Hot weather! As we headed further northeast in Colombia, we began to experience hot weather. We had been in cooler climates for so long, the heat felt great.
First we had to drive through some crazy traffic. Our new navigating system, "mapsme", although able to show our " ioverland" sites, was not working for us in cities. After several wrong turns, and a few more city trials, we have returned to "forever maps", using mapsme as a reference.
I always thought that I was a better driver than Mike. That may still be the case in countries with traffic rules and drivers that obey them. Here in South America, Mike has been negotiating rough terrain, narrow roads, crazy truck drivers and chaotic traffic at ease. For him, it is like playing a computer game with objects coming at you from all sides, obstacles in your path, and needing to make fast moves and quick decisions. No wonder he does so well!
In the lower lying areas we began to see more farmland and even rice growing. After a 15-minute conversation with some police officers that had pulled us over, we took their recommendation and headed into an area near the town of Rivera. We were able to fill up our water tanks with potable water for free at a gas station in the town.
Our first stop was at a river camp where Keira took a swim and I waded in the river. It was refreshing but we wanted to check out some thermal springs further up the mountain, so we moved on. We found a place that offered camping and had a natural pool.
The location was superb. There was a magnificent view, open spaces, and an abundance of animals. They had geese, ducks, green parrots, macaws, chickens, peacocks, dogs, and cats. Keira instantly wanted to stay.
Unfortunately, the natural pool that we thought was hot was in fact cold and quite frigid, in the late afternoon. I took the plunge and actually found it refreshing. Shots of the local anise alcohol from some local Colombians, helped abate the cold.
That night the wind picked up and it was quite a battle to prepare dinner. We opted for movies in the tent.
I have been walking and running in the mornings resuming a family tradition that my father, brother and I use to partake in on our family vacations. We would all go for early morning runs, so we could explore the area. For me, it provides some consistent exercise, keeps my back problems in check and does allow me to scope out the area. I also enjoy seeing the daily morning rituals of the various cultures.
That morning after packing up camp, the temperature was already rising, so we decided to explore a waterfall on the property. We were not disappointed. We waded in the waters and played in the waterfall for an hour or so. We had the place to ourselves. It was magical.
Desierto Tatacoa was our next destination. And it was HOT!
We found the only swimming pool in the area, and spent the day relaxing in the cool waters. The night bought with it extreme winds, which once again provided cooking challenges. The sunset was beautiful and the temperature did decrease slightly. We went to bed hoping the wind would stop so we could get some sleep. During the night we could see in the distance a big storm threatening to engulf us. This did not happen and we got our wish, the wind dropped.
AHHHH! The wind ceased and with the stillness came the extreme heat.
Luckily we had a battery powered fan that provided some relief. We had to filter water half way through the night as we drank to replace our fluids. What a night!
The owner of the campsite and pools, Hugo, was a real character. The whole time we were there he wore nothing but green shorts. He came to talk, watch us cook and proceeded to drink most of Mike’s rum supply that he had just bought in Hugo’s store.
So with the Rivera and desert explored, it was the famous coffee region of Salento next on our list.
HIGHLIGHTS/CHALLENGES OF THIS AREA:
MOST VALUED POSSESION: battery powered fan
BEST EXPERIENCE: Mike- swimming in the waterfall; Keira-playing in the waterfall and scrubbing Mum and Dads feet with rocks; Riss-swimming in the waterfall
MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE: Mike- one lane roads and big trucks; Keira- getting bitten by a parrot that fell from a tree, I was trying to help him, but he got scared; Riss- dealing with the wind
BEST FOOD DISCOVERY: Mike- bag of 10 mangoes for $1, Keira- cold drinks; Riss- fresh cold mangoes
BEST CAMPING SPOT: desert, but the winds were crazy
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.