Rambling On My Mind: South American Edition: Manizales, Colombia Where The Score Is Vishnu 3 Jesus Cristo 0

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

got up, gotta do some good byes cuz i’m blowin out of medellin. visited new friend at kiosk in plaza botrero, went back to vegetus for breakfast. went to arbol de la vida for dessert and just to say thank you for existing. the owners were so gracious and wished me a safe journey. hung out in downtown and took some pics. checked out some english language schools just for the hell of it. lexicom folks were kind of rude. went back to el poblado and said bye to my new friend at chinese place. all was good again with his wife, seemed happier. final walk to hostel up the street, paid up. 60 bucks for about a week. not bad. took a taxi to the terminal and i made the 7:30 bus to manizales, a place i decided to visit a few hours ago. you see, how much planning goes into this?

$15 for the 4 hour ride, but it was kerazy. driver passed so many busses, going very fast, straight up blind passes in the night.

always wondered about people who lived in the mountains and how so many busses and cars pass over their homes and there’s no rail protecting them from an avalanche of steel and rubber, when a bus driver falls asleep or skids on the wet road.

ate my snacks

and listened to some shit that the driver was playing, it was awesome.

i had to turn off my shit

to listen the stuff he was blasting. he had it turned up. it was kind of funny, the revving of the engine and the whirling accordion, mixed. it was also funny that his music was on a flash drive on his dashboard stereo. this beat up old dashboard and this bright orange light from a flashdrive, but it sounded so clear. i laughed so many times at that. maybe it was the beauty of the green, lush mountains that added to my clear mind. but the songs were provocative. that accordion really had me. got all giddy, like when i first heard led zeppelin, i could give a fuck about the acrobatic vocals or twanging guitar, who was bashing those cymbals? this video will give you a little taste. he plays like he sounds. just the first :40 should be enough. maybe it’s just me. it usually is.

anywayz, back on the bus (pronounced boos, here in colombia) you could tell the guy who was crooning, really wrote songs, because they were killing it and me. song after song. the bus ride of over a 1000 deaths is over and we park in front of this large, bright bus terminal that i consider very impressive for a small city.

everyone gets off, some thank the driver. i bet some were just happy to be alive after that wild ride. before i step off the bus, i hit up speedy about the music, and he says, “it was a memory stick with all kinds.” very dismissive, he was. now, i don’t take kindly to that, especially when i’m trying to learn something. so i said, “look jackass, you’re making me doubt medellin and it’s paisa ways. you ain’t being very forthcoming, so give it up, frog face.” ok, i didn’t say that, but my stern visage must have forced his hand. he begs my forgiveness, kisses my shoes and… actually, he says, “los quietos, los gigantess, los diablitos, etc.” he forgot to mention the aformentioned band, heads later told me that binomio’s early stuff is where it’s at, before the singer was “assassinated.”

i entered and walked across the depot with my luggage. there were 2 soldiers at a security desk, so thoughts of snapping a few pics vanished. i walked out the other side and there was a line of cabs. it’s midnight. wow, arriving to a city in colombia at midnight? is that possible? i’ve done it many times and i’m still here. who would known? i woulda known! i gave the driver the address to the hostel. the drive was very bumpy and secluded. there is no one out and about. almost like a ghost town. what am i expecting in a small city? valley blvd in alhambra where people still be eating at 2 am on a tuesday?

we get to basecamp hostel, cool, old creaky place.

see that guy in the back with the green shirt? well, that’s not me. erik is cool as is a woman who also worked the desk. wanted a private room cuz brazilian dudes at medellin hostel were loud, fools talking at 3 am while others, most importantly, me! were trying to sleep. fuckin obnoxious. but this place only has doubles, 20 bux. whatever. room is ok, i will sleep well. plus, breakfast was included. eggs! i forget what comedian said, “it would be cool if we had a time machine. i’d like to meet the first guy who said, ‘wow, look at that white oval-shaped thing coming out of that’s chicken’s ass, i think i want to eat it.'”

i had some mango and let others eat all those things that came from a chicken. yum.
i take a shower and it’s cold!! i waited for the warm water but no.

strike. i barely bathe. so what’s new?

get out and hit the city. it’s pretty and small. downtown is basically a strip and some smaller streets nearby but they got everything covered.

that cable car is cool, goes from bus depot to the start of downtown. i didn”t try it, cuz i know i’ll try it another time.

i look for a juice place and end up hitting up a travel agency and the woman, Lida, is so helpful. talk to her for an hour or so, she mentions all these places i can visit in colombia and i playfully wonder if i even want to leave this country. i find a net place and look for veg places, cuz Lida, like most carnivores, don’t keep tabs on the vegan happenings, if there are even any in this small city. actually, there are about 4! of course, 3 are hare krishnas, my homies. they just often only do lunch hours.

I later find the big veg spot, Manimez. 6,000 pesos for a lunch is not bad, again that’s like 3 bills. food is ok, you know it’s brought to you on a orange tray, straight cafeteria style.

i get back into town and i like that the city is small.

but as i explore more, i walk into the “other side of town.” seriously fucked up scene. the freaks be coming out, alright. when heads told me, “no vayas por aya,” they ain’t kidding. didn’t even pull out my camera. sick of all these fuckin casinos in colombia. i wonder if they pulled that shit here bout “it’ll help the economy and schools” like they did here in los angeles with the lottery.

no, it wasn’t that bad. but there were plenty of working girls, aformentioned slot machines and plenty of the army of the rich protecting the valuable property. it was rough all around. who knows what could happen if i start snapping some shots?

per lida’s recommendations, i check out some hotels for the night. man, a bunch of residenciales, at 7 bux a pop sounds good, but these places are for the 1 night stands, excuse me, 1 hour stands. pretty raunchy. hey, i can be pretty and raunchy, but spots that got holes in the walls and toilet paper on the bed are not too welcoming. kinda like those shitty motels in downtown l.a. no, not those art lofts. the other shitty places. torn blankets, shared bathrooms in the hallways, uhm no.

not that bad, but bad.
then i see a sign at front, “donde la noche es corte, pero el placer es infinito.” hot damn! down the street, i find hotel bolivar, 15 bux, and not bad, with a clean bathroom, and not for everyone to use. it’s ok and since i’ll be here 3 days, it might do. i then walk all the way up carrera 23 to carrera 62. yup, i be doing that. oh, and back, i ain’t no lazy fool. hello? that’s like 80 fuckin blocks, told you i don’t fuck around, when i be out. i want to vibe on the city. and all in search of another veg place, but never found it. i just kept walking.

i even asked a few, but no luck. but found a cool gym and this crazy, crazy mall. bunch of rich kids hanging out waiting for mummy.

no, they didn’t seem that spoiled

thas more like it. serious abercrombie and whatever crowd.
there is definitely money in this town. suits hanging out downing some brewskies. wasn’t i just rolling my eyes at being shown little fuck houses with beat up beds and now i’m chilling with the yuppies outside this four story mall? so be it. but this first floor, is filled with designer shit and juan valdez coffee and half the floor is kiddie rides and jumping areas. crazy. walked out into the rain, took some pictures and i was not alone.

i get shots of buses, places, signs, just to get feel. i go back to lida and she is happy to see me, and i let her know about those shitty hotels. she laughs cuz i’m not taking the cheapest one. on my way back to plaza bolivar and, meet great guy selling bread in front of another krishna place, muy natural, but of course.

we talk for about 30 mins, then his kids show up and it starts to rain.
(i returned later and this is what it looked like from the inside. nice place)

i am invited to stand in the hallway away from the rain and i chill with the kids. they stare at me, i just smile. he breaks down the city even more. says there is no veg food at night (except for the breads they sell, even though some have ghee). he even calls the temple for me to see if they have any left overs from lunch. they did not. i thanked him for the effort. i walked on down the road

this small city has some interesting sights. i just hung out, like i always do.

and when i returned back up the road, my krishna bro ham and eye chatted a bit more and he said tomorrow they serve from 12 to 2. that’s all good, but what about now, mofo? don’t cha know, i just walked 80 blocks, some of them in the drizzle? get on the celly and tell vishnu to hook your xicano mano some grub. how hungry am i? let doug tell you:

that’s right, “hungry enough to chew the crotch out of a ragdoll.” now, there is some poetry. i down some bread and a juice. some dinner, hey? back to hostel to let erik know i was not going to stay another night. he had watched my luggage, as i searched for another spot, and since ima stay at bolivar, i returned for my stuff. he and i talk for a bit on his take of this city. he’s been here a few months, living and helping in the hostel. real nice guy. he came here from florida, just traveling. loves it. he really sold me on santa cruz and sucre, boliva and i sold him on queretaro and chiapas. we stood there, quiet for awhile. then two women walked in. unsurprisingly, they were very kind.

Rambling On My Mind: South American Edition will detail my 40 day, 3 country visit of that continent. from the streets of medellín to the calm, cloudy skies of manizales to the inviting plazas of popoyán to the latitude-defying geography of quito to the muggy beaches and sultry songs of guayaquil to the sacred valleys of urubamba and the magic mountains of machu pikchu and waynapikchu. may i say, in the most “american” of accents, the trip was, like, omg, like, so amazing.

7 thoughts on “Rambling On My Mind: South American Edition: Manizales, Colombia Where The Score Is Vishnu 3 Jesus Cristo 0

  1. Thanks CT! Always an entertaining and very humorous post… Almost felt like I was sitting shot gun on your trip… This makes me want call up a travel agent and get my viajes on..

  2. NTL + thanks again. if looking at south america, at least as south as lima (not sure they fly further south), i would use spirit airlines. relatively new airline, and they always have better fares to colombia, etc. but don’t ask me about the check-in waits or the luggage limitations!

  3. Gracias for the info…. I had a flashback from my trip to Mexico. After the plane ride, I boarded a very packed bus. Can’t remember how long the ride was, but I can recall the driver looked super tired. At some point, I kept watching him because I could of sworn he had shut his eyes for a second or two… Scary ride but after a few stops he put on some upbeat music. That changed the whole vibe on the bus and made my long trip a bit more pleasant.
    I’ve taken trips here and there but I don’t think I’ve gotten the most out of them… Besides Mexico and driving (yes driving) to Oregan, that’s the farthest I’ve gone. I would love to travel more and explore other places. Only thing is that I don’t know if I should travel alone or with “the buddy system”. What can I say, I’m a people person and I like starting conversations with random folks…Sometimes it’s not a good thing, so I’ve been told. Either way, I’ve started a piggy bank savings. 🙂

  4. ay mister, dees blogs always remind me why its a good things that I don’t get too agusto in one spot.

  5. NTL + that’s funny about bus drivers. i always think, “they have families and they want to return home in 1 piece too.” i always check if they are in an awakened state. always. i did notice on this last trip, that there was a chain of cafeterias, where the bus company Bolivariano, would stop and the drivers were treated very well. they are given a type of VIP section and the drivers sit and eat together, they even get to cut in line. i like that stuff. they should get top billing, tough job.
    i do remember, years ago, my gf at the time and I, went from mexico city to oaxaca, and we once looked out the window, and we could barely see the rail, that’s how close we were to the hill’s edge. nerve-wracking, to say the least. we went back to sleep.
    i usually go solo, because i’m a solitary guy, even though a very friendly one, but i want to sit and read and write when i feel like it, and not have to check with another. i don’t mind being on my own and on the road. but the “buddy system” can help, i guess. in fact, i wish i had a friend when i was havana. that would have really helped. i could have passed off all those “propositions” to my buddy. shit was annoying. of course, it’s all relative because i guess living in a country where you cannot leave can be worse than annoying. no, i don’t want your monedas or your rum, leave me the fuck alone. see how friendly i am?
    yup, starting random conversations is fun, and 1 or 2 can change the complexion of your trip aka the joy of traveling. drop some paper in the piggy bank.

  6. Very true CT, you would think that about bus drivers but then again….Some of them might not want to be home…Just saying… Being a bus driver doesn’t sound all that bad though.. Must be kinda fun if one can overlook the long driving hours…. They get to travel and eat good and what’s this you say? VIP? Even better…

    Oaxaca sounds dangerously fun….And by that I mean the bus ride… I kinda wouldn’t mind traveling with someone, you know share the scenery, experience and Expenses 🙂 Only thing that I don’t want is to travel with a complainer..
    Haber que pasa.

  7. hey moonkey,

    yup, from east los to santa barbara to sudáfrica to texas, you know it’s not a bad idea to move about. always happy to provide a little reminder to hit the open road. who knows what lands next demand your presence

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