Riley Goes to Colombia Day 13 – February 22, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

It was cool again this morning, probably as cool as the day before (so, relatively cool). The hotel had a large breakfast buffet, probably the biggest we’d seen. It was quite nice, although it wasn’t particularly Colombian. We took a cab and got to the airport relatively quickly, despite it being a weekday. I looked for a Botero mug at the airport but no such luck. Tons of other mugs, just no Botero. We had to get exit visas to leave the country, which appeared to be a complete formality. Our flight to Panama was quick and then we had Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 12 – February 21, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

It rained today, the first time it rained on our trip. And that was kind of funny because it was supposed to rain the entire time we were in Medellin and I think a few other times. Anyway, it was just sprinkling too. We took a cab to the bus stop and had to wait a bit for the bus. It was pretty full so, for the first time on the trip, Jenn and I couldn’t sit together. The bus ride was interesting as the guy we paid for the tickets hawked maps to us for half the trip. But Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 10 – February 19, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

I woke up feeling much, much better. I would still have some minor digestive issues over the next few days, and it would take rather a while before I felt completely myself again, but I was able to enjoy our holiday once more. I don’t know whether that’s just the thing that happens with stuff like this, or it was because I started taking antibiotics immediately – either way, back to normal. It turns out, the timing was rather lucky, because we had been unable to book a walking tour for the 18th. Instead, we had to be content with Read More

Riley goes to Colombia Day 8 – February 17, 2016

Categories: 2016 and Movies.

This morning we had a flight to Medellin. We were sitting in the airport wondering why everyone was lined up for their flight 2 hours too early. We decided “well, I guess that’s what they do here” and got in line. Only once we were in line did we realize it was for the earlier flight. It was a short flight, but it was a nice one – there wasn’t much of a ceiling so we were able to see the coffee plantations on our descent into Medellin. That seemed like a real treat until…well, I’ll tell you in a Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 7 – February 16, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

This morning we went to Playa Blanca. There was more than a little confusion: Nobody picked us up despite the pledge yesterday that we would be picked up. We could have walked four times before we finally got in a cab. First, our hotel called them and they said they were on their way. Then our hotel called again, and we were told to take a cab. We waited close to an hour before they told us they were waiting for us, but only after our hotel had called them twice. (Fortunately, the tour company paid for the cab. We Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 6 – February 15, 2016

Categories: 2016 and Travel.

The day before, we were hoping to figure out how to get to a beach, but we had contacted a tour group but had not heard anything. (The beach situation: beaches a few miles away in Bocagrande, on the same peninsula – rendered an “island” by a canal – but in a Miami Beach-type setting. Alternatively you can take boats to islands further afield. Cartagena’s old city does not have beaches.) Not knowing whether or not we would be going to a beach today or tomorrow, we went to the Modern Art museum. Yes, another modern art museum. This one Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 5 – February 14, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

Valentine’s Day. One of the cool things about this hotel was the breakfasts. Every morning we had a choice of “American” or local breakfast, and I ate the local every day: empanadas, arepas, a local sausage and limes. Plus, fresh fruit juice! Good stuff. This morning we walked over to Castillo de San Felipe, which I have read is one of the largest Spanish style forts in the New World, if not the largest. Even walking over after breakfast, it was already fucking hot. (Though, as with the entire time we were in Cartagena, there was a breeze, albeit a Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 4 – February 13, 2016

Categories: 2016 and Travel.

The first two mornings at the hotel, we’d had regular food for breakfast: eggs, waffles. But today we got tamales! They were pretty good. We had a super fast ride to the airport, as it was a Saturday morning and apparently the awful traffic virtually disappears on the weekends. So we got to the Bogota airport a little early and spent time wandering around the domestic departure side. As airports go, Bogota isn’t bad. It’s certainly nicer (cleaner) than Panama. The flight was pretty quick – just over an hour, I think. My first impression of Cartagena was that the Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 3 – February 12, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

This morning we took a cab ride to Monserrate, a mountain that overlooks Bogota. For the first few minutes of the cab ride, we worried he was driving us up the mountain, as we had to go up high to get on a beltway that runs along the hills. The cabbie took us to the station where we could catch a funicular up the mountain, or a gondola. The gondola didn’t open until noon, but that was fine with us because we both wanted to take the funicular. (Jenn took pictures from it; I did not as my camera doesn’t Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 2 – February 11, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

After breakfast, we took another long cab ride to a mall, where we met Loon, our guide, for a tour of one of Bogota’s big food markets. We tried the following over the course of the morning: 1.Breakfast Sancocho de pescado  Fish soup made with plantain, yuca and potatoes. Arepa de queso – Colombian arepa filled with gooey double cream cheese [better in Bogota than Medellin] 2. Fruits Feijoa – Green, bubblegum tasting fruit Granadilla – Sweet passion fruit Pitaya – Yellow dragon fruit Mangostino – This was the final one we ate that looked like garlic cloves. 3. Fried stuff Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia Day 1 – February 10, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

We got up sometime after 4 AM, though I was up from 1-something until 2-something, due to my usual anxiety about leaving for a big trip, and because I was anticipating the alarm going off any minute. We took the Union-Pearson Express, because it’s pretty much the only option at 5:30AM (unless you want to spend an hour+ on the night bus or spend $60 on a limo). I was pleasantly surprised by the trip – and fascinated by the route – but it is still incredible to me that a new, separate train was judged the best solution, not Read More

Riley Goes to Colombia – Prologue

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

I spent most of the last two weeks in Colombia; it was my first visit to South America. Why we went to Colombia is a long story. The short version is that I wanted to go on vacation – it’s been two years since my last trip abroad – and the GF had heard great things about Colombia. And so we went. We went despite lots of people expressing their shock that we would choose to go to Colombia, and others expressing their fears. (What we found was that, if the person had been to Colombia or knew someone who Read More

30 for 30: The Two Escobars (2010, Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist)

Categories: 2010 and TV.

This is a fascinating, if a little scattershot, documentary about the infamous Pablo Escobar and the almost as infamous killing of a Colombia soccer player. The film mostly deftly balances the drug and violence problem in Colombia that coincided with (and funded!) the Golden Age of Colombian Football. The only real problem I have with the film is it’s rather naive acceptance of the US position on Colombia, as if Colombia and its drug cartels were the source of this problem, not, you know, demand in the United States. I understand that this film isn’t about that issue, but a Read More