Travels
Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

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. 

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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. 

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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?"

"Florida"

"How long were you in Colombia for?"

"10 days"

"Were you traveling with anybody during this time?"

"My friend ____"

"Just you two?"

"Yes Sir"


"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?"

"No Sir"

"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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2020-03-13 22:31 by Sarah Denninger
in Travel/Stories/Tips , 24 references
 

We just got done with the Pablo tour. To be honest I wasn't too sure about the tour but I knew that my friends wanted to do it so in the end I just decided to go ahead and do that tour no matter what. So we got up early in the morning, went outside and met the tour guide. Now supposedly the tour was going to be done by Pablo's body guard and I was a little intrigued by that. So once we got outside we were greeted by our guide and quickly I realized that the body guard was not the tour guide. It was somebody else that spoke pretty ok English. 

After getting in the van we got greeted with what we were to expect on the tour and quickly I saw that we were not going to do everything that we expected. Our tour guide started with the history of Pablo and what that meant for Colombia. He told us about some of the history that lead to Pablo's death and even told us that we could be the judge of Pablo and what we think as we go through the tour. 

Once we got to our first destination we got out of the van and he ran us through the important people that Pablo killed. He told us about Police officers, government officials, judges, even someone who was running for president. The destination was a memorial and it was only put up in the past year or so and this was done to give people the opportunity to learn more about the history of Pablo and to be able to pay respects to those who lives were lost from what Pablo had done. As we walked around the memorial we saw that there was a section that was just dedicated to the history of the bombings that he did. The tour guide asked us to count how the number of bombings and I swear that there were over one hundred of them on the memorial wall. 

After we got done with the memorial we went to Pablo's prison. What was interesting is that he built it himself. I guess that you get that freedom when you are the seven richest man in the world back in the 80's and also one of the most feared men around. He built his prison with a helicopter pad, a suit he lived in with stacks of money by his bed, he had private parties in the prison and was just all out for a year and a half while he was locked away. Of course he was never really "locked away" but it was close enough to give people some "peace". After a year and a half of volunteering himself up he got paranoid about loosing money and going broke so he broke out and made his big escape on the mountain side. During the tour we got to walk part of the escape and to be honest it was quite beautiful but daunting. I couldn't imagine going through that when you are running for your life. 

From the prison we went to his gravesite an there the tour lost a little interest for me. He talked about everybody that was burred in the area and the history behind them. Once the graves were shown to us we got to meet the bodyguard and he talked to us about how he was an addict to cocaine and how he changed his life around once Pablo was dead. He didn't like all the innocent killing and was drawn in because of his generosity to the people. He gave his bodyguard a house for him and his family. He gave them a source of income and turned their lives around. 

He told us that we shouldn't do drugs, to stay away from prostitutions and to  not get involved in guys who sell drugs or promise money, houses, or expensive things. Stay away from it and just remember that money doesn't buy happiness. It was honestly quite interesting at the end and it was one of those things that I was happy to do but I also could have done without it. 

So If you want to learn about Pablo and your ever in Colombia definitely check it out. Its worth the lesson. 

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For the past few days the WiFi connection has been spotty. So that is why you haven't seen any posts recently and for that I apologize. Our last few hostels had connection but it didn't work on the tablets which made things a little difficult on my end. We aren't really sure why that is but we just rolled with it the best we could. 

Right now we are on day 6 in Colombia and soon we will be flying back to the United states. To be honest I'm hoping things go smoothly and we can get home. There are people here from other countries who can't go back because of the coronovirus and it is causing some panic for some people. I honestly think that it's dumb and that people shouldn't be freaking out this badly. I know there are deaths but people always die and most of them have been the elderly or people with immune issues. 

Right now it looks like we might be quarantined when we get back to the United states and I really hope that doesn't happen. I just want to go home and even if it's late I can hear my bed calling. We have been having fun in Colombia but, at the end of the day I have to return back to work and make money, move my stuff and so on. 

It's crazy that all this is happening.  I hope for everyone's sake that this stops and that people will be able to get home. But stay tuned for more stories this evening. I have so much to update you on. 

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