Friday, August 26, 2011

Medellin Colombia-My last day in South America!-Man with no legs and hands, America the Beautiful, and an Ironic Bittersweet End to the Adventure

Medellin Colombia- Bogota-My last day in South America!

Greetings everyone, so here’s my last post from South America, I apologize for the delay, I have been extremely busy with things as you’ll read about in upcoming posts.

So in Bogota Colombia and I figure I’d go visit the famous city of Medellin, where the famous drug dealer Pablo Escobar was shot and killed at.

The initial bus ride there was the beginning of confirmation of a little rumor I’ve been hearing throughout this journey.

Everyone brags that the girls from Medellin are the most beautiful of all Colombia.

As soon as I entered the bus with 15 young ladies that looked like they were all going to a Miss Universe contest, I knew it was going to be an interesting few days.

After a nice conversation the entire night with the lady next to me and a little sleep I was off to explore the city. Again having a deadline sucks!

As I got off the bus station I saw two other tourists asking for information at the tourist information desk.

Turns out they were from Chile and decided to explore the town together.

We first grabbed a $1 dollar breakfast, I of course grabbed two.



Then headed towards downtown on the cleanest metro I’ve ever seen in my life.

We saw some nice cool buildings




And had a vendor put some stuff on me while I was reaching down for my camera.




Walking around with the Chileans

Saw the famous Bolero influence and statues outside the Bolero museum






The beard kind of makes me look like the head no?


And saw more Bolero stuff









Hello!



To save time I’ll just say I saw lots of art.







I got tired of some many picture of artsy things I went on a mission to take pictures of all the weird things instead.










Way to go Dude!

We then headed to a cute little replica town of something I forget the name of but it had a nice view and funky statue






We then headed out to a park north of Medellin on a skyline that was connected to the Metro.

Saw the slums on the way up



I will say Medellin has the most efficient metro and cleanest system out of any place I’ve ever been to.

And very affordable. Not like Brazil, $2.80 for single ride! Crazy Brazilians

Went on the tram to check out the view from on top of the mountains



My new friend from Chile

Met some soldiers on the way up.

Took some nice shots.

And went for a few hours hike.





I went for a long hike of 3 hours but the girls wanted to see the botanical gardens and needed to catch a bus that night, so we said our farewells. They were some classy Chilean girls who reminded me of my time in Chile.

After the hike I went to search for a hostel.

The Kiwi hostel was recommended to me and I recommend it as well. Plus since the owner is a motorcycle rider, all other riders get 10% off. Rock on!

The next day I visited the Medellin Botanical gardens which welcomed me with the beautiful nature sight of two lesbians making out below a tree.



It was nothing impressive; I’m of course talking about the garden. So far the Botanical gardens in Rio de Janiero Brazil have been the best of South America.



Then went to the Aquarium where there were also lots of animals and cool things.











Yes if you lick these you will hallucinate





And a nice 300,000 dollar computer program simulating the entire known universe with official NASA pictures.



I convinced the guy to give me a copy of the program on my USB, but it turns out it was 100GB of information! Bad luck! Would have been nice to own such an expensive thing!

Saw some other stuff







Mmmmm Pirahna! I know how that tastes!



Neat fish










Among other things









And joined the locals at an outside party.



On the way back I saw probably one of the most intense sight relating to a human being I’ve ever seen.

A man literally naked with no clothes missing both his feet dragging himself over the floor asking passing cars for money.

I invite everyone that’s having a bad day to be thankful that your breathing air, and are alive walking around when others are in much more difficult situations.

Made me appreciate things a lot more in deep and profound ways.

The rest of my time in Medellin was spent walking around getting to know the place.

And I will confirm the rumors for those guys out there, if you’re looking for beautiful women, go to Medellin, in quality and quantity it ranks on the top 2 places if not the best of the most attractive women in all South America I’ve encounter on my trip.

After a few days in Medellin I’m headed back to Bogota, where my flight leaves in the afternoon the following morning.

The end is almost near and it’s finally hit me.

Today I depart from Bogota, and I was sent off appreciating life yet again when a man missing both his hands was walking around cars at the stop light asking for money. Again life is appreciated and the suffering of others is known and a helping hand is given, literally, for those in great need than most of us.

So all if not most people from the hostel I was at take cabs to the airport when their flight leaves. But not captain crazy over here, he likes to save a $15 cab fare by walking down 7 blocks, getting lost, wasting time and getting to the airport deathly late. But it only cost $1 dollar! So worth it!

So as I ran through the airport and security and got my last immigration stamp in my passport I knew it was all downhill from here.

Again walking around with a helmet and backpack seemed to confuse the entire airport and even security for additional screening.

So I thought airport security in the USA was bad, Colombia beats it. You get two screenings before you get on the plane, one at the metal detector and such, but then one more extra one at the gate. Talk about thorough, I’m surprised I didn’t have to bend over and cough, that’s how thorough it was!

I’ve been away from airplanes for so long I realized I was old when I was extremely excited to find out I would have my own personal LCD screen with movies to watch for the next 3 hours on our way to Miami.

And how is this is for a fantastic finish to my motorcycle adventure, the “Motorcycle Diaries” Movie was on the playlist of movies to watch! Bittersweet Irony!

I haven’t watched this movie because I didn’t want my own Motorcycle diaries to be influenced or skewed by the film.

As I watched it I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at the similarities my own adventure coincided with the movie, my smile lasted all 3 hours of the flight and felt humbled at the Epic journey I completed, much bigger in sized compared to Che Guevara and his own motorcycle diaries and more interesting I believe.

Naturally the woman next to be had to ask why I was smiling so big the entire way.

I told her my entire story start to finish about the Charity and the motorcycle journey.

I then proceeded to tell her that I would be spending the night on the floor of the airport to have enough money to make it home the following day on the 6am flight to Austin Texas.

She was so moved by my story she went into her wallet, took out a $100 dollar bill and said, “Here’s for the hotel for tonight”.

I couldn’t believe it, a complete stranger giving me a hundred dollars because of my story.

I was actually looking forward to the adventure of spending the night at the airport and her generosity moved me as well. So much in fact that I said, thank you, but no thank you, I’ve made it on my own this far and I needed to finish it the same way.

She was so humbled about my determination that in the end she donated a total of $200 to the charity on my page I’m supporting, Los Ojos de Dios.

So another fun story and life changing experience.

The night at the airport was cold and had no sleep thanks to the automatic clock to call out the local time over the loud speaker every 15 minutes!

It was finally 5am and I was on my way to Dallas Texas then to Austin Texas to visit my dad for a day before my flight to El Paso.

Arriving back in the USA gave me a similar feeling I had when I returned from Taiwan.

Again I was baffled at the amount of overweight people I saw at the airport.

And again I loved the extreme diversity America has with different cultures and races.

The plane ride to Austin was spent reflecting on my entire journey, which again I smiled the entire way at my accomplishment.

Arriving in Austin, my dad gave me a confused look and didn’t recognize me and my new beard from the Amazon that I’ve involuntarily been growing as my shaver broke struck him.

We exchanged some hugs, talk, and food and even went golfing.

Surviving in Colombia South America one day, the next golfing with your Dad in Austin Texas, priceless!

As I navigated around Austin some more, I understood the crazy change that’s been enacted in my life when I walked into Home Depot.

It was so huge and had so many things, I was overwhelmed, and I almost had to step out of the building to take it all in.

After struggling to find spare parts, replacements etc, like looking for a specific screw in 3 countries over 3 weeks with no luck, then getting to Home Depot where I could get everything I ever needed on my trip with ease and for pennies blew my mind!

It was odd, although I was in the USA; mentally my mind was still in South America. I knew this when I walked into Wal-Mart and told myself I could negotiate the price on the deodorant much lower than was posted. I realized that survival and negotiations with everything in central and South America had permanently integrated itself with me, and it was fascinating.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The following day I arrived in El Paso Texas

I was greeted by the best welcome home sign ever and felt right at home.

Ate some great Mexican food I’ve missed and filled up on other things I missed.

My mom and grandparents were relieved to have me home, but again this mentality of still being in South America was lingering in my head.

What happens next will not surprise some people, and to others it may make you wonder if I’m truly crazy or not…. Stay tunned!