Day 61 – Neiva to Zapiquira

At some point in the middle of the night the rain started. Torrential downpours. It would pause for a few minutes, then start back up again, and continued in that fashion until the alarm went off.

We were not thrilled.

When it rains it pours...

We dawdled a little as we packed, or, I did, hoping it would let up, but it didn’t seem interested, so we put in our rain liners and started hauling things out to the bikes. The overpriced hotel restaurant had all the chairs up on the tables, so we didn’t even consider breakfast there, but as we lugged things out, the guy in charge enthusiastically offered us some juice. Which, it should be noted, is never from a jug. Juice in Latin America is always fresh-squeezed / blended.

I asked if they were serving breakfast, and yes, it turns out they were. “Do you want breakfast?”… “I don’t know…” Dachary was focused on getting things loaded, but after that, she decided that yeah, it would be better than hunting for breakfast, so we sat down, and voila, one of the best breakfasts we’d had in a while. Turned out it was included with the room too.

By the end of breakfast the rain had become a light sprinkle, and Dachary took off the rain liner in her coat. I was not so bright. Ten minutes after hitting the road and the skies were clear. I took off my coat’s rain liner, but both of us still had the pant liners on, and it was 104 deg. F in the shade when we finally pulled over to a gas station with a teeny bathroom to remove them.

We rode through more beautiful roads that looked like the Colorado plains, then up into lush green China as we rose to greet Bogota, then past its outskirts (bleh), and through some town where everyone seemed to go to eat. It was packed and there were literally corrals to funnel the crowds, but on we went into the darkest rain cloud either of us had dared to ride into. We stopped to put our jacket liners in just before, and were very grateful we did, because it was another downpour that ended just as we made it to Zapiquira.

Colombian Countryside

Now, you may be wondering, “Why Zapiquira?” well, an ADVRider pointed out that since we needed to be near Bogota, we might want to check out the Cathedral De Sal, and I remembered seeing a number of programs over the years that spoke of it in glowing terms. Dachary wasn’t so into the idea, but she was willing to go along with it.

So, we pulled in, and knowing we’d be stuck there for two nights (waiting for Monday morning to pick up my new plate in Bogota) checked the best place in the travel book. The price was a wee much but not too bad and it had internet, but there was something weird about the room. It wasn’t available until 8pm (it was a little after 6 at the time), and if we wanted it we’d have to put down money to reserve it, and then, when I said fuck-it, sure because it was the nicest one recommended by the book, the price suddenly went up another 27,000 pesos. Hmm… no, I think we’ll go look somewhere else.

So we did. We checked the two other places in the book, and another that was next door, picked one that had net (in the lobby only), unloaded, and wandered out for food. Unfortunately it was a tourist town, and all the restaurants seemed to be catering to the bar crowd. Loud, with a side-order of can’t think. We finally found a chicken place that seemed quiet from the doorway, ordered, and walked around to the tables in the back, where we gingerly assaulted by the days soccer highlights on the TV.

Something about Latin America and loud volumes. We don’t get it.

My fish was good, Dachary’s chicken was lame, but back in the room we were happy to report that the Hotel seemed surprisingly quiet. We’re not used to hotels that are actually quiet. So, we booted up the iPad and watched some Top Gear and Dr. Who, read a bit, and fell asleep.

Not a bad day, but the miles did leave us rather tired.

About Kay

An old-school geek, addicted to travel, with a love of programming, writing, Esperanto, and starting businesses. -- @masukomi on Twitter.

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