Day 125 – Bogota, CO

Day 125 – Bogotá, CO      12/24/10      Mileage: local miles

This morning Brian and I met for breakfast and it was good to see a familiar face. He has had a bad cold for 2 weeks and had some trouble with Girag. Apparently it took 4-5 days for the bike to get from Panama to Bogotá. I hope my KLR is here in Bogotá as I’ve sent 2 emails to Girag for an update and have not heard back. Well, only one way to find out, so after breakfast a hopped a cab to the international air cargo terminal to hopefully spring my bike from the slammer. Once I found the Girag office, I was pleased to find out the bike was indeed here in Bogata…awesome!

So with my and a new stack of paperwork, I was off to Colombia customs to import the KLR.

This is the Colombian aduana building at the airport freight terminal

The paperwork only required one visit to a pair of nice ladies who took care of the whole import permit for me.

I thanked them for their refreshing efficiency and went back to Girag with my freshly minted import permit.

Inside the Girag warehouse

The bike looked to be in one piece…great…now if only I didn’t leave the damn key back at the hotel. Crap! Looks like another hour taxi tour of the city…which I’ll call a $25 spanish lesson also as I got to practice with Jose, my round-trip cabby.

This white building behind the wall is the US Embassy here in Bogotá….

So now I’ve got the key and back at Girag I sprang the bike from the warehouse and I’m off and riding in Bogotá!

To get out of the warehouse, they put a ramp down from the loading dock.

Back at the hotel I stashed the bike in their secure lot, dumped my gear and went out to explore the city and get a lite bite. It’s late afternoon on Christmas Eve day and I’m surprised to see everything is still open…but it allows me to get a good feel for the city instead of being all closed up. I stopped for a beer and some tapas, but aside from that I walked around for almost 5 hours seeing the sights.


This guy had a funny street game going…you place your bet on which bowl the guinea pig will run and hide under…a sort of guinea pig roulette!

Back at the hotel I met up with Brian and Andy who is another rider originally from the UK but living in NYC. He road down from NYC and was also heading for Argentina. Undeterred by the fact that it was Christmas Eve, we wandered out to see if by chance there was a restaurant that was still open.

Well, as you might have guessed, there wasn’t….so we ended up getting some Italian takeout (calzone for me) and a few beers and went back to Andy’s hostel for Christmas dinner.

Ordering dinner from our “street pizzaria”…

From L to R: Andy, me and Brian

While certainly not traditional, it was still good fun.

Day 124 – Cartagena, CO to Bogota, CO

Day 124 – Cartagena, CO to Bogotá, CO 12/23/10 Mileage: Riding 0 / 1 airline flight

No alpine start for me today as I was still feeling the effects of those caipirinhas. That’s it, I’m not drinking anymore…..or at least not before lunch. 😉 Armed with my camera I spent the next 3 hours on a photo safari around old town Cartagena. It was like the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel as Cartagena is very picturesque. The old town and its Spanish colonial architecture is contained within the walls of a fort perched right on the Caribbean Sea…pretty idyllic. History is everywhere you look and you can feel it’s depth as you stroll along the tight colonial era streets. Here are the pics…

I stopped into this stand that makes great fruit juices and smoothies…

Fresh fruit is available everywhere on the street from these carts…

I toured the Naval Museum which was nice and only $3.50

On the way back to the hotel, I swung through the local market which is always interesting!

After a nice lunch I went back to the hotel to collect my bags and head for the airport for my flight to Bogotá. The airport had free wifi and seats with with power outlets which was nice for a change…I think all airports should do that! The flight was short and uneventful and once on the ground I hopped a taxi to the Dann Colonial Hotel which is where Brian has been staying the last few days. I dropped my bags and wandered out for a quick bite and then called it an early night.

Late night street pizza in Bogotá