenous nation; the Kankwamo people. They, along with the Arhuacos, are one of the four groups that are part of the ancient Tayrona culture. Grandma put on a CD of Kankwamo music and before long we were all dancing in a traditional dance. (wait for the video…)

We were up 'til late with the family and then slept in the tent.
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