Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Greetings from Medellin Colombia

Hi Everyone,
I am in Medellin Colombia. The city made famous by Pablo Escobar and his cocaine cartel!! but more important it is the home and birthplacae of Fernando Botero, perhaps Colombias most celebrated contemporary artist.He is famous for his statues and paintings of FAT PEOPLE.
I only arrived in Medellin last night and so I have only been here about 16 hours. I will visit a few museums and see his art works and also check out this beautiful and vibrant city. It is a cultural center here and many travellers say it is the finest city of Colombia.
So since I wrote last, I was in San Augustine near the Ecuador border and saw the famous archeological park with the hundreds of pre Colombian statues. It was very interesting and enlightening. I met a really cool colombian guy who is a spirtual seeker and an astral projectionist.He is trying to develop his astral projection abilities through stydy and meditation and yoga practice. He lives in the countryside near San Augustine and just felt like he ought to go to the park that day and hang out. Just a Whim.
When he saw me he walked right over to me and started talking to me. He said he knew when He saw me that he was there to make contact with me and to hang out with me. Pretty freaky. At first I thought he was a husteler of some type but his little day backpack was full of yoga books and so I trusted him. We talked under some trees near a wataerfall for a couple of hours and he demonstrated his astral powers to me by conscentrating and moving a leaf that was on the ground. With his mind he flipped the leaf over and then fiipped it again. It was a way cool thing to watch. He says he wants to try to make his mind stronger so he can move other stuff and maybe be able to levitate some day. Well we all have to aspire to something I guess!!!
Before going to San Augustine I was for three days in Popayan, A very comfortable and amigable (riendly) city. After San Augustine I took two buses and arrived in CAli at night and went to the Iguana hostal. A fine choice. It is one of the best backpacker places I have stayed in in South America. Good kig=tchen friendly helpful people good location everything you could ask for escept a book exschange. That would have made it perfect.
Cali is fun. There isnt that much cultural stuff to see or do, but the town ROCKS at night and there are lots of good sidewalk cafes and bars ( I dont go to many bars but I DID go to a micro brew beer pub where they make their own beer and that was good but expensive).You can drink the water in all the big cities in Colombia. I met up with an American and an Israeli traveler at the hostal and we took off for a day trip to San Cipriani.
San Cipriani was a real highlight of my traveling adventures. It is a tiny pueblo (village) in the jungle. It is a Garafuno settelment. Garafunos are descendents of African slaves who escaped and formed their own communities. They have them all over central and South America. The town itself is a littel hard to get to but that is half the fun!!
No roads go to San Cpriani. You take a bus to Bonaventura and ask the driver to let you off in Cisternos or Cordoba and then you hike across a rickety foot bridge over the raging Cauca River and into the jungle. A Garafuno guy approaches you since there is no reason to be there but to go to San Cipriani, and takes you to an old abandoned rail road track. He takes out a platform about 1 meter long and as wide as he track. It has little steel wheels that fit on the rail road track and he stands on the end with a big stick and pushes your car through the jungle like a gondola about 12 kilometers through first growth virgen Rainforest until you arrive in the village. We saw many beautiful mariposas (butterflys) and birds and trees and plants on our way to the village.There are no cars or other motorvehicles in the town and all the people are black. It is on the shore of the San Cipriani river which is a small but beautiful crystal clear river that spills into the mighty Cauca river about 30 km from the town. We walked through the town and talked to a bunch of little kids who came up to us and started chattering to us and then we explored the pathway into the jungle a little and finally ended up on the shore of the river where we stripped down and went skinny dipping in the cool clear water. It was very hot and humid so the waater was heavenly!! All in all one of those perfect travelling days. The onlyt negative was the bus driver who took us there. He drove like a maniac!! Then he tried to hit us oup for more money when we got ;out. We blanked him (looked blankly at him and acted like we didnt speak spanish) and left without giving him more money. Then wouldnt you know it we get picked up by the same driver on the way back... Oh well.
I must confess to doing a little partying in Cali. I mean what the wahh hay, It is Colombia after all and Cali is famous for certain substances, white and green. The white one costs $3.00 US per gram and is perfectly pure and un adulterated. I havent tried any of THAT in an awful long time. It was very good and had almost no flavor and a lovely little buzz followed. The other substance of choice is also very nice and costs about 30 cents for a nice joint of pure weed with no tobacco rolled in. Also very tasty. So now I am in Medellin. I will be here for a few days anyway and then I continue further north headed for the Caribean sea and Cartagena and Santa Marta.
I will update you all again soon. Nothing ;but Love to all of you...
Rambling Robert.
Buddha said this to Ananda...
The results of Karma cannot be known by thought and so should not be speculated about.
Therefore do not be the judge of people do not makee assumptions about others. A person is destroyed by holding judgements about others

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Greetings from Popayan Colombia

Hi Everyone,
I am in colombia in a nice city called Popayan near the Ecuador border. I arrived here last night on October 17 2005 I wound up staying in Villcabamba Ecuador for 4 weeks at the most wonderful Rumi Wilco EcoLodge. Very cool place. I stayed with Angela until the 15th of Octobver and we said our tearful good-byes at the bus station in the rain. A heavy moment for the travelling man. Stephen Hawkins says you can either know the location of an object or its velocity but you cant know both. You cant stay in one place and keep moving. I decided to keep moving.
Ecuador was great. I loved the people and food and scenery and climate. My first impressions of Colombia are also wonderful.
The scenery from the Ecuador Border to Popayan was breathtaking! Absolutely beautiful. The bus went through many high mountain passes with dramatic drops and beautiful jungle and farm land everywhere. I travelled in busses all day from Quito to Popayan left at 8 in the morning and got here at 10 at night. I got to my hotel which was reccommended in Footprints guide, uugghh what a dump! The guy who let me in and showed me around stunk of rum. He shows me the room which looked pretty old and tired, no windows, no furniture, but a cable TV (I hate TV). In the bathroom across the hall there was a cockroach the size of my thumb on his back with his little legs kicking and the doorman smiles at it and says ¿Ya Aqui? (your still here?) Well now let me just say that I have stayed in $5.00 per night hotels all ñovere the world and I know when I am in a nice one and when I am in a dive. I aint expecting the Chicago Hilton but this was funky even by my standards. I watched the morning Lies on CNN and left to find another room. I found a nice place across the town for the same price 10,000 pesos per night at about 2,300 pesos to the doollar that would make the room about $4.00. The new room has no TV.I came to Popayan mainly because it is close to San Augustin and there was no direct route to San Augustin from Ecuador except ot go through Popayan. It is also a nice climate city at about 1700 meters above Sea Level,so I think I will stay a day or two and get adjusted to Colombia and then take the 6 1\2 hour bus trip to San Augustin.
San Augustine is famous for being an archeological site. There are over 1000 huge stone statues in situ of men gods and animals. These works were begun about 3300BC and continued until the very early 1500s culminating with the European invasion and the terrible plagues spread to the local people by the invading barbarians. No one knows who cut the statues or why.It is in a valley that is near Ecuador (200km from the border) and it is supposed to be exquisitely beautiful and tranquil...Ahhem
Well, uhh, not exactly real tranquil in the technical sense. Colombia haws been in a civil war for some 30 years. the FARC (Armed Forces of Colombian Revolution)or (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) have been fighting the "legitimate" government in the south and east of Colombia for all this time. In the North west near Panama is the EFN another guerilla army but I am not planning to go to their territory, I am already in FARC territory!! The war is a low intensity struggle wtih all the armies carefully avoiding one another. However there is some violence and it can be...uuhhh ...interesting. There were soldiers on the road every 10 km or so they frequently stopped the bus and asked to see everyones papers. In Ecuador near the border I (my bus)was stopped twice from the Anti-Drug Police. Glad I burned my last reefer in Quito! SShhaahhhh Who BRINGS marijuana to Colombia? So anyway, I went to see the tourism police here in Popayan because the only reliable information is local and it changes all the time.
After being searched at the entrance to the Police station I asked the nice cops about San Augustine. They report to me that:
The road is open and not damaged.
It is safe for Tourists but not for Americans. "Where are you from?" they ask. "New Zealand I say" "oh no problem then" Okay well I guess you can see how ñmy plan is developing. To a person from Colombia an American accent and a Kiwi accent sound the same!!! Glad I have my "All Blacks" baseball cap with the silver fern on the front to wear!
I asked why it is safe for everyone except Americans and they said it is because my government is waging a big campain against the Guerillas. So they think the guerillas may take out their anger and frustration at GWB on ordinary Americans. I asked if there have been any recent incidents against American or other tourists and they said the last one was more than 2 years ago. I will go to San Augustine either tomorrow or the 20th and stay for 2 or 3 days and then head north to Cali. I will update you all when I get to Cali...
I had an important day in Villcabamba on October 1,2005 I entered my 25th month of being unemployed and homeless. I am now in my third year of travelling and no end in sight.

Ciao for Now
Robert here is an interesting closing thought from about 45 years ago...
"Every time we (the USA) buy a new weapon
we effectivly decide not to feed a hungry person somewhere in the world"-
Dwight D Eisenhower 5 star General and President of the United States