Goodbye Coolombia Colombia Hello Ecuador

Goodbye Colombia Hello Ecuador

In Colombia, there is a saying that this country is really Colombia because it’s so hip and cool.  But as we prepare to leave we find things heat up for us.

So Let’s Recap Why

Boys at the completion of school are required to either enter the military or join the police force. Thus, Columbia is filled with young men, training to be policemen with an excess stock of police with not enough to do. This makes these policemen appear like they are always in packs everywhere we go.

We’ve just had a really bad experience in Paipa when my son lost his ID bracelet and we tried to report it to police but they detained and separated us, and it has left me a nervous mess.

Toll Gates And Road Blocks

Therefore, as we leave Paipa, we go through toll gates – there are of course police.  We also have four roadblocks – and each time there are more police. We step off the bus (unknowingly having to catch yet another bus from the north to the old town), and there are two policemen.

They insist on helping us with our bags.  It is nice, but we now have a ‘police fear’. So they take our bags up and over the overpass, but they wait while we buy tickets and of course, this makes me think they are watching us.

Waiting For The Bus

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – Waiting for a bus into town without luggage – Explorason carries his bow and arrow he bought.

Then these policemen enter the secure ticketed area with our bags and wait with us until our bus comes.  Yikes, I want some police-free time.

Back In Bogota

We then get back to our Bogota hostel, and each day the team of police comes in to check the guest register. By now, I just have fear of police.

Bad News

We stay in town only a few days, but it doesn’t pass. We plan to head out to the coffee region of Colombia.  But then on the News, we hear about the fuel strike in the south, and the coffee growers are having riots in the south also – both Cali and Medellin.

We then hear the buses nor minivans are not running south at all. The talks are that the riots will increase.

Venezuela?

So we look into the possibility of going to Venezuela, but Chavez, the President just died last week, and there is political unrest. Not a good place to be right now.

Ecuador?

So I decide to book airline tickets to Ecuador and leave. We can only get an evening flight the next day, so we prepare to go.

Spanish Lesson

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – Spanish lesson with Vanessa

My son has a Spanish lesson while I pack with the lovely Vanessa who we met last time we stayed here. She is a qualified language teacher and teaches Explorason quite a bit this day.

Farewell Old City

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – Enjoying the tram café

We take our last walks around the old city of Bogota. We found a lovely old train carriage that is a café and sat and enjoyed coffee and cake together.

Gloves For Lunch

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – disposable gloves when eating chicken is a great idea for businessmen

Later we had lunch, and we found the custom of all the business people wearing disposable gloves to eat their greasy food quite funny.  But hey, it works.

Colombia

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – the distant holy statue gives us peace – it glows at night

Our last day in Bogota. The weather is cool. ‘Colombia’ about sums it up here. Nice in the mornings and rainy in the afternoons.

We have a new larger room (so I can spread out and pack). And it had a great view of the Virgin at the top of the hill. To me, it felt more like waking up and seeing Jesus with his arms outstretched – like wanting us to come and hide in his robe. This gave me peace.

Uptight Mum and Son

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – COPA Airlines bus to the airplane makes Explorason happy.

The last part of the day goes so slowly. I am uptight. We son should have had more exercise, and less sugar. He is hyped, and now he has to sit on a plane and behave at customs. Parents: Don’t give kids sugar before customs!

Explorason’s actions in the taxi and in the airport are not flash. He probably is uptight too?

He does get excited when he sees we have to catch a bus to the airplane.

He is incredibly excited and jumps up and down as he sees the steps to the plane – just like on a movie!

We have to wait about half an hour past our scheduled departure, as the queue for planes to use the runway is extensive. We meet some fellow Aussies on our flight and chat away.

We talk about the fact they had to book a flight for the same reason we do. They say folks won’t get through on the buses to Ecuador.

COPA Airlines Luggage Allowance

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – Ascending the stairs to the plane.

Our flight is pretty good. COPA Airlines offers a generous allowance on luggage. The food and drinks are good also, so we like this airline.

Quito Ecuador

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – An overtired boy lies on the airport floor waiting for luggage

We land in Quito, Ecuador in the early hours of the morning. There are no toilets anywhere on the walk from the plane to customs. Even after customs, I can’t see a toilet.

Overtired Boy At The Airport

We wait to get our bags. We wait, and we wait. For over one hour the conveyor belts break down. We finally get one bag, but the other is missing. My son is just stuffed. I can’t leave him and the bags and I have to go to the bathroom so badly. He won’t listen and keeps playing on the conveyor belt. He is so uptight, he gives it a kick. I find his behavior so frustrating, yet I know he is overtired.

We wait, and wait!

Then finally we get told the conveyor belt has changed to the center one. Now six flights are waiting for bags – it is out of control. It has been nearly two hours and I have had enough.

I finally decide not to believe the man that our last bag is going to appear on this conveyor belt, so we seek to report it.

Lost Property

I finally find our last bag and it is already in lost property. It is FILTHY & covered in black gunk. Where the heck has it been???? Somehow it had never even come down the chute. I wonder how long it has sat there. The whole time, my son wants to help and go to the conveyor belts and search for the bags.

Behavior With Tiredness

Again, my son won’t listen to me as he is really just ‘over it all’ and I can’t blame him. I feel so uptight as its just too much and he needs sleep. We drag the bags to the Xray area.

Lost Jacket

We get through and discover my son has dropped his jacket. We can’t go back through the Xray area.  So I have to leave the bags with the attendant and wander back through for the jacket with my son. By now my bladder, and emotions are about to pop.

We can’t find his jacket so we head back to our luggage area and finally find a bathroom. By now my temper pops when my son answers me back one last time. I don’t win ‘Mother of the Year’ award.  This is when single parenting is just so hard for both mother and child and probably one of our worst airport experiences of the trip.

By now it is way past 1:00 a.m. I worry we won’t even get into our accommodation when finally get there and it might be locked up.

Are We Being Kidnapped?

We grab a cab, but it has no meter. He drives at 90 k.m.h. for well over one and a quarter hours. I fear he could drive us off to the never-never and we are kidnapped in Ecuador forever. But whilst my son sleeps, I pray. We get to a toll. I try to scream at the lady to help, but she ignores us 🙁  I’d been told the airport was 20 minutes from town, but this is wrong as the new airport has just opened and it is way out of town. Talk about a panic situation!

Where is the heck this driver taking us? But, at the end of the road, there is our Inn. He charges us $30 (more than what we are told to pay).

Off Goes Our bags

I get my son out and get him to buzz the door. A man appears on the steps and the next thing our bags head upon his shoulders. I send my son up and pay (the man says to just pay and not quibble, so I do).

Hello Quito

Coolombia

©Exploramum and Explorason – Happy in our room at the top of the stairs in Quito

We buy water and finally go up about 100 steps to our room. It is clean and private, and there is a view of the twinkling lights of Quito.

We have finally arrived! I cannot wait for sleep. In fact, we barely sleep in the next day!

Comments And Questions:

  • Have you ever been afraid of the police when traveling?
  • What happened?
  • What is the worst airport experience you have ever had?
  • Tell us in the comments below.

We visit an orphanage in Quito Ecuador

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