Saturday, May 5, 2012

The last step: Bogota to New Jersey!!

Home again home again jiggity jig.

This will most likely be my last post for the bloggy blog, after two and a half years of doing it (or trying to keep up with it). I'm not sure where this post is going to go but it'll have a bunch of everything. (stats, reflections, etc.) Firstly, though, I will start off with our very small amount of time in Bogota.
It was the last overnight bus of the trip!!! and I was actually tired enough to be able to sleep and had 2 seats to myself. I also had a very unhappy stomach. I fell asleep for maybe 45 mins when we suddenly stopped and were told we needed to switch buses (around 12am). The bus we switched to was NOT as comfy as the one we just were in and there weren't extra seats so I had to stay in mine. I think I actually did end up getting some sleep though and on the same bus was an Australian couple we had met in Huacachina! We arrived in Bogota at 2:30 pm and decided to follow the Aussies to Hostel Platypus. The Bogota terminal had something we hadn't seen in any other city regarding taxis. People were lining up and getting a slip from this guy in a booth, then going out to the parking lot and finding the taxi with the license plate number that was on the slip and getting in, price already determined on the paper. We thought this was a great way to do it, until we tried it. We went up to the booth wanting all four of us to go all together but we had a LOT of stuff with us so we asked for a big taxi. He was like 'ok this one is kinda big' and when we went out and gave the guy the ticket (it was not a big car) he refused to take us, as did everyone else who saw all our stuff. Although they would take all of us in the car for 20COP (Colombian pesos). Then we asked to split up and if they could take two of us. "No, that person isn't here anymore, we won't take two but we'll take all four for 20". Since our original quote was 9COP we were like no way! So we went to the road to get one the normal way, got in and asked the price and he was sketch about it. I asked again and he said 15COP. Jeeze. We were quoted 9 from the same place!! So we got him down to 11.

 For our last hostel we splurged on a double room, it wasn't anything special but it was nice enough. We headed out to the Museo de Oro (gold museum) which we heard was nice, and it was! For only $1.50 we went to the best museum out of all we've been to! Very well put together, modern and informative in both Spanish and English. That night we had some farewell drinks with the Aussies and went to bed early since we had to be up for a 8:50 flight back home!!

It was a very quick flight, but with no free movies :( and we got in earlier than expected! Of course Nick had trouble at the border because he always does. We prepared for it but thankfully he got through after a full interrogation. I, on the other hand, waltzed right through and waited. and waited. Then when Nick came through we waited some more together since my welcome commitee was not there! Apparently on line it said our flight would be late! It felt sooo good to be back! Soooo good to see everyone and my house! My dog went absolutely nuts when she saw us, licking and wiggling! It was great. We were ready to be here. My bed is the most comfortable, amazing place ever.

Pottery monkey boy from gold museum

heavy duty door at museum

gold stuff!

gold representation of a shaman and his helpers going to give offerings to the gods at Lake Titicaca I think.

Sadie extremely happy to have us home!

Some thoughts and stats...
We visited 8 countries (Uruguay being counted but on a different trip)
We traveled 10,929 miles (17,588km) starting in Carapegua, PY and ending in Bogota, Colombia
We took 35 buses to get us across the continent
We spent $1,255 on bus travel..$580 alone was just for traveling in Patagonia
I slept a total of 7 hours combined on all the night buses
Peed on 5 times by monkeys
I lost or broke 1 camera, 1 pair of glasses, 3 pairs of sunglasses, 1 raincoat, 1 headband I just bought, 2 hairclips, 1 fleece, I know there's more just can't think of it.
Nick lost ...nothing
Only one thing stolen (the tarp)
Used the tent a grand total of 8 times
Slept in 45 beds
4352 hours doing the blog :p

About the countries:
Paraguay: After 2 years 3 months there I can say that Asuncion is one of my least fav cities in South America (although , of course, I can get around it the best. and it has Quattro D's), it's great to experience a place with no tourism but if you wanted to go just look up a Peace Corps Volunteer on Couch Surfing and they'll show you what PY is all about. At first I hated the food and at the end I craved it! Very curious and friendly people. Worst dogs I've ever met. Most deaths of animals I liked (my pets and others) that I had to deal with. Loved learning how to garden, even if it was in boxes. HOT HOT HOT. Terere.

Argentina: Big country! Highlights: BA, Hiking in El Chalten, nice buses, wine tour in Mendoza. Lowlights: long, monotonous bus rides, expensive buses esp. in Patagonia, expensive tours that you couldn't do on your own, had to be with a company unless you had your own car (penguins). Generally, we would have gotten more out of this country if we had a car to see it with.

Chile: We don't really know Chile since we just went to Puerto Natales. Highlights: Our week spent at Erratic Rock as evacuees (including New Years Eve). Lowlights: Torres del Paine being on fire and getting evacuated and not getting to do it, the whole reason we came down to Patagonia

Bolivia: It was way better than we expected! I heard it was a poorer country than Paraguay so I didn't know what to think, but it was so different from PY and so diverse! The landscape was amazing and always different. What a great country. Highlights: Volunteering at La Senda Verde, Isla del Sol, the scenery, cheapness!!, the women wearing traditional clothing, salt flats, so much to do and see there, best place to buy souvenirs. Lowlights: crappy buses with no bathrooms, crazy, windy roads, coca leaves, had to remember to always have toilet paper with you.

Peru: We didn't want to leave Bolivia but we had to move on. Highlights: The dune buggies at Huacachina and hangin by the pool, Cuzco, tuktuks, we had fun finding cheap ways to get by in Cuzco, the scenery around Machu Picchu. Lowlights: hiking the stairs at 5am to MP!! very touristy, the sellers always coming up to you in Cuzco and us constantly repeating 'no, gracias.'

: We weren't here for toooo long, maybe a week in total so we don't know it as well. We just hit the beaches and got out. It was also so weird to use the dollar as currency! Highlights: Tropical scenery while driving along coast, Montanita had the biggest waves I've seen, finding a cheap place to stay in Montanita during Easter, amazing strawberry batidos (strawberry smoothie with milk), fruit salads! Good seafood and renting a scooter to see the equator. They seem to be more environmentally aware. Lowlights: Food was expensive in Quito, Galapagos too expensive for us :(

Colombia: We were only here a week and a half. Highlights: Cartagena, Mud volcano, scenery in Parque Tayrona. Lowlights: Expensive (on par or higher than Argentina!) I had a tough time understanding their Spanish and they couldn't understand mine.

Things we'll miss about South America:
  • The laid backness
  • community oriented
  • not so driven by consumerism
  • easy border crossings
  • cheaper than home
  • people generally friendly
  • scenery
Things we will not miss at all!!:
  • Littering
  • no toilet paper
  • having to pay for use of bathroom
  • getting lied to and knowing you can't trust what people say when asking about things (like what time will the bus leave, does the WIFI work, who will be on this tour with us.. etc)
  • lack of businesses sense
  • lack of consideration. The things we consider rude are just not considered it down there and we were done with dealing with it! Cutting in line, blasting music from the cell phone on a bus when people are trying to sleep, blasting music on a bus when people are trying to sleep, being in the middle of a sales transaction and suddenly the clerk goes to help someone else while you're standing there waiting to finish paying, hitting the back of bus seats or movie theater chairs, etc..
  • When crossing streets people speed up!
  • Seeing the street dogs and cats 
  • Seeing used, dirty diapers eaten by dogs in the streets

Home Sweet Home