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      This was my third time to Colombia. The first two times it was too dangerous to travel overland so I relished the opportunity to see some other parts of the country. I really like Colombia. It reminded me of Brazil. I always reflexively say that Brazil is my favorite country in Latin America, but after some time in Colombia, I couldn't remember why.
      I love these two photos. "Christopher Columbus, I hate you!" is graffiti on the side of the Spanish consulate in Cali and this guy dozing in such an impossible position is in Popayan.

      I thought Ecuador was pretty but Colombia ratcheted it up a notch. I have to say, though, that I was on the bus ride from hell between Pasto and Popayan and I ready to hang myself after this journey--but only after I sadistically killed the bus driver, an already-suicidal kid who passed on blind curves at night, among other transgressions. Between Lima, Peru and Popayan, I had traveled northward every single day except one. I was exhausted and on no mood for kamikaze bus drivers.
      Popayan was the perfect antidote, though, as it is a sharp little colonial town that few tourists visit. And when I saw this sign on the right, I couldn't help but smile. Actually, my first thought was that I had been instantly transported to Japan.

      Both from Popayan, an oven making arepas con choclo y queso and a bridge near the main square.

      I like this photo from the main river in Cali. It was the only thing I liked about Cali as I had a miserable birthday there for a multitude of reasons. The other photo is of garbage cans from the main square in the village of Salento in the primary coffee growing area of Colombia.

      I did a daytrip, a hike into the Valle de Cocora, a strikingly green and lush area as you can see below. Above is a rickety bridge and some hummingbirds that are used to humans nearby.

      Armenia is a town near Salento. On the right is a sign for an intercity taxi company in Manizales tabulating the number of accidents, deaths and injuries for the month of January.

      Manizales. That orange fruit on the hood of the car is a granadilla, one of my favorites. It is easy to become addicted to them. Colombia, like Brazil, reveres their fruits and whole fruits, fruit drinks, and sliced fruit are sold everywhere. My kind of country.

      The next bunch of photos are from Medellin. A guanabana (soursop) juice guy sells this wonderful, underappreciated fruit. I asked someone why a toilet needs this lock contraption, but I don't remember the answer.

      Ben, a Chinese Australian staying at the same hostel, and I went downtown and met these crazy girls running a street juice place. I like the electrical connection in the gutter. Is this up to code?

      Ben, you know I love you like a brother, but you need to travel lighter. (I told him I was going to out him on my website). People are amazed at how light I travel, but I assert that everyone else travels heavy. At least he can say he has his wits about him. My brain was fried by this time.

      This is a common lunch menu. For 5000 pesos (about $2.10) you have a choice of four main courses, 3 soups, plus rice and salad PLUS a pineapple juice or something also delicious, an "oat juice". On the right is a poster for a soccer game I went to, Medellin vs. Cartagena. It rained the whole time and was pretty forgettable. Below is one of many statues from Fernando Botero, Medellin's native son. Who is a more famous living artist than Botero?

      Downtown Medellin. A man kneading a taffy-like sweet. The clothes shop is called "Sexy Little Fat Girl".

I doubt they export much to my country.

A website for a public toilet!
(The domain name is actually available, too!)

      It isn't out of vanity that this guy has his license plate number on his vest and helmet; it is the law. In the bad old days motorcyclists would do crimes and drive away with impunity, but it's harder now when you have to advertise yourself. The woman is a security guard for the mass transit Metrocable. A killing machine!

      I LOVE the Metrocable. It is one of the greatest mass transit systems in the world if only because it has an integrated cable car. In fact, it has two cable cars for diiferent parts of town. Plus, if I am not mistaken, it is the only metro system between Mexico City and Rio. The cable car comes up to this collection of buildings in the right photo below, the main one being a library. Medellin had (has?) a law stating that if you construct a new building, you have to set aside 5% of your budget for public art. Seems onerous to me, but it does make for lots of interesting projects.

A mural near the library


      Two views of Bogota from its tallest building. The first view is of a bullfighting ring and the other is looking down at a flea market. I am a flea market aficionado and my Couch Surfing host Carolina kindly took me there. Notice there are no cars on that main street to the lower right? On Sundays cars are prohibited on several thoroughfares and people take advantage of it.

Cheese and Liquor Store! I miss Colombia....

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Brazil Paraguay Argentina Chile Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia

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