Oh the Places We Go… PART I

What to do on a Sunday afternoon? Maybe, rent a car and drive to Armenia? Yeah, good idea! So Juan Pablo, Mayi, Damion, and I packed our few things and headed for the open Colombian road. It was a rocky start, beginning first at 7pm driving to Rio Negro a small pueblo outside of Medellin.  It was a colorful town with an open Market selling foods and crafts with stacks of families. Little did we know how cool it was going to be during the night, and so we turned back to Medellin to grab jackets and stock up on a healthy diet of energy drinks, chips, cookies, oh and apples and bananas too. It was confusing how to get home because of the massive taco (traffic jam) and peppered street lights. In order to escape the chaos, and after missing a turn on a roundabout, we had no choice but to drive onto unusually large sidewalk to get out of cul-de-sac. Two hours later, we were prepared for the 5 hour journey into the coffee region of Colombia.

With that said, nobody really knew how to get to the highway. After countless misdirections, one in which resulted in driving onto a severely battered one way road with bushes hitting the car, we made it onto the autopista. I can’t say this new road was much better however. It was filled with an endless amount of turns, In Colombia, there are no straight streets. Also, successfully passing a slow truck is a constant renewed miracle. For one, there is no speed limit, the roads are unfinished in countless areas, and if you’re not watching carefully you will tumble down the mountainside, there may be a section of the road that has collapsed, and obviously there shouldn’t be any warning or illuminating tape. It’s as if a series of earthquakes or explosives have rocked the area. It soon became difficult for everyone to sleep because they wanted to catch their last few minutes of life.

After several bumps, turns, near death experiences, and swigs of Monster we made it to a bus stop with food and bathrooms. It was a great place to stretch your legs, regardless of numerous salamanders crawling on the walls and floor. I switched driving with Damion. Yet, the fear of death didn’t decrease. Every 10 minutes there is a series of speed bumps, and along with them, we flew in the air a good foot. I was watching my final moments of life holding onto Mayi in the back seat and we kept wishing to escape the nightmare that they call roads.

Miraculously, we made it to Armenia, our final destination only to be stopped by two police officers. I hate the police officers. We were immensely tired after driving for 5 hours and just wanted to go to sleep. Alas, we were stopped for absolutely no reason and given a ridiculous fine. Saying the police force in Colombia is corrupt is an understatement. They get paid an exceptional salary and they still ask for bribes. So instead of paying the multa, which thus infers paying the the car rental company, we ended up paying 40.000 COP to leave ‘in peace.’ With their escort of course. And we finally arrived with our unresponsive bodies to one large bed.

Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time

Leo F. Busgalia