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Colombia

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Why Did the Farmer Cross the Road?Back home again! And even a week early, as it turned out. We weren’t due back until May 8 but then those crazy Colombian farmers decided to go on strike – chanting discontentedly and waving around poorly spelled signs like angry workers anywhere in the world. The difference with a farmer strike is that at the time it’s happening, well, nobody really cares. So in order to get attention they needed to set up road blocks and do their mischievous best to disrupt the entire transportation system. Which is where we come in. All of a sudden we literally couldn’t get from San Gil to any of the other places we were planning to visit during our final week in South America. So, after some long discussions with bus station employees, much confusing map pointing, and a few phone calls to various parts of…

Over the years we have spent Easter in a number of different Latin American locations and while all have been fascinating and unique in their own way, they all share a few common traits, such as solemn Catholic services, wildly marauding children and impressive feats of alcoholism. So having chosen to pass Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Colombia this time around we knew it was bound to be lively and interesting. The only question was what would it be particularly memorable for? Decorating the city from head to toe in religious garb and unsettling photos of Jesus looking condemning? Intricately colourful street carpets of rice and sawdust? Carrying carefully sculpted likenesses of deities to and from the largest cathedral in town? Would they spend basically all their time either at Mass, going to Mass, coming from Mass, or thinking about ways their children embarrassed them during Mass? Not to mention…

In an abrupt departure from our recent time in the cool, rainy Ecuadoran highlands we are currently in the sweltering Caribbean port city of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. For a number of reasons, not the least of which was at least some semblance of sanity, we opted against subjecting ourselves to a series of bus journeys that would have worked out to around 54 hours, instead taking two quick flights, suddenly finding ourselves deposited in front of a tall, somewhat dated, apartment building on a hectic street lined with restaurants and tiendas, taxis and boat tour touts, honking buses and roving sellers of sunglasses. On the back side of the building was a narrow strip of beach looking out onto Cartagena Bay and Isla de Tierrabomba (Land Mine Island – sounds awesome). Following three full months on the move we decided we needed to change up our routine a bit…

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