Bus Ride

Wednesday
I was hoping that I would start to want to do other things by this time, but the weather wasn’t very good today and I stayed in town. Frankly, all I want to do is fly…. Perhaps if we were in the Alps, I would want to instead go on a wine and cheese tour.. Or a beautiful Alpine hike… Or meet some locals in town. 
 It’s like crack. When I’m flying, it’s just f-ing awesome.. I’m a superhero. When I’m not flying, I think about flying… I adjust my harness, check my wing… I read paragliding magazines, I write about flying and cut and edit video.. I can’t get enough. 

I’m already planning my next trip. 

Friday
I popped my head out the door and checked the weather.. It doesn’t look great. And my head feels pretty bad too. We all went out last night, killed a couple bottles of wine and a bunch of tequila. I thought I got kicked out of my hotel room this morning… We were very loud last night… but I discovered I couldn’t stay only because there is a big hang gliding event happening  and the hotel is booked. I’m a bit relieved because this is a great cheap place to stay and I plan to return someday.

Later
I’m on the bus….on my way to Medellin. Its two hours to Pereria where I transfer busses. It is small. only about ten people can fit inside…it is actually pretty nice. Quiet clean, new-ish and is running smoothly.

We get pulled over on the side of the highway by the local police. They have requested a copy of everyone’s identification… I had to go in the back and rummage through my luggage for my passport… I didn’t think I would need it anytime soon and i had jammed it in a little zippered pocket with about a hundred emergency tampons. As three uniformed policemen and the bus driver carefully watch me, I conduct the delicate extraction, conscious that one wrong move would send a huge fistful of little white bullets rolling around in the street…

I chose to ride the bus against State Department warnings. I am going during the day per the advice of everyone I spoke with. The bus transfer is ridiculously easy… again, everyone is super nice and I get chauffeured over to the ticket counter.  within two minutes, ticket is purchased, I’m directed where to sit and instructed to listen to the counterperson when they announce my bus.

I’ve got a caffeine headache… I know this sounds like blasphemy, but I don’t care at all for the watered down version of coffee they serve in the Roldanillo restaurants and have neglected my twenty- plus year addiction. I thought Colombia would be a coffee Mecca.

As I grab a coke, the same guy runs over and hurriedly directs me back to the terminal… I had misinterpreted his instructions. The bus was about to leave.
Perfect timing, I grab my two  gigantor bags and get on the ultra sleek brand new bus… Better than any I’ve ridden in the US… And am speeding through  verdant, mountaious, coffee and banana planted, bamboo standed, rolling, bucolic Colombia. It is a spectacular countryside. I feel as though I’m driving through a painting.

The ride is very civilized. There is a man who comes around with a basket of nuts and candies. He gives samples to everyone… Some people buy the clear cellophane tubes of honeyed nuts or gummy candies. 

A couple hours later, we park at a bus stop. It’s a large, clean and friendly outdoor cafeteria..I’m thrilled because I am really hungry and was worried about where I might have some lunch or dinner. Whenever I’m in a situation like this with no menu and I have no idea what the hell is going on, I grab a lunch tray and order “lo mismo” …the same. So, whatever the person ahead of me gets, I get too. This time, I end up with Mondongo. A huge bowl of potatoes, peas, something yellow and lots of meat… And something else I recognize. Tripe. And some things I don’t recognize. It’s not mi favorita. actually, I can’t eat it… 
Thank God, she’s a big girl and ordered a lot of food. I also got a plate with steak, white rice and some grilled plantains. A perfect hangover lunch.

It was nine and a half hours on the busses. And for $24, it beat the heck out of the $70 (one way) airfare, plus two hour bus ride to Cali, plus the extra $200 for my heavy bags. Each way. 

We are in Medellin. There is a swank big city feel outside. I’m super excited!

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