Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Carnaval...Barranquilla, Feb08-12Feb

Colombia, January 19-April 6 2013
The fun filled Carnival days in Barranquiila, Feb 8-12,2013.
Adios Colombia....

The famous and the oldest church in Barrichura,Colombia
Tonite while I board the plane from Bogota airport, I take with me sweet memories of the people I met and the most exciting country I explored for almost seventy six days. I have never stayed this long in any other country except India.

I arrived here with mixed feelings..a country which have  stigmas like the centre of the drug dealers, the Mafia clan, the smugglers paradise and the guerillas ready for any opportunity to kidnap a foreigner apart from other violent activities. All exaggerated  stories from the past impressions.

A would be chief .mamu.., with a vision, 
The trip took me across the land.. from the jungles and rivers of  Amazonias to the largest Tyerona parque mountains range along the Atlantic .from the salt mines of the Boyaca to the caravan festival city of Brranquilla...from the lush valleys of the Salento cafetora regions to the Colonial township of San Gill.. from the busting grande city of Bogotá to the beauties of the Medellin... from the thermales of Pereira and Manisales to the  obleas and dulces of Buccarmanga..across the high snow capped peaks  of the Nevdos to the deserts of the North east..from the salsa capital of the south America.. Cali, to the drum beats of the Atlantic . 
With avibrant coffee picker , Salento, Zona cafeteria
Such a diversity of people and pacha mama.... ...awesome !

I chose to travel counter clockwise starting from Bogota..Zipaquira, Valle de Leyva, San Hill, Barichura,Baranquilla, Cartagena,Santa Marta, Tyrone Parque,Ciudad Perdida, Medellin,Cali, Leticia, Puerto Narnio, Cali, Manisales, Pereira,Salento,Armenia, Cajamarca, Ibaque, and back to Bogota...mostly by  bus and air,share taxis and hitch hike. 

 Used to spicy food but have started enjoying the Colombian food..and realized that Colombian food is not all that bland..try the salsas with picqiente green chilies .I  have gotten adjusted to the two meals a day habit...  heavy breakfast and a  early dinner and  a lite snack at nite.

I stayed with couch surfers, friends`s ( from Canada`)
friends and families and  youth hostels.

Was honoured to become the chief ,in  Puerto Nanio, Amazonas.
I enjoyed every bit of the Colombian landscape...from the deep down snorkelling in the Atlantic ocean to the trekking  6000 plus feet high altitude in the Piedra blanca mountain in the Quindon state...Crossing   small  rios along with altura mountains to Ciudad Perdida... to the boat ride in the  widest river in the world..The Amazon... Enjoyed learning salsa and dancing in the nite clubs of Cali and watching the worry free happy Carnavalists in the streets of Barranquilla ...  drinking , gossiping and dancing till the wee hours after the parade..and experiencing hallucination with Ayahuaska drink in the deep jungles of Amazonias . Visiting the heroic and tragic  history in the national museos in Bogotá ..  was amazed to see so much gold jewellery in the Orro Museo ..the designs will challenge  any modern designer..

The curious little urchin in a remote village reserve.
Colombia  is  third growing economy in South America.But as a  naive observer, I see it growing faster..the universities and the schools are full of students with big ambitions and dreams.
Worlds second largest exporter of flowers...famous for its Emeralds,textiles,plastics,ferro alloys and of course the Colombian coffee..enjoyed all over the world .The transportation systems may beat any of the developed nation`s..the highways, the transmillion bus system in urban centres are very well designed and constructed.No wonder HSBC bank's economic perspective  for Colombia by 2050 as playing a vital role in the global economy.
The grandeur of the Majestic Amazon, River. Leticia, Colombian.

Colombia`s national parks are full of natural beauty, trails, hikes,lakes, rivers, mountains and are  complimented with facilities with well trained guides.

We are always striving to achieve higher goals. Colombia is not any different. The present Government is fighting hard to get rid of its dark sides..the smuggling, the Mafia  the drug lords, the guerrillas  the poverty, the orphaned children, the displaced ingeniousness people... but which nations does not have problems?

Perhaps the saddest part, which I found very alarming is the highest rate of divorces in spite of the fact that very few people get married as compared to other countries...1.5% per 1000.
Most of the people I made friends with, happened to be single moms, single dads, step fathers, step mothers in law, step sister, step grandfather and so on... .. And the remarried couples have children from other marriages either living with them or with their ex partners. It is hard for everyone especially for the children. Perhaps they have accepted this new relationships . I attended some family get togethers where all these ex`s and steps were enjoying together. The challenge to the institution of marriage`s survival   serious.No efforts seem to be initiated either by the church or the Government.

Fun time on the alst day in Colombia..Aguardiente prevailed.
 Last nite was a blast farewell party in Bogota at Clovis`s place, More than 18 newly made friends, drank, ate and danced together.I was humbled.
    I am indebted and very thankful to all my couch surfers, my hosts and the new friends who made my trip  a very enjoyable one.I take back with me  the sweet memories of great times we spent together. I am indebted to you all...Sandra, Tatiana,Diana, Ivon, Mary,Chistian, Vallentina, Xio,Idalba, Clovis, Lina, Sergio, Ivon S, Nicolous, Johana,Adireana, David, Guillermo,Gloria, Oliver,Dora, Fernando and Fernando and  parents,Linita, Soffy, Adriana,Pueblos, Carolina, Ruby,Favio,Luisa E, Nancy, Luisa,Bernardo, Hugo family, Michael, Adan, Norabala, Melida, Mariam...

God bless you all ..

Vivo Colombia !!!

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