December 15, 2009 GMT






After yet another awesome ride through more of Colombia, I arrived in Bogota, the capital.
Garth really needed a little TLC , and when I arrived in Bogota, I headed straight to the Harley dealer to book him in for some good lovin’.

The owner greeted me and Garth went straight into the workshop for a once over. We needed a new pair of tyres, new brake pads, and a 25,000 mile service, and was hoping that we would be able to repair the lights that were still as useful as a pair of candles when it came to illuminating the road at night, and fix the MP3 socket on the radio .
It was Friday afternoon, and I was hopeful that our bike would be ready to roll the next day, as was the owner of the shop, Andres. We all hung around in the shop, talking bikes, roads, and the like and before I knew it, it was almost 10pm. Hector, the mechanic appeared from the workshop, and said that he would finish the bike off in the morning. I thanked him for his hard work and for staying on so late, said good night to Garth, and Andres paid for a taxi to take me to a nearby hotel.
By the time the cab found the “hotel” we were looking for, it was almost 11pm. Just enough time for a shower and my first taste of the famous Bogota nightlife, I thought to myself. Alas, this was not to be the case.
The owner of the “hotel” was a lovely old lady in her eighties, who had converted her family home , which she had lived in all her life, into a guest house. When I asked her or a key, she told me that she was the only one with they key, and I wouldn’t need it anyway as it was too late to go out.
“ But I haven’t eaten since midday, and I am thirsty too, and I wanted to go out and see the city on my first night” I said to her, to which she replied;
“Well, tomorrow will be your first night then, won’t it”. She smiled at me, went into her room, and closed the door. And that was it. My first night in Bogotá did not turn out as I planned!
I retired to my room, and sat on the bed. I didn’t feel tired, but when I laid down, I fell asleep almost instantly.
I woke at 8am, went downstairs, and said good morning to my hostess, before popping up to the Harley shop on foot. It was a ten-minute walk, which had taken 45 minutes in a cab the night before!
Once again, I was greeted by the owner and walked into the workshop where the bad news was imparted to me.
There were no rear tires to fit my bike in the shop, or indeed in Bogota. The lights would have to stay as they were , and the bike wouldn’t be ready by the end of the day. On top of that, the following Monday was a holiday, so I would have to wait for the bike until Tuesday. This also meant I would be missing out on the bike rally that was being held that weekend, and, even worse, I would have to walk, nightmare!
The only good news was that they would be able to fix the radio, and complete the service.
I was gutted. Jacquie was arriving the very next day, and I had really wanted to pick her up with Garth, as I knew she would be as pleased to see the bike as she would to see me.
Well there was nothing I could do about it, the workshop closed on Saturday afternoon, and there wasn’t time to put the bike back together.
I used Andres’ computer to e-mail my Spanish friend Marie Carmen who had just moved from Barcelona to Bogotá, and she came and met me at the shop and we went out to lunch together. It was lovely to catch up with my old friend, and we arranged to see each other later on in the evening. We said our goodbyes and I went off in search of a more suitable place to stay.
I checked out a couple of hostels before finding one with a lovely private double room, my first in months, in anticipation of Jacquie’s imminent arrival. Saturday night was a fairly quiet affair, Marie Carmen got herself invited to go see Depeche Mode in concert, I couldn’t get a ticket, so I hung around the hostel and chatted with other guests. We popped out together for a quick local drink, and returned to the hostel in time for a good night’s rest.

Sunday came, and I was somehow full of nerves. I had been alone for a couple of months, and although Jacquie and I had spoken frequently on skype, I was in a bit of a tizz about her arrival. I was really looking forward to seeing her, but also just a touch concerned about the loss of my absolute independence.
I spent the morning wondering around the flea market, pocking about in the heaps of junk that covered all the stalls, before heading into town to get the bus to the airport.
I arrived a good couple of hours early, as the Sunday schedule for the collectivos to the airport ended at 4pm, and Jacquie wasn’t due in ‘til 6. I could have taken a cab, but decided I didn’t have much else to do, and so elected to go early and wait around at the airport. I have always enjoyed hanging around airports anyway, its one of the best places to people watch, and there was bound to be a MacDonald’s where I could secretly spoil myself.
I kept an eye on Jacquie’s flight number and all seemed to be in order. I killed time until about 15 minutes before her plane was due to land, when I popped for to visit the toilet. When I emerged, I saw that Jacquie’s plane had landed. I rushed over to the plate glass where crowds of people were waiting to greet their loved ones, and tried to get a look at the passengers leaving the terminal.
I could barely see inside the terminal, and 5 planes had landed at the same time, so the terminal was full of arriving travelers. After an hour and still no sign of Jacquie, I started to panic. I found a security guard, who could only tell me what I already knew, that the plane had landed.
I quickly walked around the terminal to see if I had missed her and she was waiting for me elsewhere, but that was fruitless. I returned to the glass doors, and twenty minutes or so later, Jacquie appeared.
We hugged and kissed, before grabbing a cab and headed back to the city and our cozy private room for a proper catch up.


Some of the cool old remenants of American dependency ion the streets of Bogota

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bogotacentral plaza.jpg Bogota's central Plaza

We spent the next few days walking around Bogota,seeing the sights, and taking in the atmosphere. We picked the bike up on the 4th day, paid a whopping $1,000 for the work, then headed off, southward bound, together again.

Posted by Dan Shell at December 15, 2009 10:33 PM GMT

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