Notes from week 6:
- Colombia: Bogota, Espinala, Nieva, Pitalito
- Date: December 30th to January 4th
- Distance Travelled: Bike: 290 km / 180 miles, Bus: 195 km / 121 miles
- On the days we biked, we averaged 72.5 km (45 miles) per day
- Spent: $21.5 / day / person
- Hours on the bike: 3.5 hours / day Speed: 20 kph (12 mph)
Week 6: Descending out of the mountains
The next day was tough. We descended between two large mountain ranges and into a scorching hot valley. Exhausted and running out of water, we thought that we'd never find a hotel. Yet after an hour or so of exhaustive searching, we came across a tiny town with three different hotels, but once again the streets were completely deserted. Adam tried checking out two of the hotels in town, but nobody answered the door. Finally, while standing in front of a third hotel, a few women approached us from the house next door and introduced themselves as the hotel owners. Without any discussion, they informed us coming over to their house for a New Years celebration was absolutely mandatory if we wanted to spend the night in their hotel. Exhausted, we told them we needed to rest first, but they didn't really listen because after initially agreeing to this, the family was back 15 minutes later and demanded that we go party with them. Dehydrated, hungry, and exhausted, we gave in to their requests and walked over to their house.
As soon as we entered into the backyard, we had encountered an entirely different world. About 20 family members formed a circle of lawn chairs, beers in the middle, while laughing and passing around a bottle of whiskey. We introduced ourselves, were asked a million questions ('what do you think of Colombia / it's food / it's women / it's nature?'), and also peer-pressured into drinking too many beers and taking too many shots. For them, we were the great American experiment: just how much could these American kids drink? The family also supplied us with a huge pork dinner, and then laughed after pointing to the pig running around the yard and said: "You're eating his dad."
After way too much pork and a constant fear of being offered more drinks, we escaped for a little bit and walked down to the river. Dozens of people were grilling pork and swimming through the town river. We thoroughly enjoyed the crowd watching as we were surrounded by families and friends who were truly enjoying their relaxing day. About 30 minutes later, we left the river and were approached by a kid on a motorbike while walking along the road. He introduced himself as one of the nephews from the family and he had been sent into town on the motorbike to find us. He also informed us that we needed to get on the motorbike immediately so he could take us to the town bar for some salsa dancing with his family. Once again, we couldn't object, so we hopped on the 14-year-old's motorbike.
We arrived to the bar with a commotion of greeting from the family, their friends, and neighbors About 60 people were at the bar, again sitting on lawn chairs and surrounding cases of beer. After everyone was a few drinks in, they wanted to see the "gringos" salsa dance. We spent the next few hours dancing with almost every member of the family, and perhaps providing enough entertainment to the family to warrant our embarrassing lack of salsa skills. Once it felt like it was midnight, we decided to head home. We got home and realized it was only 8:30 PM. Wow, we are old men.
That night, Cole got up in the middle of the night screaming:
Cole: "ADAM, CAN YOU SEE ANYTHING?!?!"
Adam: "Ummm... yeah..?"
Cole: "I think I may be blind?!?"
Adam: "No, Cole... The power is out. All the lights are off."