It is strange and fun company we keep when we travel solo. You share so many moments with complete strangers who become your confidants in minutes time. There’s the German I shared a crazy ride to the airport in San Juan; he’d been traveling for ten months and had fallen in love with Singapore where he was now going to move to. The Belgian electrician turned geriatric nurse I hiked the Annapurnas with. The American working in human rights in Indonesia who was the last to get on his flight to Panama because he was showing me how to use my new DSLR. Then, on my way to Quito and thanks to Facebook, I actually met up with a bondafide friend, AD.
First, I had to get to Cali, Colombia. To get to the airport, I split a cab with a friendly Romanian with beautiful green eyes. I was warned Colombia had intense security and so I arrived with hours and hours to spare. My bad. The intense measures seem only to apply for international flights. I was through to the domestic departure gate in less then fifteen minutes. Fortunately, BOG had free wifi and I watched movies and chatted with friends.
The flight was super quick, the flight attendants barely had enough time to make it down the aisles with beverages (coffee or water) before the descent began. I mostly slept, it was almost midnight. The cab fare into the city was tremendous, $48,000 COP (almost $25 USD). The bus back to the airport, which I would catch on the side of the road, would be $4,000 COP ($2 USD). But my driver found my hostel without too much trouble and I quickly settled into a hot, cramped, smelly, humid room full of guys passed out. Super glamourous I know.
In the morning, AD and I learned we were only ten minutes apart over gchat. Sweet! I jumped into a cab and we caught up over fresh fruit and yogurt. AD filled me in about life in Jo’burg, he cooped there in 2010, and promised to connect me with his artist friends. I was also super curious about AD’s trip because he is running the Boston Marathon on MONDAY but his friend is getting married and that’s what you do for friends. Super cool place for a wedding.
After AD left with his crew to go adventuring in the campo (country), I headed over on foot to Cali’s zoo, Zoologico de Cali. Trying to find something myself always means asking for directions and so, forty minutes later, I asked my tenth senora for some help and she smiled and pointed up the road where I could just barely make out blue flags–we made it!!