My first 3 weeks in Colombia I was in the capital city of Bogota. I needed some peace and a break from the city life.
A close friend I’ve made gave me the opportunity to go to her farm, or “finca” as they call them here. I stayed for a week on my own, spending my days working on my writing and exploring the countryside by horseback and on foot with my canine friend Lucho.
A special thank you to my amazing neighbors; Luis, Mary Yibe, Alejandro, Lorena, and of course Lezlie and Brenda for the opportunity. Your generous invitation was hugely helpful in my creative process and an experience I won’t soon forget. Click the images below to see more.
In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play Friedrich Nietzsche
Goooooooood Morning Colombia!
Getting the horses ready for a ride.
A majestic afternoon ride in the hills of San George, Colombia
What an ass! Just taking a sunday stroll.
Colombia’s National Sport, Tejo!
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” Josh Billings
“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” Andy Rooney
The little bug just wanted to come cuddle with us.
One afternoon I went and sat under this tree and read “The Apology” by Plato…It was a more satisfying few hours of entertainment than any cinema has ever provided me thats for sure!
Click on any image below to see my photo journal from my third week in Bogota.
I banged my knee the day before and couldn’t really skate this day. So I practiced making my board levitate with my mind…
One of the best parts about sunday’s here is when they close the main streets to cars. The entire place is quiet, and you can hear people speaking and laughing. If only every day was Domingo!
This was just one of those moments where I am walking through the city and it is an automatic reaction to just take a picture. The juxtaposition between the bum passed out from Saturday night and the nuns walking at midday on Sunday made me chuckle.
At calle 23 y 15 there is a pretty awesome plaza where all the skaters meet up on Sunday. I met the OnBoard team there and went skating with them. This time we stayed downtown and it was awesome just be in a big city and skate around without any hassles for cops or security guards.
This has always been one of my favorite tricks. Especially when you pop out in the middle.
If your memories from when you grew up skating don’t include shoes like this, then you just don’t get it. This is Skateboarding, this is Bogota.
Just warming up at the spot. The street art continues to impress me.
John has a pretty bad heel bruise so he couldn’t really skate too hard, but it’s hard not to just want to throw down some sort of trick when the session is heated!
Sitting with the crew watching the film session go down. As a Canadian skater the rough ground doesn’t really bother me at all, but I could see how some of the softer California skate pro’s might have a hard time here.
This was the best place to wake up to, get a coffee, and write. That was until the construction next door began 12 hour shifts using a jackhammer. Unfortunately, this is part of the reason I must move on. I really did love it here.
And we are laughing because describing how you want your haircut in a foreign language is pretty damn funny. She did a great job for $4 though!
Click on any image below to see my photo journal from week 2 in Bogota.
Arepa and Queso ~ Cheap, easy and delicious.
I tried to ask this guy if his fruit was organic. He was almost seemed ashamed the way he explained that no, it was not “organic”. But then my friend clarified that what he meant was, no it had not been fertilized with “organic” chemicals. His fruit just grew naturally on his family’s farm. I’ll take two of everything please!
I have been doing my best to take advantage of all the delicious and nutritious fresh fruit they have here. For less than $1 this freshly sliced mango is too easy to not begin my day with.
And the award for the best cup of coffee I have yet to find in Bogota goes to these Coffee Jeeps. For $1.25 you can’t beat it.
Here is another one of the Coffee Jeeps. They’ve got the good stuff!
A lot of people would probably look at this guy and think “What a lazy bum”. They may be right, but I also see his tranquility in another way. How many westerners could just feel relaxed enough to take a nap in the sun? Not many… So kudos to the street sleepers and their relaxed sensibility.
Some people are soothed by the sound of the ocean, some like ambient white noise, and others prefer the constant sounds of a busy street. Hey whatever work right?
For now the Sheaffer Delta Grip is my pen of choice. Although I am really excited about some of the ideas I have for making my own pen in the future.
Sometimes I just write…And sometimes I just end up with messy hands. Yes, I am still part boy.
I chose to ask a woman wearing high heels to take my picture with my Iphone. I figured of all the people walking the streets, a young woman in heels would probably not take off with my phone. What if she did? Well I would could just chase her down! I think I am probably thinking about how funny that would be without showing right as this photo is being taken.
It keeps amazing me how much a wall painted like this breathes life into a city. It is so much more “alive” than if it was just left gray cement.
More Street art!
The Street Art here tells all kinds of amazing stories. I see different parts of the city with the addition of creative artistic murals.
Excuse me, I am trying to take artsy shots of the cool graffiti.
Thumbs up to a full day of street skating (and falling) all over Bogota.
Usually this advertises the fresh Mojitos, or Margaritas you can find in the Masaya bar, but this night it was Orlando’s Exposition.
Maybe it is just because I am such a horrible painter that his use of colors impresses me so much.
A variety of color..
It was fun to watch Orlando the last two weeks go from being pretty scrubby, paining on the street next to the Masaya Hostel to having an exhibit, a bunch of support, and hopefully enough sales to get him a place to stay for a little longer time.
This is him showing me how he blows the ink our of a ball point pen and makes his ink “smear” paintings.
I was drinking a cup of coffee when I asked him and in about one minute he blew ink and used his fingers to create this.
A letter/Poem Orlando wrote and gave to me.
This is the crowd getting on the Transmilenio bus system at rush hour.
Skating around the streets meeting people, finding new spots to skate/eat/write/etc. It reminds me of when I was a teenager skating around Vancouver.
I don’t think this is fair for the people coming out of the bar drunk and hungry at the end of the night. I mean come on look at all the candy and chips! “Yes, I will take one of those on the top shelf…And everything else below it”.
This is our adventure mobile!
The first day I was here I met a local skate named Maximilliano who had a friend looking for someone to rent his extra room. It turns out his friend, Sebastien, actually studied in Vancouver. So not only did I find a great spot to stay, but I made an awesome friend who can use relatable examples like; Don’t go down that street, it’s like East Hastings St.”
Willem first came to South America in 2005. Since then he has explored most of the continent by moped. Now in Bogota, Colombia, he plans to purchase a new moped and continue his journey. The Gravel King rides on…
My first week staying in Bogota I met a an incredibly fascinating Dutch man who goes by the name of Willem. His first four years in South America he traveled extensively by moped until he finally ran out of money in San Rafael, Argentina. He used that as a home base for two years but his adventures didn’t stop there. He has ridden over 35,000 Kilometers since he first arrived in South America and now he just arrived in Colombia to buy a new moped and continue living in a way that would rival the Dos Equis “Most interesting man in the World.”
One of the reasons he chose to stay and live in San Rafael is because of it’s history. Established in 1805, it is older than most Argentinian cities by 100 years. What he loved most is how it’s culture and history still remain a focal point. The city is an agricultural heaven with the Diamante River weaving it’s way through the center of town. It splits into canals providing sustenance for the many tree’s and vineyards that grow abundantly. The locals call it the Oasis del Sur or, Oasis of the South, because of its fertile soil and endless supply of water. He found a small farm whose owners let him live on exchange for helping out occasionally to cover his room and board. From this landing point he he revved the engine on his trusty Yamaha V 50 Degree and continued his journey.
His best memory from these later moped adventures was when he stayed five months in Paraguay. In the winter time, it is not practical to travel in the south of Argentina because of the weather. So he chose to stay in Paraguay until the roads became passable again. He told me he doesn’t think people really know Paraguay, yet after 5 months there he came to quit enjoy the country. I asked him why and he told me it was because of the way the people won him over with their hospitality. That’s saying a lot because over the course of the those two years he made trips from San Rafael to; Suriname, French Guinea, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. He loves them all, but for Willem Paraguay is a special .
So why is he back in Colombia now? 33 years ago he was here for the first time and met some friends who he wants to try to reconnect with. For me that sounds like an awesome adventure to be on. It would be like if I went back to South Africa in 2047 and looked up some of the people I became friends with last year. Whether they reconnect or not, it is clear Willem is going to be just fine on his Colombian adventure. We sit outside in the courtyard of our hostel, sipping freshly brewed coffee and discussing all things South America and Mopeds. He doesn’t have to convince me why Colombia is so great, I’ve only been here 10 days and already I’m sold!
Click through the gallery below to see some of the amazing photos from Willems journey and you can contact him to plan your own guided tour by email ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Bike: Yamaha V 50 Degre
Yamaha made in China (2005).
- 49 cc 2-stroke engine
- 3 speed
- 5 liters tank (and an additional
6 liters of fuel)
- 6 volt lighting system
- Average consumption 1: 35
- Top speed 60 km (depending on the
- Two luggage racks
- Comfort: Good
- Weight 75 kg