Saturday, October 13, 2007

Alive and wired in Colombia

I tried hiding it at first. When mom and dad asked where I was heading to next, I said "north to Venezuela", banking on noone knowing their South American geography. I was going to write nice neutral entries on food or salsa dancing in the meantime. But they found me out.

I did find the coolest Colombian snack--- NESTLE Can Can Pops, ¡explota en la boca! Or as the English translation on the back of the wrapper says, "Explode!" Do we have these in the States? They actually put Pop Rocks into the cream of the cookies. I had 8 hours on a bus from Popayan to San Agustin to master the art of getting them to pop the loudest. You can't just eat the cookie, no no, that won't work. You have to do it Oreo style (you do eat them how you're supposed to, don't you?) by pulling the cookies apart very carefully and scraping the cream frosting off with your top front teeth like a beaver. Here's the trick, you have to let the cream melt in your mouth until you feel the Pop Rocks start to sizzle, wait a little longer and---CRACK! I personally think they should put Pop Rocks into everything.

But I suppose you might want to know something about Colombia. First important traveller's fact, the coffee here is to die for! (no pun intended, parents) I haven't seen a single jar of Nescafe since crossing the border, and hence am the happiest girl around (and haven't been this awake for ages---weeeeeeEEEeEE!!) Coffee vendors walk their hoods with big metal barrels strapped to their backs to be able to supply glossy-eyed addicts on the streets with their fix as swiftly and economically as possible. I will have to get a picture of one of them, it's great.

Anyway, the first city I visited was the border town of Ipiales. Very ugly city, but very nice, courteous people. 5 miles out of town is the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Las Lajas, a religious and architectural treasure:

8 hours later I was in Popayan, a colonial town all painted in white. Here I visited the History of Natural Sciences, a hilarious display of taxidermified creatures in intriguing poses. Here they actually had to turn the lights on for me since I was the only visitor. I especially liked the fish, did you know they could preserve them like that? Pretty weird.

Downtown Popayan

Then again 8 hours later I arrived in San Agustin, famous for its pre-Colombian archeological site. I stayed at the "Casa del Sol" in my own little cabin with the most amazing view of the countryside for $7 a night. I loved this place.

An 11 hour bus-ride later took me to Bogota. Have you noticed a reoccurring theme of long buses? It's a big country...and I now really hate buses. More than before. Especially because I have to take only day buses for "safety" and am fully awake to truly feel the hours, no, minutes slowly tick by. But at least they don't drive like the suicidal maniacs of Ecuador and Peru.

It rained, then hailed and flooded all of downtown Bogota today, but I managed to make it to the Museo de Oro, Gold Museum.

Looks like a scene from StargateI wonder if they have people posing behind lights? That's how people in Colombia used to dress before the Spanish robbed them of their treasure. I'm sure they must have worn something under the gold, I hope.

Not the most exciting entry, but I'm trying to complete it before dark. Will update again in a few weeks!


Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like the adventure of traveling may be wearing off. If it is, you are more than welcome to stay at our house while inventing new Pop-rocks recipes.

By the way, I am back in B-town, so any Bueno bars should be directed this way.

sister Sam

Anonymous said...

Obviously, both myself and your sis are avoiding studying and you provided a great excuse with another blog! THANK YOU! Glad to hear you are coming our way in December! Shannen has conquered (well maybe conquered is the wrong word) Mexico, Central and South America. Good work in a year! Just thought I would say hi!

Ravioli said...

Is Amazing! I like the Castle,nice pictures about Colombia, very nice Lindura.
Mmm..I have a question...Really the cookies explode in the mouth? I hope that not haha.
Is very funny, but is true: I remember when I was in Peru, all the drivers are suicidal, especially "la combi asesina", some taxis, some buses. I remember right now and I fell scary..

Shannen said...

*Hi Sis!*

Back in B-town, are you enjoying it? Sorry, havne't spotted any Bueno bars in Colombia, but recently sent a postcard to your B-house. Was wondering if I should have sent it to TX.

Thanks for the invite! Yeah, I am a bit tired right now. Especially since I had an IDIOT dormmate and had to move hostels, then the new place almost lost my laundry, and it's been raining everyday...whiiiiine!


Great to hear from you! Are you in "B-town" too now? I look forward to hanging out again in Dec!


Thanks for commenting in English! The cookies don't explode, unfortunately. (?) But I like the advertising, ha ha!

My last bus out of Ecuador was really scary. I almost changed buses when we stopped at the gas station, but was afraid the other bus was crazy too because he was going just as fast. Yeah, Peru was so bad, too! Glad we are both safe again now!

Moe: said...

You made it to Columbia, I'm so proud! Is it as dangerous as everyone says it is? And coffee vendors on the street? AWESOME. Don't suppose they sell Decaf, do they?

Anonymous said...

Wow, everyone must have been eagerly awaiting your blog....5 comments and you just posted it.


Shannen said...


Yeah, I'm here! I can see why your friend has a house here in Bogota, it's a really cool city with lots of culture and some really nice neighborhoods. They sell decaf in the grocery stores, don't know about on the street, wouldn't want to ask out of curiosity and accidentally get one, heaven forbid! ha ha

Doesn't seem so dangerous, it's kind of like the "good" and "bad" neighborhoods of a big city, except it applies to the whole country.


Yes, I am happily graced with lots of comments this time, yippee!

Anonymous said...

So you thought your Dad wouldn't figure it out? That's he's geographically challenged? My shower curtain is a World Map for cripe's sake. POP

Shannen said...


Pop?? As in Pop Rocks?

Aaaah, the shower curtain, I forgot, shucks. Well don't worry, it's been pretty safe. Lots of backpackers, too.

Anonymous said...

Yea....Pop rocks!

Shannen said...