Sunday, November 28, 2010

Colombia - the first few days

Wow, here I am in really tiny booth in San Gil, Colombia.  ¿How did I get here? The flights in the down went pretty well.  When we landed in Fort Lauderdale, we thought we were in the right terminal with plenty of time to spare.  Then we heard our names paged over head (a new experience for me) for a final boarding call.  Some lady found us and radioed in our information as we ran a couple of terminals over to our plane that was already boarding.  Glad we made it.

Arriving in Colombia went really smooth.  The airport wasn´t too crowded, customs went fine, and getting to the hotel was pretty easy.  Walked around for a while, got some drinks, then crashed for the night.  The next day a taxi ride to the bust station then a long 6+ hour bus ride.  There were lots of stops for people getting on and off.  About 1/3 way into the trip I was sitting by myself when a cute local female sat next to me for the rest of the trip.  She tried talking to me, but I guess I didn´t pay enough attention in my high school spanish classes.  I did get her to rest her head on my shoulder as she slept, that was awesome.

We arrived in San Gil and took a quick taxi to the outfitter.  They were expecting us and spoke with the owner Cesar about options and prices.  There were 4 European boaters in town and they wanted to run the Chicamocha canyon.  I thought it would great to have more paddlers on the water for safety and help share the cost of transportion which was expensive because the shuttle back was 4 hours long.

We met at the outfitter the next day in morning and picked out our boats.  Todd and I lucked out because they had kayaks that each of us own, I was in Huka and Todd paddle a Habitat.  The canyon was beautiful.  One of the deepest in the country.  It started out mellow then there was a 1+ mile rapid.  Class 4+ BIG water.  Todd and I both got spanked by waves and had to swim.  My swim was fairly short and not bad.  Todd´s was a different story.  He swam a long ways but was saved by the Europeans.  I held onto my paddle and had to walk a long way to get to my recovered boat.  I had never been so happy and anxious to see my boat.  That meant we had to keep going.  The river started to mellow out and pretty soon it was big long wave trains.  Just pure fun.  We ended the river just before dark (6pm) and got back to the hotel at midnight, we stopped for dinner along the way.

Today we decided to try something new.  We went hydro speeding on a river that runs right through town.  Hydro speeding is using a large beefy kickboard with handles and you wear fins and basically swim in the river with the board.  It was new persepective for me on the river.  Class 2-3 waves looked huge when you´re at water level.

Now were headed out to do some paragliding.  I´m super pumped but Todd´s nervous about heights.  We should get some sick footage.  I hope to post some if I can find a PC that well take my memory card from my camera. 

All in all we´re having a great time and being safe.  We´re in San Gil a few more days then off to the Caribbrean for Scuba.  I´ll try to keep the updates coming.  I´m having the time of my life.

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