Thursday, March 9, 2023

Colombia 3-9-2023

 Arriving at American Airlines suddenly required me have Check-Mig (an immigration form) and had me use a web site that did not work.  When I got a confirmation that I finally had completed the form the agent grabbed my phone when I showed him and deleted the confirmation web page.  Then he then demanded an email confirmation that was not forth coming.  Lani finally found a site that worked but three hours had past and the plane was gone and the people at American Airline Check-in.  Lani did board the plane in Seattle without the Check Mig email.  As I wait 24 hours for the next flight to Miami and hoping to be in a tropical paradise what could happen.   Lets see when Lani arrive she was able to get her bike together at the airport and head out with her gear.  Shortly along her way she was boxed in by a driver who tried to get her into his car.   A few minutes later a motorcyclist ripped her phone from her bike as she tried to navigate to her hotel.  Then another driver yelled insults at her.  She then spent hour trying to locate the hotel without her navigation tool.  She did locate the hotel near sunset.  Thanks American Airlines for putting her in this.   

I was allowed finally to board 24 hours later to the next flight after showing the updated Check-Mig and a return flight.  Arrive in Cartagena immigration only wanted covid Card and passport.  The American Airline requirements for me and not Lani for Check-Mig and return flight are not needed by Colombia Immigration.  After a quick bike assembly I head to the hotel.  I did end up taking a longer route to the hotel but it was less than a hour with no hassles with motorcycles pointing out my tire was a bit low and another pointing out the keys was in my bike lock.  Lani uses my phone to connect with her family helping with the lost phone.  Lani and I need sleep so crashed.  

In the morning time to buy a replacement phone, just go the MAC store and give them money.  There is also a visit to cellular store for sim chips and monthly plan.  The backup of the old phone works mostly to configure the new phone.  The old phone was the sole verification method for a number accounts.  So lots of calls and help from Lani’s family finally after days she was able to regain full control of her email and bank accounts.

In the mean time we tried at various police stations to report the phone theft always sent to another location.  The tourist police also were no help.  The stolen phones location showed up on the new phone.  We went to the police station a few blocks from then phones reported location.  In time two officers did go over to the location with Lani’s new phone.  An hour later they return wanting Lani’s Apple password.  The find my phone app will make the other phone ring to help locate it, this was the excuse the police were giving for requesting the password.  The Apple password would allow the person with the stolen phone to enable it fully.  Thinking things were not right we left the police station with still no police report.

Last day in Cartagena we are up early and cycle Cartagena’s old city and city fortress wall.  Then we are off and riding once again in the city traffic.  It is a dance with motorcycles and bicycles weaving around cars, buses and trucks.  All the vehicles weave around one another with drivers shortening the turns on corners.  Lines on the road are an interesting concept, but are not take to seriously along with traffic lights.   People drive aggressively but are not angry.  There is a flow and the vehicles dance.  Vehicles show no damage as the drivers know the dance.

Outside of town I start to melt from the sun.  A small hill has become a major effort.  Stop in the little shade I can find.  Sweat pours from me as the humidity and heat are slowly roasting me in my own juices.  I keep drinking the warm water I carry and it does not keep up with the water dripping from every pore.  An all to short down hill cools a little but does not refresh.  Bloody hell, it is 500k of this before we start climbing into the Andes.  Head winds help where a tailwind just creates dead air around us with no cooling.  Drink some soda in a plaza sitting in the shade the cool drink helps but the sun and heat are relentless.  Dripping a stream of sweat we continue.  Rain comes and it only cools a little as we hide at a gas station from the poring thunderstorm.  Riding on the sweat continues insistently.  Late in the day we find a hotel that is sort of open and get a room.  The cold shower and AC allow us to sleep as we dry out cloths.

The next day we sweat on in the nearly 100F temperature.  Stopping for cool water and popsicles helps but the sweat from the humidity and heat is unrelenting.  We collapse into another hotel room mid afternoon.  Day three we push on and stop early exhausted.    
First day 47 miles, second 35 miles and now the third day only 17 miles.  Things are not going well.  We take the next day off and hydrate and hydrate some more.   We were drinking but not enough and just over a week earlier we were in below freezing weather.

New plan we are up an hour before dawn and on the road with first light.  It is a bit cooler and we are feeling better.  Taking a short cut the road turns to dirt and then a single track.  Coming down a hill Lani takes it at her usual mountain biking speed.  A bad bounce has her and the bike into the barbwire fence.  Fortunately her front tire breaks the lower wire and she slides under.  She does take a hit to her lower rib and that is going to take time to heal.  

At 9:30 we reached our plans goal for the day San Pedro.  We push on feeling good and it is just 44k.  A little over half way to Magangue we run into a protest.  Logs burning in the road and trucks and cars stopped.  There is no sign of protesters but no one is touching the roadblock.  We pull out our chairs and eat lunch in the road with some shade. 

Drivers are just sitting and waiting.  We see a few people walking around the barricade along with a motor bike or two.  After over an hour and it is getting hot we decide to move up and see what is happening.  We ride around the barricade and go another quarter of a mile to around a bend.  There is another barricade and a group of people off to the right loudly discussing things. 

We approach walking our bikes and a man at the barricade waves at Lani to go through.  He opens a path through the gather people and then has three guy help lift our bikes over the barricade.  A quick gracias and we are on our way again.  We then pass several miles of backed up vehicles.  We are feeling the suns burn as we enter Magangue.  In Magangue it is back to the dance of city riding weaving with the motorcycles around cars and trucks.  We try back streets but they turn to alleyways.  We find a hotel on a back street and take a siesta.  A 46 mile day and we are not completely beat.   
Early start with the rooster crowing and hydrating worked.

Love and Kisses


Shtunkie said...

Wow, I hope things get better. Certainly an adventure you won't forget.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and look forward to next blog!

Cindy said...

Hi Steve and Lani, wishing you an adventurous trip. The going South will be magnificent.

Anonymous said...

You are not sellin’ it Steve! -z

Unknown said...

What a time! Thanks for this writeup and photos, looking forward to hearing about more adventure! ~Aleta