Monday, January 13, 2014

January 12th, 2014, Medellin, Columbia, 27 degrees C, 82% humidity

We arrived in Medellin two days ago but both of us have been ill with stomach issues to the point that we never left our room other than to cross the street to the Kwikee Mart for water, orange juice, yogurt and fruit.
January 9
We were both feeling ill the day we departed Cartagena but managed to ride about 6 hours before getting a cabina in Puebla Nuevo for $30. The place is owned by a couple from Florida, he is American, she is Columbian. He tells me it's nice to see English speaking travellers as his Spanish is not that good and we converse into the evening. They also have a pool which I take advantage of to cool down and get some exercise.
January 10
We desperately need to find an ATM and at Caucasia I stop to ask a police man where we could find one. It must be well hidden as his girl friend gives him a kiss and motions for me to follow her on her scooter. We lose Taylor in the traffic madness and at one point I tell Diana to hop off the bike and wait for him while I follow the girl to the ATM. Finally after arriving at the ATM I go to the one that has no line up and a gentleman indicates that its not working. With money in my pocket again I search out my wife who I have left somewhere on a street corner. I begin thinking what if I can't find her, how do I explain to the police I have misplaced a woman wearing a helmet and riding gear in their city. Eventually I find Diana on the street corner and we go for fuel. At the gas station which is fully staffed by young good looking females I am offered café negro or agua, I go for agua and the young lady brings me a large glass of COLD water while the bike is getting filled. Fuel is $1.38 per liter and costs me $46.50 to fill which is the most I've spent on fuel. I shouldn't complain as a number of stations yesterday had no gasoline to sell, we need to fill more often and keep the jerry can full. Now we need to find Taylor, I'm hoping he has proceeded and we can catch up to him on the highway, which we eventually do.
During a fuel stop in El Quince we let a couple of boys sit on the bike while we have a drink. An elderly gentleman informs us that gringos are not welcome in the area and that we shouldn't stop until Medellin. Diana is not happy about riding another two hours as she is extremely sick at this point.
There must be some truth to the mans comments as there is a heavy military presence in the area which is mountainous and has very thick jungle vegetation. This is the first time since Mexico that the military is equipped with more than machine guns, these guys have 6x6 trucks with some type of canon mounted on top. Over the past two days we have passed through at least 20 military check points and have been waved through all of them.
Leaving El Quince
(my apologies for not editing this video before posting it)
 We finally see Medellin (population 3.5 million) in the distance just as a thunder storm starts pelting us with big cold drops of water, it's refreshing but becomes cold quickly as the vents on our pants and jackets are open and quickly funnel the rain down our legs and arms. The freeway into Medellin is 4 lanes in each direction and there are thousands of motorcycles (all under 200 cc) zipping in and out of traffic, then all of sudden traffic is barely moving and I'm thinking there is a accident. There is no accident but apparently when it rains here the mottos take cover under any structure they can, in this case a highway overpass where there is easily 400 mottos waiting for the rain to subside all the while blocking 2 full lanes of the freeway. The GPS is working 100% and leads us right to our hostel. We didn't have GPS service from Mexico to Costa Rico and only limited service in Panama so we are relieved to be able to once again navigate the large cities. The ride from Cartagena to Medellin takes us about 12 hours for 640 kilometers or about half the speed we would normally travel in Canada. 
We are both deathly ill with stomach issues and spend the next 50 hours in our room . Once again a few people were concerned with our lack of posting, our apologies to them for worrying needlessly. It's 8 pm Sunday evening and we managed to walk across the street and grab a burger but only after confirming with the waitress how they cleaned the lettuce and to ensure the meat was well done.
 The view from our room at Casa Kiwi

1 comment:

  1. Hope you're both feeling better.
    P.S.- I can't view the video in this post. A message pops up saying that it's private.