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November 22, 2005

What else did I get up to in Colombia?

15 July - 15 August (or thereabouts)

How to condense a month into a few paragraphs? I have to bear in mind that I am blogging, not writing a dissertation ;-)

First off, I spent a few days in stunning Tayrona National Park - swinging in a hammock, hanging out on the beach, walking to Pueblito (a tiny "lost city" of the Tayrona natives), eating fish at the only restaurant on the beach, and playing cards. Tayrona truly has some of the nicest & most deserted beaches I have ever seen. It was easy to have the whole beach to yourself, or share with a couple of other people hundreds of meters away... Paradise!

But the main part of the next month was spent in Taganga, a fishing & diving village on the Caribbean coast. Eager to use my new "skills", I bought a 10-dive package at Poseidon Dive Center. After just a short time I started to get addicted - not at all helped by living at Poseidon and only hanging out with other divers, mostly instructors and dive master students... There was only one thing to do - dive more - so I enrolled in the PADI Advanced course to spend some more time in the water and hopefully learn something at the same time. I also signed up for a cavern dive, a special excursion to Tayrona National Park done only a couple of times a year. The dive was really cool! Inside the cavern all was black until we looked back and saw the clear blue color of the opening, with little schoals of fish swimming by...

Continue reading "What else did I get up to in Colombia?"

Posted by kvabo at 03:55 PM
View/Add Comments (1) | Category: Colombia

November 14, 2005

Peru Photos!

My photos from Peru are ready :-) If you want to view them, do the following:

Click on this link: Snapfish

To log in, enter this email address:
and this password: pictures

You will see three albums displayed. Underneath the third one, click on "Go to photos". On the following page, click on "View all friendsī albums" to access all photos added so far.

PS: Donīt expect a reply if you email me on this address, it is only for photos :-)

Posted by kvabo at 11:14 AM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Peru, Photos

November 11, 2005

Difficult times for blogging...

Is there anyone still out there?? I know I am a bad, bad blogger for not saying a word in three months :-( I left the cheap and cheerful internet cafes of Latin America for the virtually non-existent, incredibly expensive and unreliable connection of the Coconut Republics of the Caribbean. More on that later... I left you in Colombia, already behind in my blogging. Seems to be a trend...

I am back now in Venezuela, and will be trying to do some blogging depending on the Internet connections I find. In last couple of days I have been uploading all my photos to the Internet. I have sorted through a lot of them, so at least some of them will be ready to view in the near future.

Posted by kvabo at 02:34 PM
View/Add Comments (2) | Category: Kath's Confessional
Colombia photos!

Itīs a miracle, I have some photos for you!

Instead of uploading the photos one by one to my blog, I am storing them on a site called Snapfish... 5 albums are currently ready, and this is how to view them:

Click on this link: Snapfish

To log in, enter this email address:
and this password: pictures

You will see three albums displayed. Underneath the third one, click on "Go to photos" to access all albums added so far.

PS: Donīt expect a reply if you email me on this address, it is only for photos :-)

Posted by kvabo at 10:50 AM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Colombia, Photos

August 17, 2005

Colonial Houses and Coconuts

10-14 July 05

I have rarely seen a more gorgeous city than Cartagena, and neither has UNESCO who put it on their World Heritage list. The Old Town, surrounded by thick stone walls from colonial times, is filled with beautiful houses with ornate facades and balconies brimming with flowers. Painted in lively colors; yellows, reds, oranges, terracottas, blues, greens etc; the houses just make you happy. Well, maybe not you but certainly me ;-) I spent many hours just wandering the streets and circling the city on top of the surrounding wall.

Cartagena is great for shopping - filled with stylish boutiques and large markets. I would quite happily come back on a three-week vacation with a big, empty suitcase and fill it with cute clothes and artwork. As for now I could only look, sigh... Life is indeed hard.

Continue reading "Colonial Houses and Coconuts"

Posted by kvabo at 03:03 PM
View/Add Comments (3) | Category: Colombia
A Slight Change of Plans

8-9 July 05

The nice thing about traveling alone is the opportunity to change plans on a whim without having to discuss with anyone but the voices in my head. Being in Leticia with the big relief of having just come off the slow boat, I wasnīt in the mood to spend 10 more days semi-comatose in a hammock, as planned, getting to the coast of Brazil. I was dreaming of the Caribbean, of diving & snorkelling, laying on a beach, drinking fruit juices during the day and rum at night... and it was all there, just a planeride away on the north coast of Colombia... I didnīt need much persuasion, and the little voices were very encouraging. Voila, I had a new plan!

Actually realizing my plan turned out to be a lot more frustrating and difficult that anticipated. It is a long story of patience and bravery (me), lies and deceit (the airline and travel agency). ;-) and is best saved for an occasion that involves drinking of wine. My only comment is this: In Leticia, DO NOT trust that you will be able to buy a ticket, that you actually have purchased a valid ticket, that your ticket has actually been reconfirmed, that you will actually be able to check in with your ticket, not until you are sitting on the plane. And even then, donīt think that you will catch your connection :-) You will get there somehow, but things work slightly differently around here...

Continue reading "A Slight Change of Plans"

Posted by kvabo at 02:39 PM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Colombia
Not-So-Gently Down the Stream...

6-8 July 05

There are two main ways to get from Iquitos to the border with Brazil / Colombia, and they both involve boats: the speedboat (12 hrs) or the slow boat (day and a half). I had decided to go with the slow boat, and so had Sian, a British girl from the hostel. Since it was necessary to bring our own hammocks, we headed to the Belen market to buy one each, and visit the distinctive river-community.

The market was hot, smelly and busy, but fascinating. I doubt there is a thing you canīt purchase, get fixed or have made there! Being a vegetarian, Sian had issues walking in the midst of stinky chicken carcasses and other meat that had laid out too long, and to be honest, so did I. It wasnīt pretty... Despite this, I had a chicken and rice breakfast and was pleased to find that I didnīt get sick :-)

Continue reading "Not-So-Gently Down the Stream..."

Posted by kvabo at 12:56 PM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Peru
Gators and Skeeters - Day 5

3 July 05

Woke up to a breakfast of smoked gator breast. I am a great fan of the tail, but the breast was stringy and tough, reminiscent of trying to chew dental floss... Not that I`ve tried ;-)

We drove the canoe the 4 hours downriver to the entry control post, signed out and were met by a bored "Captain Canoe" in the speedboat. Someone had taken pity on him while we were away, and given him a CD of Peruvian folk music to supplement Juan`s "Ballads in English"... With that as a background, we hightailed it down to the "Ecological City" where we had a quick lunch and filled gas before setting off homebound, adventure over...

Continue reading "Gators and Skeeters - Day 5"

Posted by kvabo at 12:25 PM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Peru
Gators and Skeeters - Day 4

2 July 05

Another day another chance to catch the big one! So as not to repeat the fiasco from yesterday, we were going out at 6am - before the sun became too strong and all the little fishies had had their breakfast :-) Of course, we were operating on Peruvian Time and weren`t woken up until 7am... Jevon and I were pretty tired from last night`s excursion, but excited to try our luck once more. Like yesterday, I immediately caught a fish, this time a 20cm piraņa which again turned out to be the last catch of the day... We had gone out too late!

The rangers delivered our smoked Paco, which made a delicious breakfast! After relaxing for a while in our hammocks we set out on a jungle walk, hoping to see some animals...

Continue reading "Gators and Skeeters - Day 4"

Posted by kvabo at 11:34 AM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Peru

August 16, 2005

Gators and Skeeters - Day 3

1 July 05

We woke up to a delicious alligator and platano breakfast, packed up camp and started the 4-hour trip upriver to our next one. The morning was eventful as we spotted lots of dolphins, turtles, gators, an otter, a manatee, various birds and big and small monkeys . The scenery also changed, becoming more "jungle-like" than the previous day, with dense tropical trees and other vegetation lining the banks of the river, stretching as far as the eye could see.

Lucho, over the sound of the motor, heard some monkeys in the jungle and asked if we wanted to have a look. Of course :-) After climbing out of the boat and scrambling up the muddy bank, we stopped to listen for a few seconds. As usual I didn`t hear a thing... Also as usual Lucho did, and led us straight to the base of a very tall tree where, after some eye-straining, we too spotted a little family of black spider monkeys relaxing on the branches, making no noise at all. If I hadn`t known for a fact that Lucho and Juan weren`t guides and had never set foot in the area before, I would definitely have suspected them of having a "pet-monkey-family" on hand to show tourists...

Continue reading "Gators and Skeeters - Day 3"

Posted by kvabo at 06:14 PM
View/Add Comments (0) | Category: Peru
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