Flying to Colombia

Posted on Posted in Colombia 2011

This past year (2010) I’ve found my self amidst a round the world trip that really hasn’t gone any where yet. With my truck without a motor I tossed in the towel of headaches and the grind and booked a last minute flight. I was off to Colombia to try a different kind of adventure. Hopscotching across airports I finally found myself on a plane bound for the Colombian capital Bogota. On the overnight flight I could barely sleep. Though I was the only passenger in my row, so I got what some people call a “ghetto upgrade.” Tossing and turning, in and out of sleep, I gave up the attempt and sat up. Then it was announced we were descending. In my delusional state I peered out the tiny window watching as rolling splotches of light and silhouettes of mountains passed by. Lurching forward as the the plane lands I’m jolted from my pseudo consciousness.

Remembering I was given an immigration form, I dig in my bag for a pen and complete the form. Disembarking we are sent down a walkway to baggage claim then customs. The process was very easy, especially since it was 1 am local time and no one was really coherent. Quick smacks of stamps in our passports and we’re all on our way. I wandered around a bit then found the check in desk by accident. Its in a slight hidden spot, though signs in Spanish and English were very helpful. Bags check in and sent in a new direction. Stumbling around trying to make sense of everything I finally asked a security guard where the gate I should go to was. I showed her my ticket. She waived for me to follow her. Out the doors a ways she stopped and pointed. Then with a few “turn” signals with her hands she explained where to go. Following the directions I end up at a familiar sight in US airports. A security check point. Very much the same, but you get to keep your shoes on. Passing security I make my way to my next flight to Barranquilla.

Five hour wait this time. While waiting I recognized one lady I had seen in Houston. We began trying to talk to each other in broken English and Spanish. Quite hilarious when this kind of meeting happens. I pulled out my trusty Lonely Planet Spanish book only to find half the words I wanted to translate weren’t there. Back and fourth we went passing the book trying to figure out what one another was saying, knowing most was lost in translation. While conversing with her, I heard another voice but in English. There were two guys just in front of me watching the whole thing and getting a big kick out of it. Come to find out both of them are in the shipping business. First few hours in Colombia and I meet someone in shipping. Interesting…

Finally arrival in Barranquilla. I was dead tired from little sleep. I did the typical arrival shuffle stumbling around to find where my bags were, then to find the exit. Once I took a step outside I realized I had no idea where to go from here. Hernando was going to pick me up, but we never really discussed where at. It was a small airport though. I managed to pass Hernando a few times before he noticed me and came up to me. We greeted each other and headed towards his shop. The ride was in an old Series Land Rover bouncing allover between crazy Colombian traffic. The lines on the road are merely suggestions as everyone weaves in and out of open spots. Four lanes of traffic exists simultaneously on three lane roads. The trip was a blur. After we got to his shop I headed up to his office to sleep for a bit. I haven’t done a flight that long before with all the layovers and was whipped out. I got a couple hours of sleep and sat delirious around his shop for the rest of the day.