sorry for the poor automatic translation of this article. If you can, refer to the french version instead...
Above all, do not read the recommendations from the site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs before going to a country, otherwise you end up glued to his TV at home. Goodie, who had hosted us in Kenya , and works at UN for a long time, confirmed to me reports that foreign entities are increasingly alarmist than the actual situation in order to justify their presence on site and budget. And I've been already in Colombia and I just keep a nice souvenir. There was indeed a major risk with drug traffickers, but they are in the forest, in places where tourists have anyway nothing to do. No worries, then.
Yes, but, just before returning to Colombia, I read a person living in Bogota, and urges especially not stop on the 300 km after the border, ie until Popayan. Warriors would have manifested in violent there for a few days. Okay, so I am about to follow the recommendations.
Yes but here, to arrive at the border from Quito, Ecuador, there are already almost 300km. Big day, with no picture.
I am inquiring at the border and I see a yellow fluorescent vest is mandatory for all riders from 6PM. Insurance is also compulsory, but it can not be purchased at the border. A customs officer gives me an address where I could buy in the first city crossing. Goingonce restarted, without life jacket, without insurance, I find the point of sale, but they do not sell insurance for 1 full year. Should I go or the administration of customs and taxes from Colombia to get a waiver to have the assurance that the desired time (1 month). Well, I leave empty-handed. Ecuadorian bikers met at the border told me a mall in the city next to the famous buy insurance. When I finally found the place, it tells me it can not do the document for vehicles registered in Colombia. It smells a rat story. Jump-start to be late, I still have many miles to go, and therefore I take the road, this time with a yellow jacket in my bag in case I come late, but still without insurance. In theory, it would also have the registration number should appear beyond the back of the helmet! So I'm back on the road quite fast, to arrive before dark ... if possible.
Numerous soldiers armed to the teeth monitor the passage of vehicles, almost every 10km. They never stop me, but instead give a thumbs up when he saw me. A priori, this does not have to do with hitchhiking, so I took it as a kind of salvation which I gladly reciprocate.
At a time when even two people make me a sign to stop. They wear a green sweater / khaki with a big logo on it, but that does not seem as military. How to differentiate between the military, paramilitaries, narco-traffic and guerrioros? On the other side of the road two policemen, rifles slung, watching the scene, looking very relaxed. Those who stop me m'expiquent they work with support beyond police (hence their presence right next supposed to reassure me) and they do a collection for children with disabilities because of the mines that litter the local campaign . The discussion lasts only a moment, they do not insist and I'm back on the road. Looking back, I tell myself that I would not stop me ...
The situation has indeed changed since my first visit 13 years ago. In summary, Uribe came to power, and he fought mainly against narco-traffickers. During this period several cartels including dePablo Escobar fell, and it is thanks to this that the narco-traffickers are now invisible and virtually harmless (to the Colombian people anyway). By cons, to achieve that Uribe among others mounted a veritable army of paramilitaries. They became a kind of paramilitary mercenaries Uribe, and they have also played a role in his re-election by terrorizing the people. Today Uribe is in power, and all these paramilitaries have no real leader and make the law as they wish them, and the peace process now looks more original to settle accounts. NGOs defending human rights are for example designated targets. By creating these paramilitaries, Uribe finally armed the people, and if it was effective in the fight against narco-traffickers, weapons are turned now against the people themselves ...
Add to this the guerrieros who generally live in forests, and intimidating the villagers so that those below are deserting their villages to clump together in slums on the outskirts of large cities, and you end up with a big increase in crime at all levels in large cities.
Beautiful mountain road in very good condition. It is a pleasure to drive on Colombian roads. Perhaps the best Latin American countries (with the exception of the perfect road-Nazca Cuzco in Peru). Yes but it does not advance tournicotte and AC a lot, especially with Colombia, it is a heavy traffic surprises me, and I'm always up truck queues between two pins. With all this, night falls and I'm still not arrived
They told me for this step: Do not stop under any circumstances, do not drive without insurance, do not drive at night, do not drive alone, do not drive fast. I finally did that.
The next day I get to Cali, or an entire family decouchsurfers waiting for me. I am at the Rector of the largest university decals. I intended to spend a day with them, but they take me under their wing and I feel so good that I let myself be pampered.
Short tour of the city ... In any case, the safest neighborhoods. The vision that gives me security beyond Nubia in Cali is very terrible. I am persuaded that one side tells me that the examples are real, but the risk is not so great. On the other hand, who am I, a small European portion to judge beyond a secure unfamiliar city while they live there long ago? So I listen to their recommendations carefully.
Failing to see the city from the inside, I see it from above!
Irene is in love with the English language. She prepares a file for back to school in Paris, and I want to see it with his letter. She danced salsa "Calina", ie salsa de Cali. "Billa", his partner, passes by a small demonstration at the house and warm up my memories. The footwork is much richer than the Salsa Cuban or Puerto Rican, but after a little training, I found my bearings, so the same evening, here we are in a box to dance salsa. A few sips of Aguarediente (the local liquor, anise, based on sugar cane) and not unbind to enjoy the dance, not without a thought for my sister.
Irene and Billa:
a very back. .. cinco seis siete ...
To get home, of course we do not take public transit for security reasons. Exactly taxis waiting outside the box. Nubia explain it is important not to get into any taxi. Take a taxi would be one of the most dangerous experience of Cali. We must find a taxi, then call the taxi company corresponding to them confirming that the taxi with that number is their company and that it is he who is facing us. His paranoia makes me smile until the taxi company says they have no taxi with this issue. It's probably a fake taxi that I took bravely ...
Since the city is so dangerous, you go to the campaign much more tranquil and certainly more beautiful, or activity still revolves around sugar cane.
It even goes into the "paradise farm", or would place "Maria," a tragic love story, which led to the first novel written in South America, by Jorge Isaac.
Some say that love story is not tragic love story would be incomplete.
The atmosphere is indeed very romantic.
The last evening I took everyone to eat a pig in the neighborhood.
A big thank you to all the family for your home, your advice and your help to finally get insurance for the bike!
The next step, Medellin, Colombia's another big city, known for his former cartel with Pablo Escobar in the head. Pablo Escobar is long dead, but I still prefer to host me on the hills of Medellin, in the countryside, more precisely in Santa Ana, in a tiny little house among Yolima.
Yolima is a bit of a witch so benevolent. She speaks to nature, she listens to the spirits, it boils strange plants, it delivers around her incredible positive energy. A life in full color, alternating voluntary solitude and friendship flowing.
It will really do for the evenings, because I spend my day in town at the local KTM dealer (there are only two in Colombia) that has no IEEP for me, but that leaves me free to my Review in her studio.
And the local campaign is full of surprises!
Since the Colombian countryside as I like, instead of going on the beaches and the Atlantic side of Cartagena, I prefer to spend a few days in the area that produces coffee. Time does not spoil me, but I feel good!
First night in a hostel that offers me his last bed dormitory. The other tourists all speak English. It is an obvious difference between Colombia and other South American countries where tourists are generally placed at the Spanish. As I tend to equate English at work, I have no desire to discuss that night and I'm a little bear. One who assigns rooms has problems with speech and movement, which gives a strange atmosphere instead. A guy who does not seem to be a tourist wanders into the corner, and I sometimes surprise sitting in a dark corner, from where only his plastic boots appear to light. Is it the owner of the place? Perhaps a psychopath enjoy being in a remote corner to satisfy his urges? Especially since that night is the full moon lights up the campaign, and lightning in the distance does not bode well for the night.
At dawn, the weather is still overcast but it's beautiful.
I recrosses outside the imaginary psychopath. In the light of day, I find this both a process and an attitude more in tune with Plot location. I suggest going my walk down the road to see the animals, and to walk me. Then he added that he advises me to go barefoot for "feel the earth and enjoy the energy of the firmament" .
The farmer is not psychopath: he is a poet.
Anyway I decided to change place for the night, and I find myself in an old finca isolated, upgraded to accommodate the tourists, of whom I spoke that morning at breakfast. (It is good to make plans for the day at breakfast!). I was expecting something a little artificial and beautiful, but instead is rustic and simple. The building and rooms give the impression that you turned the boots of hay yesterday and we just had a brush stroke the day before. I feel good.
Breakfast is also unique beyond typical campaign: a bowl of chocolate pudding, but with a patty, a little cottage cheese and eggs. Simple and tasteful.
The few tourists here are Colombian families.
Well, I'd stay out a little more, but we must provide for sending the bike to return to France. I was transported to Bogota, where I arrived in traffic, refrigerated, in the rain at night. Not ideal, a priori, to enjoy a big city. The days I have time to visit a little more and finally fully appreciate the historical center. Here are some pictures of "little corners of Bogota in detail"
Despite all the problems of security, the Colombia delights me. I feel that the manual is to make sure you understand and then live without security concerns. This is one of the few places with Buenos Aires, where I see myself living happy.
The title of this article is pronounced "tchévéré Colombia". Chévere is a word that is used here to say that something is cool.
Bogota is my last American step, but I do not go to France so far!
I'll tell you this in the next article ...