Funny how one change of mind can change everything. After the exhaustion of really sank in it became apparent to me that I was crazy. Why would I rush home so fast after working so hard to get down to here? It was clear I wasn't enjoying it, and fortunately I was able to change a stubborn mindset. It would be a bit embarrassing to have to tell people that I would not be coming home when I said I would, but I was a bit surprised to be supported for it. Some people are anxious to see me home and part of me just wanted to make them happy. But then it was also clearer that I was sacrificing my own happiness for what I perceived would be theirs, and nothing but regret for me in the end.
So, that night in Medellin I fell asleep at 8 o'clock. Jenny and the other young fellow from the garage came over to the hotel with a bag of weed and asked if I wanted some. No thank you. Especially not in Columbia. Besides, it smelled and looked like parsley. They were very kind; Jenny helped ensure I could keep the bike at the mechanics overnight, then took me to the internet, then to find a hotel across the street. I think it was about $7 for the night, and the shower was SO cold, with just one valve handle on the wall. Refreshing to say the least, but all I could bring myself to do was go across the street for a beer and ice cream and brought it back to the room. I wanted to meet some people and sit at a bar but decided I was just too tired.
The boys at the mechanics were all there before me, although jenny did not return as she had said. I felt comfortable with them, and they persuaded me into a total bike wash. It sure looked nice after it was done, and gave me some time to just hang out. The other young guy took me down to the bank, and I bought a couple souvenirs along the way.
When it was time to go, a little after 12, I confirmed with the guys that indeed I was looking right at the highway I needed to get on to head north to Cartagena. The bike didn't start but the kid had pushed the safety switch off, which made me happy as I didn't have to push start it. Then down off of the sidewalk, through traffic, and off I went.
By mid afternoon, it was cold and rainy up in the mountains, about 2500 m. Milk cow country in Yarumal. Had a nice chat with the ladies who worked at a good little store/restaurant on the side of the road, having completely missed the city of 50,000. After, I returned down there to get some gas to see all the police dispersing the area from yet another road check.
I rode on into the evening, dropping my bike on the pavement trying to slowly get through a big pothole while going around a corner a bit fast. A bit faster pickup realizing the big bus was coming right behind me. Eventually the road straightened out, and improved dramatically, although heavy heavy rain accompanied it. I think it was around that time I realized I didn't have to make it back to Canada so fast. So, I settled down at a sweet little roadside motel, fairly new near a palm roofed open air restaurant that looked very nice. There was noone to let me into the room for about 10 minutes but finally someone came over from the gas station to take my money. Still only about 13 bucks now for this nice one.
3 brothers discovered me the next morning, and sat down at the table watching me as I ate my breakfast. We talked for a bit, and then I said it was photo time. So I got them all geared up with my helmet and glasses. I gave the oldest the last piece of map I had to show him where he lives. Probably had never seen one before, although he had heard of Medellin of course.
As suspected, I ate that road up that day all the way to Cartagena, and arrived in the afternoon. I got into the old historical part of the city, walled since the 1500's to protect against several other countries ships, and later pirates. The city was being ransacked so much as a result of it being the Spanish pickup spot for all the Bolivian, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian gold and silver they plundered. The impressive walls were built at today's cost in the trillions of dollars. The King had reportedly said "We should be able to see it here in Spain for all the money we've spent on it". They even resorted to building an underwater wall to stop boats from landing on ground.
The first hotel I stopped at within the walls was 300 a night. Although I was looking to have a mini holiday here I thought that was a bit too much. So, I drove over to Bocagrande, and area that looks completely different, with highrises and hotels everywhere. I stayed there for 3 nights. The only exciting thing was one morning when I decided I would change my mood as well, and start trying to connect with people again. So this lady was on the beach putting on suntan lotion and as i walked by I asked if she spoke english. No senor. She didn't sound spanish for sure. Anyways, her husband yells out at me from out in the ocean and starts making rude gestures with his arm, and waving his hands away from his body, like "get out of here". I just stood there and stared at him saying tranquillo! relax you bone head. Still haven't experimented with saying whatever the hell I want in a language the other person doesn't understand. Anyways, I think he got the point I was willing to stay right there until he got out of the water, because he started to hesitate a bit. So that was it for saying hello to people! I think some people are pretty nervous in Columbia, but the locals are some of the happiest in the world.