Leaving Salento, Colombia was a whirlwind. We caught a bus at the square, changed buses in Armenia and headed toward Cali, Colombia. Upon arriving, we took a taxi to our hostel and settled in. We tried to go out for some dinner, but were really disappointed in the options. The next day, we walked about 15 blocks to the city square to see some sights and grab some lunch. Once again, disappointment as nothing looked tasty or interesting and the air was so smoggy it hurt to breath. At that point I said to Dusty, “You wanna go to Ecuador?” and the answer was “Yes!” So we did. We hustled back to our hostel, packed up our things, bought a plane ticket, left money on our bed for the one night we stayed and caught a cab to Cali’s airport. Just a few hours later we were in Guayaquil, Ecuador!
That’s the fun thing about sabbaticals! You can go and do whatever you like! Don’t like a place? Then you just leave! However, I do feel a little sad about leaving so quickly. What if we didn’t give it a fair enough shot? I will never know. I do know there were a couple of things we missed in Colombia such as Cartagena and the lost city. These we will have to hit on our circle back through South America.
A few things I’ve learned about Colombia….
- At restaurants, Colombians will not bother you about a check. You can sit there for hours and no one will ever bring it to you until you ask for it. It was a breath of fresh air compared to being force fed your bill before you even finish eating at some establishments in the US.
- The girls in Salento (I can’t attest to this for the rest of the country) walk arm in arm. All the time. Little girl couples roaming the town. It’s strange.
- The haircut of choice for young men in Medellin between ages 17 to 23 is a faux hawk + mullet. Party on top, party in the back!
- I thought I was pretty good at Spanish, not a chance. I sucked at it in Colombia. My family can attest to me getting by in Mexico. Either they are speaking a different Spanish in Colombia or I have forgotten everything.
- I really enjoy hearing “Con much gusto.” It’s my favorite phrase.
A few things I’ve learned while traveling…
- On a recent vacations to Mexico and Florida, I found myself in what I call “hurry up and relax” mode. Show up, get settled, hurry up and get some sun at the beach, don’t stay there too long because there’s dinner reservations to be made…and don’t forget about the shopping and the excursions! MUST. DO. BEFORE. WE. GO. HOME. Guh. There’s no need for that here but I catch myself getting sucked into it. This isn’t vacation, it’s life. No need to rush it. We can stay longer in one spot if we want. Reading is okay, surfing the web is okay, chillin on the farm watching the cows walk by is ok because it’s all part of the experience of living abroad.
- Jeans and cotton sweatshirt were poor choices. Neither one of them had been washed in 2 weeks because it would take 10 days to dry. Guess how good I smelled.
- After trying to go true hippie style by not shaving my armpits, I found myself feeling self conscious while putting a pony tail in my hair. Must shave pits.
- Not planning while in the states was a good idea. I’ve learned so much more about where to go and what to see by simply talking to others in our hostels. In fact, we were originally going to go to Bogota after Medellin but instead ended up in coffee country on a farm. Who’d have guessed?
- Booking flights from the states is more expensive than doing it here. For instance, I looked up flights from Cali, Colombia to Guayaquil, Ecuador on kayak.com. I first used my ipad. I then jumped on Dusty’s computer, who’s internet traffic is being routed through California and the same flight was $150 more expensive. It wasn’t a timing thing either. We both then searched at the same time and the same result. Very sneaky.
I hope to learn even more while in Ecuador as we’ll be here for a month or two. We’re currently in Salinas which is the furthest west point of South America (excluding islands). More posts to come on the adventure of ending up here. Adios!