So here we are, in Colombia. Our first new continent together. This is exciting. This is exhilarating. This is dangerous?
We’d originally planned to skip Colombia. We had thought it was dangerous and decided it wasn’t worth our while. But then we started thinking… upon entering Mexico many people advised us against going. We had a great time. We had a phenomenal time. So why should we skip Colombia if we didn’t skip Mexico?
The more important questions is why do we, as people, typecast entire countries when we know so little about them? All I knew about Colombia before I started preparing to go there was what I learned from watching Clear and Present Danger. Is that really fair, probably not.
So here we are, in Colombia. There are dangers here, just as if we were going to New York or Detroit. There are also beauties to behold…from volcanic mud baths along beautiful beaches to mountain vistas and more whitewater than you can shake a stick at. The people of Colombia are actually rated as some of the happiest in the world (although the statistician in me is at at a complete loss for how one calculates happiness.)
A few weeks ago, we were sitting on the island of Utila in Honduras. This was before we were rocked by an earthquake and before Honduras ousted their president. We were speaking with some people who were headed to the USA in the near future, planning to road trip the east coast in just a few weeks. I asked what their plans held and for the most part there was nothing surprising. But then they said they planned to spend 10 days in New York and just 2 in Washington, DC. I asked why such a short time in a city where all the tourist attractions are free and they told me that Washington was just too dangerous for them…after all, it was the murder capital of the country… in the 1970’s.
Pam Grimes says
Very interesting perspective regarding “oh no too dangerous”. My perception of Colombia is basically the same as your’s…movies, law enforcement “reality” shows. Same concept as get out of the rain on, yet we take long luxurious showers! OR my favorite. “I no longer fly, there are too many plane crashes. I’ll just drive, it’s safer, I’m a good driver” Have they looked at those statistics lately?
Love ya both! Pam
Awlman Tobias says
I spent a lot of time in Colombia in the mid-late 1980’s. You’re right that if you are careful things are OK. Stunning scenery.
To watch out for: real friendly people striking up causal conversations that include words like “Cocaine”. Happened to me. They are either DAS policemen, FARQ or M19 bad guys or druggies trying to figure out what you are there for, since not many gringos walk the woods. I was subsequently followed and picked up, long story….
Don’t go walking through landscape without totally knowing where you are going. Too many guerilla camps, drug fields, emerald fields, mafia strongholds. Be very careful, no kidding – we had guys kidnapped. It’s the real deal there, or at least was 20 years ago.
You will be asked if you want to buy emeralds. Don’t touch ’em.
Avoid patterns, i.e. don’t go to the same places again.
Best juice on the planet: Guanabana. Unbelievable. Don’t leave until you drink some.
Marco C says
Hi there! It’s really weird that you describe your trip to Colombia (or South America as a whole piece)as a new continent… WHAT !!!??? Colombia is located in the same continent that helds USA… I can easily discribe this as ignorance of your part. Wow this amazes me… come on guys you’ve made tons of travels to not know this !
AMERICAN CONTINENT : North America (Canada, USA and Mexico)+ Central America + South America
You raise an interesting point. The number of continents in the world is actually a subject of debate:
– In most English speaking countries, and China, the 7 continent system is taught, which is what we learned when we went to school.
– A combined Eurasia 6 continent system is taught from Eastern Europe to Japan.
– Another 6 continent system is taught in Latin America and the European Mediterreanean and that is of a combined N & S America.
So in short it looks like there is no right answer. This is especially true given that there are still far more tectonic plates and that is the only “factual” division possible.
Eva & Jeremy Rees says
I find that folks at home, especially in the states, really can scare us about travel abroad. I think the more rarely you leave home, the more terrifying the world outside looks. When we arrived in Mexico we were totally suspicious of everything and everyone. Once we calmed down, we realized how wonderful and welcoming of a place it was.
We heard from so many people about how great Columbia was! In fact, we’re terribly sad to have missed it, but I know we’ll be back in South America again!