Posted by: robinson2000 | January 15, 2011

New Continent, New Country, Colombia!

9th-10th January – We left Panama City with a sense of excitement and anticipation. If you believe the press & Hollywood films then Colombia has a terrible reputation for drug trafficking, kidnapping & civil war so we weren´t to sure what to expect. We arrived at the airport bleary eyed after an early start and were promptly told by the lady at the check-in desk that we couldn´t enter Colombia without an onward flight. After much deliberating we ended up having to buy another flight from Cali to Quito which didn´t please us or our debit cards one bit.

We touched down in Bogota safe and sound and caught a taxi to a hostel in an area of Bogota called La Candelaria. As someone who believes in first impressions, Bogota gave a pretty lousy one. The journey into the centre of Bogota was filled with graffiti covered streets, prostitutes and depressed looking buildings. Luckily things brightened up as we neared the city centre and was pleasantly surprised by the friendly hostel which was just up the road from a street market that was just like a jumble sale from the 1980´s. Some of the items (junk) for sale included Barbie dolls, original teenage mutant ninja turtles action figures, hub caps, pen lids and headless cuddly toys.  

The following day we checked out the main plaza called Plaza Bolivar which was named after Rice´s latest hero Simon Bolivar, who liberated a bunch of countries in South America from Spanish rule. The day was a bit of a washout as everything was closed so we spent the afternoon relaxing in the hostel. In the evening we headed to a restaurant just round the back of our hostel and had the best meal of the holiday cooked for us by a Puerto Rican man. This followed with a couple of drinks in a bohemian themed bar and then we headed to a hostel near ours that we heard had a good bar. We were only 20 yards from the doorway of this bar when I noticed out of the corner of my eye 3 guys running up from behind us. In a split second they had flanked us and were each waving a pretty big knife in our faces. We quickly gave over our wallets containing very little money and unfortunately they spotted my watch under my sleeve and took that too. The whole event felt like it lasted ages but they were incredibly quick and even gave us our empty wallets back as a goodwill gesture. They were then chased off by a security guard who heard the commotion and they quickly scampered. It was a strange experience having a knife pointed at your face but there was no time to feel fear or react quicker enough to do anything about the situation. Unfortunately for my two travelling companions this was the second time that they had been mugged on their travels and hopefully the last! I guess if there´s any where in the world where you are likely to get mugged then Bogota´s the place but don´t let it put you off.

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  1. You’re all seeing ‘life’ on your travels. Such a shame it’s at the sharp end of a knife!!!! Prehaps you should all have a look at the market and buy some scruffy clothes, don’t wash and grow very long beards while you in S. America. Thank heavens you’re not on your bikes for this leg of your journey or you would really would be stuck.
    Stay together and PLEASE be careful.
    Take care,
    Dotty and Mick x

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