Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A 10-hour overnight bus and a hop away from Santa Marta is Bucarmanga. Wicked awesome name.. unfortunately the city didn't live up to the awesomeness of the name. Initial thoughts: boring, BIG city, super clean, very well put together, no collectivos (I was actually sad at this fact), everyone seems to have a job or someplace to be or someplace to study.
The people of the city were super nice, you could tell they were super educated though and did not seem too overly friendly. I felt extremely safe in this city.. and only got upset when I thought a guy was trying to convince me to take a taxi rather than a collectivo, he kept saying "No collectivo, No collectivo, taxi".. I said "Autobus?" and he said "Aaahh, si!". Wooh, okay. I get to save a bit of money there. I seem to really like the idea of the collectivos though, the dirty, breezy, getting to know your neighbor really well because you can feel their sweat on your arm kind of feeling. So, I took the bus.. and holler, I made it to my destination.
With my horrid sense of direction, it's amazing that I made it on my own! The maps that are given in the Lonely Planet and on the business card for the hostel I was headed to were crap.. but survivable. The lady at the hostel found it crazy that I wouldn't take a taxi.. hello lady, it saved me about $7! I came to this city solely to do paragliding, as it was on my way to San Gil, it was the perfect stop! However, it is possible to do paragliding IN San Gil.. so if you're going to be there anyways I would recommend paying the $5-10 extra and do it there!! It would save a lot of hassle!!
On to the star of the show: PARAGLIDING! First time ever, completely loved it, felt quite a bit nauseas.. but no spills aboard.. or offboard! I was super surprised all they asked me for was my name and birthdate, no briefing beforehand, I paid $20US, they just strapped me up and off I went. It wasn't until my feet were off of the ground and I was flying in the air by a parachute that I realized no one told me how to land!! We were only up for 15-minutes, and at the 2-minute until the end mark the guy decides to inform me how to land. Piece of cake though, all he said was to keep your legs up.. so holllleeerrr, he got to do all the work. We touched down and I sat on his lap a bit while they unhooked me, great to meet him!
One crazy thought while I was up in the air... if someone wanted to kill themselves, it would be a great way to go out by unlatching everything from the tandem and down ya go. Morbid I know, but when wondering whether you're about to fall to your death or not because your life is in someone else's hands makes you think strange ways! I was hanging out with a guy from Texas, who was absolutely insane. And he kept telling me his ideas for paragliding.. like dropping water balloons on other paragliders, dropping marbles onto cars, paintball.. the list on and on, his ADD-ness made me so happy!!
P.S. if you find yourself in Bucaramanga, Sabor Nativo is an Ace restaurant!! Best I've eaten at since I've been in Colombia.. ask Casa Guane Hostel how to get there... since it is pretty much the only hostel to choose from in the city (lame and overrated) I'm sure you'll wind up there
Blogger is being dumb and taking decades to upload the video of paragliding in Bucaramanga. You can find it on my Facebook!