A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Colombia, The Misunderstood Country

Country to country, person to person, I've encountered more uncertainties, untruths, and misinformation that I'd ever thought possible. People tell me things about my own country that are incorrect. Travelers spread tales that are nothing more than heresay. Stereotypes rule the day: you'll get robbed on every bus in Bolivia, everyone in Peru is a panhandler, French people are unfriendly, everyone's out to get you...

Yet you must push through it all - all the words - until you get to the truth. And the truth is only what you discover on your own.

I came to Colombia unsure what to expect. I'd heard the stories, first-hand accounts of both its positives and negatives. Yet what I've discovered is an absolutely beautiful country with a kind and warm people.

Compared to the border crossing from Peru to Ecuador, crossing from Ecuador into Colombia was a dream. Walk up. Stamp out of Ecuador. Cross bridge on foot. Wait in line. Stamp into Colombia. Done.

Ipales was the first stop and not one I wanted to take - based on the reviews of the city. Yet, once my bags were stowed in a hotel and my belly full, I went wandering and ended up getting a Day 1 example of how friendly the people of Colombia are. I went looking for something to do and upon asking two people on the street where the nightlife was, was promptly offered to come with them to a great hip bar. This began what turned into a wonderful evening of drinks and dancing.

Beyond Ipales, I next travelled to Popyan, called the White City. This is no passing nickname, for the entire city is white. Which, by the way, makes it incredibly difficult to get your bearings when you're off on a wander. The food was great, the hostel comfy, and the people, once again, extraordinarily outgoing.

Past Popyan, we wove through the mountains and valleys, a series of intoxicating vistas that after all the travels in South America I thought I had grown used to. But hour after hour I couldn't tear my eyes away.

Throughout my travels I've been constantly amazed at how the perception of a people or place can be so radically different. Colombia has put an exclamation point on that. I look forward to what lay ahead.


  • At 11:33 AM , Anonymous Jamie said...

    I am a firm believer, life is how you make it! And you, my friend, are making a wonderful memory. Enjoy the road :)

  • At 11:00 AM , Anonymous M. Patch said...

    I have three Columbian's that work for me right now. I have to agree, they are the nicest people you'd ever meet. I guess I am at a disadvantage in life as I usually just tune out people when they start telling me about their stereotypes. God put this world together with art in mind, and each person in each place is simply a new brush stroke in the grand painting. You either appreciate it, or you dont.


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