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Wed Feb 12 2014: Bogota-Bound!

We're on the move again.

It's only been a few days since we left Medellin and after 6 motionless weeks, we've anticipated that it might be difficult to click back into the cadence of travel.

The mountain roads of Antioquia - a sinuous distraction

Bye bye kitchen - back to road-side stops for meals

I've done really well with my diet during our rest periods in Colombia. I've eaten very healthy thanks to Neda's cooking and lost a whole bunch of weight. I kinda dread having meals on the road again because I have no willpower. Those greasy, carby dishes just seem to glow and pop-out from all the road-side diner menus: "Con papas francesas?" "Por supuesto, Senor!" (Google translation)

Construction on the bridge across the Rio Magdalena has traffic backed up for kms

We're descending quite rapidly from the lofty heights of Medellin and the temperature begins to soar into the low 30s. A traffic jam builds up because of construction on a bridge up ahead and our motorcycles follow the path of least resistance, flowing out of the lane and onto the centreline, our panniers brushing up against oncoming trucks. One 18-wheeler stops short of pushing Neda completely over as it attempts to squeeze by her invading bike...

After this, we take to the opposite sidewalk. It's much safer knocking down pedestrians than it is being knocked over by a truck. At least there, we have the Right-of-Weight!

Bustin' out! Hundreds of bikes let loose before the cars and trucks over the Rio Magdalena

Asking for directions to a hotel in Honda

We're stopping in the town of Honda for the evening. The town is bisected by a river and is known as the city of bridges because there are at least four vehicle-bridges and a couple of pedestrian walkways over the river. We get a bit lost because half of these bridges are under construction making navigation through the one-way streets a nightmare.

Even when standing still, Neda's bike still wants to lean

The next day we do a short walking tour of Honda in the morning before we leave. It's not a very large town and since it's a weekday, all the streets are deserted while everyone's at work.

At least the mornings are a bit cooler and pleasant to walk around in

Surprisingly not a lot of Honda vehicles in the town of Honda...

Patriotic Alleyway Art

The only place that was bustling in Honda was the marketplace where we stocked up on supplies for the road

On-The-Road Selfie! I forgot to do Duck Lips...

For the last few days, we've been debating whether to ride into Bogota or not. I didn't really care whether we go or not, there's nothing there that I am interested in seeing, plus I've heard the traffic is brutal! The city's population is a densely-packed 8 million people - 4 times larger than Medellin, and we weren't too happy about that traffic.

However Neda heard that the old city was very pretty, so as always, on a last minute decision just as we are leaving Honda, we decided to dive headfirst into MegaBogopolitan traffic.

Just wanted to Shoei you what we had for lunch

Change-up in chain maintenance

Neda is changing up her chain maintenance routine. She finds it tough to lube the chain at the end of the riding day, since we're both tired and just want to either eat or relax. So she's started to do her chain maintenance either during lunchtime while we're waiting for food or at our fueling stops. It's working out too well, I can't hear her chain rattling when she's riding now and have to check my mirrors to make sure she's still behind me...

The weather is changing once again. As we climb from Honda's relatively low elevation of 750 feet all the way to Bogota at 8600 feet, the temperature goes from scorching to chilly in just a few short hours. Neda tells me we're at 15C, almost a 20 degree difference! The air is misty because we are now riding into the clouds clinging to the mountains around Bogota.

As if it wasn't cold enough, it starts to rain cats and dogs on us. It takes us an hour to traverse the heavily congested 25kms from the outer ring of Bogota's residential suburbs, through the very modern downtown city core, all the way to the historical centre of La Candelaria, where Neda wants to stay. The moment we arrive, the rain stops. Of course.

We heard Bogota was a dangerous place. So while Neda looks for a hostel,
I guard the bikes against... um, curious schoolchildren...

Hiding out from the cold afternoon showers in Bogota in our new hostel

RideDOT.com Trivia: Neda has read nearly 50 books on this trip. It's her favorite downtime activity

After lights-out, the girl in the upper bunk to the left of Neda started sleep-talking up a storm.
I wished I spoke Swedish, it sounded very important...

When we stay at hostels, we usually get a private room because it's more economical for two people. However, the private rooms were all booked up so we had to sleep in Gen Pop. Because we were the last to check in, we were left the worst beds in the dorm - upper bunk.

In a kind of reverse-H.G.-Wells, UpperBunkers are basically the Morlocks of the dorm, treated with disdain by the Eloi who live beneath. You end up disturbing everyone while gracelessly trying to get into bed, you shake the whole bunk when you toss and turn and heaven forbid you need to get down to go the washroom in the middle of the night! And all the while, everyone is tut-tutting away in the dark with over-exaggerated annoyance...

I'll see you for breakfast tomorrow, my tasty little Elois...

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