Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bought my ticket to South America

September 19, 2010

Bought a ticket from Ft. Lauderdale to Cartagena, Colombia via Spirit Airlines for only $54.10 for the one way ticket including all fees and taxes. Outstanding. Now got to figure out how to get to Ft. Lauderdale for the November 16th departure.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cartagena, Bogota and Cali, Colombia

November 16, 2010  (Tuesday)

Arrived in Cartagena at 1:30 pm and then was supposed to catch a connecting flight to Bogota at 3:55 pm but it was delayed until 5:30 pm. Colombia is known worldwide for its beautiful women but while waiting at the departure gate every woman seemed incredibly beautiful. There were about 300 people waiting for flights and at least 40 of them could have been a model anywhere in the world. Found out they had been contestants in the Miss Colombia contest the previous night in Cartagena and were all flying home the same afternoon. The delay seemed to pass much too much quickly. LOL  Finally made it to Bogota around 6:45 pm and then caught the connecting flight to Cali at 8:30 pm and arrived at 9:30. The cab driver the hostel sent was not there when I got outside so found my own cab and made it to the hostel around 10:30 pm. Long 2 days and slept like a baby.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cali, Cartagena

Wednesday   November 17, 2010  (Day 3)

Woke up at 7:30 am well rested for the first time in 2 weeks. Spent most of the day blogging and posting pictures and watched a couple of movies at the hostel. Met a German, Tom, who was staying at the hostel and chatted for a while. No time, energy or desire to check out the famous Cali nightlife on Sexta Avenue. Another big day of traveling with 9 hrs on bus to Pasto. Highlight of my day was talking to Kade, Madison and Scott on Skype. Skype definitely helps but does not cure missing everyone.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cali to Pasto (9 hrs on a bus thru the mountains)

Thursday Nov. 18, 2010 (Day 4)

Caught a cab from Casa Blanca Hostel to the bus terminal. On the way to the terminal the police were placing yellow tape around a shooting that had just occurred on the street according to the taxi driver. Sometimes you forget where you are and that Colombia is and can be dangerous if you are not careful. Of course, so can BR or NO. That is why selecting a hostel in a safe neighborhood and not venturing out late at night without a group is important and always take a cab at night.

Got to the bus terminal around 7:30 am and they quickly tried to jam me on a crowded bus. It was obvious that the other passengers did not want me in their crowded space so I stepped off the bus. Then the driver offered me a seat in the front with him so off we went. The trip through the Colombian mountains was both beautiful and a little scary. Hairpin turn and some crazy driving high in the mountains makes for an interesting day. There were 5 instances where landslides had occurred with only one serious enough to close the road for a while. Dozers and gravel trucks were working on it but we found a road around it. We also had a police encounter where everyone had to get off the bus. Not sure why since my Spanish is very limited. Have I mentioned that almost no one speaks English in South America. In Central America most speak at little some English it seems.

Got to Pasto around 5:30 pm, caught a cab and booked a room at Koala Hostel which was recommended by Lonely Planet. Private room with tv and wifi for only $8.50 night. Will catch another bus to the border of Ecuador and then to Quito. Not sure but expecting 5-6 hrs tomorrow and then 12 days in Quito seeing the sites in Ecuador and learning Spanish, hopefully.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pasto to Quito

November 19, 2010   (Day 5)

Left around 7:30 am and walked the 1.2 miles to the bus station and caught a bus to the border. After quickly getting thru Colombian Immigration, I walked across the street and quickly got thru Ecuador Immigration. Had to be the easiest border crossing ever. Usually there is about 3 miles between immigration and countless people trying to con you out of your money between them. Then I caught a taxi to the bus station which was 6 miles away and then a 5 hr bus to Quito, Ecuador. Arrived around 4:30 pm and then a 45 minute taxi ride to Old Quito in the Historic District to the Hostel Quito Cultural which is really a nice hotel. I plan on staying here until December 3rd and got a private room rate of $13.50 after negotiation including cable TV and breakfast. Only 2 blocks from the Grand Plaza. I have only walked around for about 30 minutes but promise there will be some amazing photos over the next few days. Hoping to find a good Spanish school tomorrow.

Another great day of sights riding through the mountains but no pictures unfortunately because the windows were heavily tinted,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Great LSU win over Ole Miss

Saturday   November 20, 2010

Loved the LSU victory over Ole Miss. Can't believe I got the game in my room. Sorry I haven't posted any pictures but have had the stomach virus for last 2 days. Think it was some dodgy looking food I ate in Colombian bus station yesterday. Hopefully will feel better tomorrow and get back to posting pictures.,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Street Parades by the Grand Plaza

Sunday   November 21, 2010

Wonderful parades around the Grand Plaza especially the guys on stilts doing flips and splits WHILE ON STILTS. Unfortunately I forgot my camera had video on it. I am so electronically challenged. It started to rain so the parades were cut short so don't have any more pictures. Maybe next Sunday.

Also finally posted some pictures on my Cali to Pasto post.