Saturday, April 15, 2006

Space Cowboy

Hace un rato.

But things are good. In the few weeks since writing I have inevitably forgotten some things worth mentioning...but, that`s how it goes.

From the coffee district I caught the vomit bus to Bogotá, the capital of our fair Colombia. Checked out two noteworthy museums, one being the Botero Collection which was probably the best I`ve been to in, well, a while. Botero is Colombia`s most famous artist and is easy to appreciate for both his skill and sense of humor. All of his characters are disproportionally fat or at least disproportional. Including his bronze statues of birds, horses, etc...they all have a funny, beady eyed look to them and are at least telling you that he doesn`t take himself too seriously.

Mona Lisa

Next it was to the Gold Museum, which they say holds the most important collection of gold artifacts in the world. In fact, everything is gold--a characteristic of pre-Colombian (and pre-Spanish) societies that made them great and consequently led to their demise.

Bogotá was nice, and I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend of a friend who is great and we had a nice time hanging out while not actually doing any sightseeing. I wasn`t planning to stick around for too long, but when I heard Jamiroquai was coming to town and had a group to go with it was a done deal.

So to kill time before the show I headed up to the north-east of the city towards Tunja, Villa de Leyva, Raquira, and San Gil. Very cool little towns. Raquira was really nice, a colorful town sitting on mounds of workable clay-- the one street in the town is used mainly to sell the crafts and with a short walk up the hill you can see the artisans at work. From there I walked over to the next valley to see a cathedral/monestary combo called La Candelaría. A small group of us was given a tour of the grounds by a young monk and the whole thing was just a bit strange. This place is completely isolated, has been around since the 1600s, is really nicely furnished and modern with conference rooms and wireless internet while surrounded by poor little farms, still has monks who whip themselves with the little barbed belts in order to pay for their sins...really interesting. The last thing on the tour was a cave that he explained was where a monk used to live, staying down there all the time only to come out of Sundays to get food for the next week.

San Gil was good too, beautifully set in the mountains it was a perfect place to go for a good bike ride (until my legs almost fell off). Then, the next day I rappelled down an 80m waterfall, which although wasn`t actually that exciting...was still a good time.

Back to Bogotá and my first blockbuster South American concert. Everything I expected and more. We were frisked and herded in like nervous cattle, waited a few hours, then comes the main show. Jami was great, fully pimped out with sequined Indian headdress and Bolivian style poncho. Quite the sight and a great performance.

Next night was taking off for Medellín, where I had planned to stay two night max. Ten nights later and I was still fighting to get out of there. Laid back place, great hostel and company...not much to do in the city but when you find good distractions it`s hard to leave them. Did head out to a great place...a big hunk of granite that shoots up 200m out of the ground. The stairs that they built up this thing are`s surrounded on all four sides by shear, overhanging cliffs but there is one seam and in this seam they jammed in a concrete spiral stairway. I was expecting it to collapse under its own weight with every step. Great spot though, and the few from the top of the finger lakes that surround it was stunning. One of these little outlet channels of this lake would be an ideal spot for a house.

check out those stairs


Two nights ago then I broke free and now find myself in Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast. I`ve met up with 3 Aussies and a Brit whom I`ve becoming friends with and between our main activities of drinking and playing cards we`ve found some time to explore the historical district of Cartagena. Beautiful city complete with fort and an inner wall that was used to ward off the British and pirates. Some of the streets have been very well preseved which makes it a nice place to go for a stroll. Cartagena is a circular peninsula which means that your walk will most likely be along the water for a very pretty. From here the boys are chartering a sail boat to Panama and I`ll keep on towards Venezuela to more pristine beaches. Rough!

While here we plan to go to a mud volcano that you can take a bath in and to head out to an island for a night or two. Things are good and the trip, she winds down with every day. But not ready to say goodbyes yet and onward I go, still living the good life.


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