While we were in Bogota Colombia we all saw something that made us do a second glance. We just got done with a hike on the outskirts of town and as we were walking back we were exploring the area and seeing the different kinds of artwork that were around and also checking out some of the shops that caught our eye. It was kind of exciting and fun to see all the nightlife start to come out of their homes as we walked around. We saw all kinds of people and we even saw some police officers walking around with their dogs. The dogs were bigger than any dog I had seen back in the U.S. They also had muzzles on them and chains as leashes. It was crazy to see it in person so I think I was the only one that was hit with the culture shock of it. My two traveling partners seemed unfazed and that was probably because of their experiences in Ghana.
In Ghana, the officers have assault rifles with them. All the time. They don't care who you are, what you do, or how much money you have. They will use those weapons on you if they feel that it is necessary. So for them, this was another experience with guns and dogs but it was milder when it came in comparison to Ghana.
We watched as some officers pulled two guys to the side. They started to pat them down and one guy had the dogs to the side as he watched his partner go ham on these guys. They were definitely looking for something but we were unsure of what that was exactly. The officer pulled back, said something to the guy and he proceeded to turn around his hands still up. We watched with wide eyes as the officer handed him a bag. Yes, a bag. He wasn't sure what was in it but we had a sneaking suspicion it was some of that amazing white stuff we all heard so much about. We looked at each other and proceeded to move onward. Once we were out of earshot we talked about what we just saw.
Really it seemed unreal. That officer just gave that guy drugs...after patting him down for drugs. In front of the public. What a sight to see. That in itself gave me the insight I needed to know about the city of Bogota.
We did this hike while we were in Colombia. It was just outside of Salento and it was known to be a beautiful but very steep hike. Knowing this was something I might really enjoy I decided to tag along and go for the ride. It was on my list of things to do and we had made friends with two other people who were also excited about this journey. So we came together as a group and went on this hike. It was beautiful. The first part was up through the valley and everywhere we looked we saw animals, palm trees and so much green. The hike itself was considered to be pretty difficult to do but I honestly thought that the hike was pretty moderate. It had a lot of places to pull off and look at the view and while you were doing that you could take a break from the steep incline.
While we were hiking through the valley we made friends with a couple of horses and a dog that followed us for about 1/4th of the hike. It was actually pretty exciting to have a company and to see how they interact with each other. The dog clearly knew the horses well and they played together while we watched with smiles on our faces. That was probably one of the parts where we spent the most time hanging out. It was just so enticing to see how everything interacts with one another.
After our interaction with our fur friends, we kept going on. The hike was really well laid out and you could tell where you were supposed to go without any trouble. The path was nice and clear of any and all debris and people were going at all kinds of paces. Running, walking, speed walking, etc. It was so cool to see so many people come together and enjoy what was around them. Nature at it's finest.
The rest of the hike was like a fairy tale and it was amazing to see how the land changed as we kept going. We got to a section that was near the highest point and we all sat down and just stared in awe. It was beautiful. I couldn't believe that I was there and experiencing this moment. It was one of those moments you just couldn't fully pull away from because of how beautiful it really was. It drew you in and never let you go.
The whole hike ended up being 7 miles long and took us about 6 hours to do it all. It took that long because we stopped a lot. We took photos, I took drone shots, did stuff with the Go Pro and just enjoyed the moment with nature. It was amazing to see and it was amazing to experience the changes that occurred as we continued the hike. Part gallery, part jungle, and part forest. It was everything you want in one hike.
If you ever go to Colombia make a stop in Salento and do the Cocora Hike. It's challenging but it is so worth it.
A new experience for me was staying in hostels. I had never stayed in one before so for me it was quite the shock the first night. We were in a hostel in Bogota Colombia and even though the hostel was nice I was on edge about where to leave my stuff. They did provide lockers but no locks for the lockers themselves so that put me on edge and made me a little uncertain about what to do. For about twenty minutes I went back and forth. Do I put it in the locker, do I put the stuff in the bunks, what do I do?
Finally I made a decision to put the stuff I didn't want to carry in my bunk and closed the curtain. When we came back from our dinner I half expecting things to be missing but to my surprise and relief everything was still where I left it. After that first day things became easier and I relaxed about the situation. I was excited to see the other hostels and what they would hold for us. After staying in the one in Bogota we moved on to one in Salento that had amazing views. You could see the mountains everywhere and the situation was pretty much the same. They had lockers underneath the beds and you just choose one and took off for the day.
It was a nice setup and was definitely a favorite of mine. They had hammocks, a TV room, fresh air, breakfast, nice showers where you had privacy, and the area it was in was calm. It didn't have a lot of people around let alone tourists so it was nice to have that change of pace. I could even walk around without feeling like I might get harassed by others.
The last hostel we stayed in was in Medellin and that hostel in particular was not my favorite. Mostly because the position it was in was unsafe for me to run. I was not happy about that and the timing to stay in it was not good for someone like me. Even when I travel I do like to keep up with my running routines and it was slightly annoying to have to deal with that and find an indoor gym to go to. Of course, in the end it worked out but it was frustrating for me at that time.
Overall I would say that the hostel in Salento was a favorite and I really enjoyed being there. I hope that someday I might go back and if I don't get the chance to go back then I would say that it was definitely worth the small trip over there.
While in Colombia we got to see a ton of street art. It was such a sight to see and it honestly made me super happy to see all this creativity everywhere. You would leave your hostel, turn around and everywhere you looked people had put up so many amazing pieces. Owls, flowers, people taking baths, people smoking, and etc. It was on every block, it was on every corner, every public place. It was amazing. Just to make you guys feel some happiness I'm gonna post some of that street art on here so that you guys can have a smile on your face while you dealing with this "situation" that we are in. Whether you are in quarantine, at work, or just mad at the world for blowing this ups that you can't do anything, just remember that there are still good things out there. There are still people being creative and sharing that with others.
So here you go. Check out some of these amazing pieces I was able to capture.
I hope you guys are doing ok during this outbreak from the virus. Please be safe and remember that everything will be ok. It will take time but eventually, this will calm down and everything will resume. For now, take care of yourself and just do the best you can to keep it together during these hard times.
I'm home and it feels so good. I even slept a good twelve hours in my own bed because I think my body was just ready to crash. Now I bet some of you are wondering what happened on my way home. To be honest it was super simple. In Bogota, there were people around but it seemed to be pretty normal. We had masks everywhere but we expected that. The only trouble was not knowing if those people were actually sick or if they were just trying to protect themselves. It honestly was difficult to know. When we went to check our bags in we asked the lady to cancel our flight to New Orleans. We were supposed to fly from Bogota to Atlanta, have a seven-hour layover, and then fly to New Orleans. My friend and I were both unsure about staying in Atlanta. We had heard that the airport was terrible and just swarmed with people getting home. So to avoid that we decided to go ahead and cancel the next flight entirely.
With time to spare in the airport, we went ahead and walked around in the shops and bought last-minute gifts. I wanted to get my Dad some extra stuff, get my boyfriend something and just enjoy the browsing. We had been on nine our bus overnight to get to the airport and when we got through customs and everything we had two hours to spare. So browsing, washing up and just enjoying the last few hours in Colombia was a necessary thing to avoid boredom.
After a few hours, we boarded our flight and took a look around. It was crowded with all kinds of people (even a cat!) and we were taken aback by how many people were on the plane. We were even sure that we got upgraded to a bigger plane because of the number of people we had. It was pretty serious, seeing all of this happening.
Fast forward about four hours and we were on the ground, off the plane and walking to the customs guys. Looking around the airport was dead. Nobody was there. we walked about a mile and most of the airport was closed off to prevent people from wandering around. We finally get up to the last part of customs where we have claim items and be asked questions by an officer. I was expecting quite a lot of questions so I prepared myself mentally. When It was my turn I walked up to the officer, smiled and handed him my passport with a friendly "Hello". He asked me how I was and I told him I was doing good.
He then proceeded with the following.
"Where do you live?"
"How long were you in Colombia for?"
"Were you traveling with anybody during this time?"
"My friend ____"
"Just you two?"
"Why were you in Colombia?"
"To see things...basically just to visit and take a small vacation"
"Have you been to China, Europe, or African Countries?"
"Alright have a nice day"
That's it. No screening, no special instructions, nothing. To be honest I was expecting a 50/50 chance of being screened or quarantined but at the same time, I knew from my last two trips that that was very slim and as I turned out I was right. I wasn't asked a lot of questions and we were just waved through. So if you were wondering what they are doing in the biggest airport around...well there you go. Not much.
So I am home, I don't know if I have the virus but we will find out in two weeks time. For now, I'm just going to enjoy life and just take things as they are. This virus has everyone freaking out and even though some of that is expected I also know that we will be ok. We are in times where something like this has never happened before but we will get through this. Just breathe. It really will be ok.
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