Friday, January 21, 2011

Bogotá Colombia - Bribes, Paragliding, Museums, Kawasaki dealership

Day 60-

So on my way to Bogotá the capital of Colombia, I passed by Chingaza national park.

The road there was pretty.



Riding through the mountainous roads, I kept seeing signs for paragliding. I kept passing them and didn’t give them a second thought.

As I got closer to the national park, I started to see some parachutes in the air, gliding with the wind over this immense canyon.

I couldn’t help my curiosity, so I pulled over at the tourist center. I’ve been to the best canyons in the world and didn’t have any interest in stopping at one more, but what the heck right?

I found out that there were tours for paragliding over the canyon, I thought alright! I was told it would be $170 dollars for 40 minutes, I thought, opps never mind, not doing that, that’s unfortunately not on my budget if I want to make it to Tierra de Fuego Argentina.

So I drove off.

As I did, I tried figuring out exactly where they were taking off from, as Alex is stubborn and I had a Mexican idea!

After 40 minutes of driving back and forth, I finally used my 6th sense of direction and took a very random off road dirt trail that had no signs what so ever. I had a feeling about it, after 15 minutes of some uphill crazy mountain climbing on the bike, I found the spot at the top of the canyon.




I found myself a pilot; he said he couldn’t help me as he had customers coming. That very instant he got a phone call, saying they were 35 minutes away with his customers.

So I jumped on the opportunity and told him that he could take me up while the others got here to earn him some extra cash, so some careful negotiating and $45 later I was up in the air!





The view was spectacular!



On my top of awesome things done on this trip.



It was amazingly quite and peaceful up flying with the wind over the canyon.



Once again my trusty tripod invention was there to document the journey quite nicely.



Back on solid ground.


Landed right next to my bike, what service!
Happy and full of adrenaline, I was off to Bogotá.

Arriving in Bogota I was welcomed by the most insane traffic and horrific one way street system I’ve ever seen. If you make one wrong turn here, you have to go down various blocks, u-turn and u-turn again, over and over. It was fustrating

I was trying to find the Kawasaki dealership so I could do some revisions, replace parts and maintenance on it before I hit up driving across the entire continent of South America, I want to make sure I have no serious issues with the bike.



I spend 4 hours driving around this city before I finally found the dealership. Lucky me they were closed by the time I got there.

Saw a nice church.



I found myself a $7 a night hostel and bunked down.

The next day I was off to the dealership. I had taken off all my luggage and boxes in order to get to the spark plug, air filter, etc.

On my way there, I was stopped by a policeman.  Lucky I had all my papers in my luggage I had just taken off, so I had nothing to give the policeman.

I was stopped because my front head light had burnout, and it was mandatory to have a light on at all times. I was told me bike would be impounded for not having any documents and fined heavily for not having a head light, I tried explaining the situation about my documents back at the hostel and that I didn’t even know my head light was out, but the guy wouldn’t budge.

I started making some chit chat with the guy to distract him from my obvious and complete lack of documentation (stupid me).

It was working, once I explained myself again and asked him to cut me a break, he still wouldn’t budge.
So he started all the paperwork, and process of impounding my bike. I was trying my best to avoid a bribe, but again, no choice on this one.

I worked my magic, avoided the word bribe and thanked him for his services with a $30 dollar bribe, I mean tip.

I don’t know how I managed to pull this one off, I literally had to shake his hand, shove the money in his hand, and got on my bike and left, hoping the money was sufficient and he wouldn’t chase after me as I was not about to loose my bike in 2 weeks of impounding and paperwork, I took a calculated risk of getting arrested.

But he didn’t so, lucky moment #?

Well I dropped off the bike and made my way to some Bogota museums.

Along the way, I got myself a nice Arepa.


I've been addicted to these ever since I arrived in Colombia, super cheap and good. 

Visited the museum of gold that was pretty interesting.














Exibit of gold and music, pretty awesome


I then proceeded to the planetarium.

What do you typically see at a planetarium? Rockets



Astronauts



And that’s right, a dead bunny on the floor!



Apparently there was an Alice in Wonderland exhibition for some strange reason that made absolutely no sense in a planetarium!

I also bought myself a ticket for bull fighting event on Sunday (it’s now Thursday). So until then adios!