Leaving the Caribbean coast behind, and all that it entails (hot weather, beautiful beaches, permanently mosquito-bite-ridden ankles), my journey headed south to spend the next 2.5 months in the frigid airless heights of the Andes. With another exciting overnight bus ride under my belt (the lack of vomiting passengers and serenading singers actually afforded me a decent nights rest), we arrived in the tiny village of San Gil - The Extreme Sports Capital of Colombia. I leave you with the highlights:
Riverboarding - Given the recent floods to the area, preventing us from partaking in San Gil´s world-famous class 5 rapids, we exchanged the raft for, what I can only describe, as a boogie board. A ¨sport¨ of which I have never heard, riverboarding essentially involves an hour of boogie boarding through rapids along a semi-turbulent river. With poorly-translated instructions failing to clarify any instructions whatsoever, I´m pretty sure the overall sentiment from our guide was ¨you probably won´t die, but follow me just in case.¨ Extreme sports rating = 7/10.
Cliff Jumping - As one of my favorite past times, jumping from objects of various heights into non-solid materials (e.g. water), has become somewhat of an addiction as of late. Thus, when we encountered a local Colombian man who, in quite broken Spanish, attempted to describe an ¨off-the-beaten-path waterfall" (i.e. non Lonely Planet rated location), off which Leonardo Dicaprio flung himself in the movie, The Beach, I was all ears. Following a group of Colombian teens down a random path, we came across a waterfall more or less in the middle of nowhere. Approximately 20 feet in height, it nowhere matched the jump from the previously-mentioned film, although was still quite the experience. Newest Spanish phrase learned thanks to my experience = Hay rocas debajo del agua? (I´ll let you all take advantage of the amazing www.translate.google.com for a translation). Extreme sports rating = 8/10 (bumped up from a 6 as the waterfall was quite stubborn at allowing me to surface the water)
Hormigas Culonas - With a literal translation of ¨ant with a big ass,¨ this Colombian delicacy, consumed for it´s aphrodisiac and healing powers, is served as described - as a big ass ant. With a distinct flavor of deep-fried dirt, these crunchy treats did not appear to heal any of travel-induced ailments on my ever-growing list of (random rashes, broken knee, an oddly significant amount of scentless gas), nor create any semblance of sexual craving (besides the already existing one from being away from your girlfriend for 3 weeks -- JK Mom, still waiting on 2nd base). Overall, I´d say my first consumed insect left me with a future desire to keep my deep-fried treats to a maximum of 4 legs.
Next Stop: The Big "3" - Bogota, Medellin, Cali
Onto the pics: