Bogota to Armenia, Colombia
Ready to find myself in nature and away from cities, my departure form Bogota to the city of Armenia began first thing in the day. My taxi arrived bright and early to deliver me to the bus terminal. A fat, friendly, and overly jolly mustached man graciously helped me shove my tattered bags into the cab. Perhaps this chatty driver thought I wouldn’t notice the numbers on the meter spin upwards as he unnecessarily drove circles around the city. He interrupted my every plea and inquisition of his direction with boisterous laughter and loud stories, pretending to not understand my broken Spanish. I battled with him for the (almost) win and walked away suckered out of only half of what he wanted. This long travel day was off to a rocky start.
I arrived 20 minutes early to the bus terminal only to be told my bus was running 20 minutes late. I waited an hour before it arrived. The jostling 7 hour journey was actually 9. The taxi from the bus terminal in my newfound, unfamiliar territory kicked me out of the cab where he wanted me to get out, not where I wanted to go. A 30 minute walk in the dark later, strapped down by the weight of my bags, I was tired, hungry and annoyed, but alive and kicking. After 12 hours I had finally made it to my destination.
These aren’t complaints, just the reality of traveling. There is the time that can be read on a clock and there is latin time, where things happen when they happen. It’s rare but sometimes people will see your unfamiliarity with your space as an opportunity to take advantage of you. Bumpy bus rides through mountainous country side are always simultaneously slightly life threatening and a good core workout. It’s key to roll with the punches, stand your ground, and always carry snacks.
On the bright side, I made a new travel friend. We shared our worst transportation stories over a beer and quickly our conversation transitioned to hopes of climbing coffee riddled mountain sides and dreams of being nerdy birders.
The city of Armenia, while still a rowdy, bustling city is calmer and much smaller than Bogota. With not much to explore it can be quickly scanned in a matter of hours. The weekend still draws crowds out to the streets to enjoy performers and the many shops. For me it was just a resting point.
The real intent is to get to the amazing little town of Salento. After a couple nights stopover in Armenia to recoup I was a short, easy bus ride closer. When it comes to long distance travel, slow and steady wins the race. Salento is just around the corner.