Saturday, 25 October 2008

I left Cartagena snapping my finger nails clinging to the times had. almost destroying the hotel holidays reception area, with my fat panniers and mild incoherance. Bounced down the Getsmani curb and wisked away south by the relatively mellow traffic. Half mile out finding the calle el mundo de motocicletas. A road seemingly miles long, every shop a motorcycle shop with bikes rasping in and out like an ants nest. Dust and deisel everywhere. Buses arguing with their horns and passangers hanging out of the door ways arms swinging in gestures. Here i found my high viz jacket with number plate glued on the back. number plate on helmet also. apparently not that necessary for tourists but better no hassle safe than sorry. Another half mile the road stops. traffics mayhem and the road works have no suggestion of an alternative direction. Stuff this i say and lay up at a sweet shop drinking water and chatting football to the man utd supporting shop keeper. he has heard of the mighty eagles. im chuffed to bits and wanna give him my palace top, but decide to not to. how else will i educate latin america on real football !! . thoughts of another night back in colourful cartagena, but i would be a laughing stock. ... im off, 10mins later im lost again. not even out of the suburbs. A bloke on a C90 riding one handed. his left hand carrying his work brief case, the laundry , what might be his grand children and the dog , leads me to the alley way i need to get to the southern hills. medellin, medellin i shout at him. his balance on the step through is incredible in the traffic...its not long and im slicing through farmland with perfume aromas, not the typical farmland stench. small villages made up of tiny square houses with one door and windows either side, palm roofs. colourful paintwork always. Flowers, all colours and sizes perfectly taken care of surround these casas. The landscape is vast. tight steep hills blending into each other with no fences. very green. all shades of green under the sun and moving clouds. coes with baggy necks and huge big ears stand tall on the steepness. The rains bring an unneeded solace. im probably the most content i have ever been. this goes on for 4 hours. twighlight comes in purple. I only get as far as Sincelejo 189kms, where i find a cheap flash hotel with a hamburger and the skinniest cerveza bottle ever. Aircon and loads of "MMMMMMMMM" and "AAAAHHHHHHHS" as i sink into a huge soft pillow.....Up and out early . 8a.m. im excited to ride again after scrambled eggs, flat corn and flat arepa. i meet Adrianna the artist. The toy town vastness rolls into the first peaks i have seen since middle mexico. more than just hills. is this the start of the andes ? Colombia has 3 cordilleras running north south. i have found the westerly spine. the breeze through my helmet is cool at last. The road turns into small straights , hairpins and perfect tarmac. 4th gear doesnt get a chance. it gets steep and thin. trucks stand still in the corners, then after the drivers have debated they crawl around the corners. The locals intelligently stroll through the corner traffic standstills selling melon, juices, water, empanadas and im not sure what . I want melon, but as soon as my lid comes off the traffic moves along. no melon for me. The steep dropoffs the side of the road are filled with those tiny houses again. made at low cost i guess. its ironic, the most uncostly housing built, on premier land overlooking grand, huge, incredible words cant find descriptions, vast vallies. probably some of the best scenery on earth. i cant help feeling happy for these people. they must know stuff i will never know. Apparently these lands are owned by officials in offices, but the locals just grab a plot and make a life there. Fantastic !....... its a climb for hours. it drops some then climbs again into the clouds. mysterious mist, where shapes just appear from the white. The road turns nastyish, gravel, potholes large and ramps cambering off the precipises, sliding you in that direction. Up and over the peaks. im down in a small town built into the sides of cliffs, some very steep. all buildings red brick. i gas up and meet victor from medellin. he has a honda 400 crosser that he blast up and over everywhere on. hes facinated with FXS and curious.Purple twilight again hanging over the far off peaks. i cant make medellin tonight. a hospedaje appears at a truck stop. all dusk, dust and deisel . men in wellies. no camo wear and wellies though, thank the universe !. pollo fritas y arroz started with beans big and sauce along side weary stained faced truckers, then im asleep. medellin tomorrow no doubt. its only 80ish kms away. what can go wrong ? i dont wanna ride at night here. JUST because i dont wanna miss anything in and around this landscape. colombia what a suprise it all is !

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