Beautiful Bogota

Now that I was reunited with my motorcycle, it was time to move locations to downtown Bogota to explore the city.

It was only a short ride to my new hotel, but it was unreal! For a year now I have been riding in hot and humid conditions. Bogota though was cool and with little humidity. It reminded me of riding back home in British Columbia, Canada. It was like the oppression of the heat and humidity was lifted and I was experiencing freedom again.

Hotel Abitare 56

I chose the Hotel Abitare 56 in Bogota to stay at.

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It was inexpensive and in the middle of everything. Well …. sort of. It was in the middle alright. Everything I wanted to see was either north or south of where I was.

But I got a room with a view.

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And my motorcycle was secure.

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Given that, as soon as I arrived I decided to head north to explore Parque de La 93.

Parque de La 93

As I walked to Parque de La 93 I came across a church I wanted to see as well – Nuestra Señora de Lourdes.

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As I kept walking I ran into something very familiar!

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Finally I reached the Park. It was a small park in the middle of an affluent embassy district. The park was surrounded by awesome restaurants with patios. And there were TWO Starbucks!

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There was obviously something taking place in the park as a huge stage was set up with lots of activity.

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Turns out it was an opera performance.

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I kept walking until I ran into a scary clown.

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Time to head home before dark 🙂

Monserrate

THe next day it was time for a long walk south to Monserrate. This is a mountain, I guess, that overlooks the city. You get up there by a funicular.

I was exhausted after the hour and a half walk. Bogota is quite high at 2,640 metres. It does make a difference. Of course being out of shape doesn’t help ha ha.

But I finally arrived.

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Got in line to buy tickets.

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Then I was ready to be pulled up the mountain.

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At the top there was more stairs to climb and now the elevation was really affecting me. There was even a sign warning people about it. However, the views were pretty spectacular.

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Of course lots of people were posing.

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And, like everywhere in latin america, there was a church up top.

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Across on the way on another mountain was a statue of Jesus.

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After getting a coffee I walked back down to the funicular another way. Along the path, were the Stations of the Cross.

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Back at the funicular it was time to head back down to explore the historical section of Bogota called La Candelaria.

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La Candelaria

Now I was exhausted from the elevation and long walk. I cheated and took a taxi to La Candelaria. The first stop was a walk to La Bolivar Plaza.

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The PLaza is surrounded by the Cathedral of Colombia, Courthouse Alfonso Reyes Echandia and Capitolio Nacional.

I kept walking around the old city.

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Until I happened upon the Teatro Colón Bogotá. I read about that and how beautiful it was inside.

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I booked a tour even though I was warned it would all be in Spanish. This place is really worth while to see. Amazingly beautiful.

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Palacio De Nariño

I have always been intrigued by politics. So one of my stops had to be Palacio De Nariño or the Presidential Palace of Colombia.

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Walk Back Home

By this time I had enough energy to walk back home 🙂

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Once home I looked up where I could have dinner. According to Tripadvisor, the 5th best restaurant in Bogota was just a couple blocks away – La Castana.

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They served awesome empanadas and natural lemon juice. A really informal place with couches and live music. Very cool.

Sunday NFL Football

The next day was Sunday. And you know what that means :-). I looked up where to watch the games and it looked like Hooters in Zona T was the place to go. Of course another long walk. But also a good chance to see another part of Bogota.

Like this church.

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Not sure what the significance of the dog is ha ha.

Zona T turned out to be another affluent spot in Bogota with all the name brand stores and lots of nice restaurants.

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But Hooters? It was a bust. I guess a pun was intended. They had the NFL on their TVs but were also playing really loud music. After a quick bite to eat I looked around for the NFL at other restaurants. But all of them had soccer of F1 on. So I decided to walk back home to watch the games on my computer.

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Tagging

The one thing really evident during my exploring of Bogota was the tagging and graffiti art. To me, the tagging means they have a significant gang problem in Bogota. When I Googled it I see that Bogota has 107 gangs! And people are really concerned about their increased activity. Here is a sample of the tagging I saw.

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Graffiti Art

At the same time there is some amazing graffiti art all over Bogota.

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And that was my time in Bogota. Next stop, Medellin.

My Route on October 20, 2017

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My Location on October 21 and 22, 2017

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Flying My Motorcycle to Colombia with Girag

Having done my sightseeing in Panama City, my number one priority became making arrangements for my motorcycle to fly to Colombia with Girag. Of course there was also the small matters of watching Sunday NFL football, getting my motorcycle serviced before heading out of the country, and a bonus, an unexpected visit from a classmate and friend of mine from Royal Roads University!

By the way …. it is still rainy season here 🙁

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Sunday NFL Football

One thing I love to do is get lost in NFL football all day Sunday, and Monday and Thursday nights. I love the buildup, drama, ups and downs, and the excitement when my teams win. It has been somewhat marred this year by people politicizing the game and then there is the head injury issue. Many choose to boycott the NFL because of them. I choose to ignore all of that for now and just enjoy the game. Not that I don’t have opinions on those subjects, but I’m not going to let those issues take away from my enjoyment. I have my own things I boycott ha ha.

It took a while of searching to find a place to watch the games. I figured somewhere around the Hard Rock Hotel there would be a spot and I was right.

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My spot.

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Motorcycle Servicing at Bavarian Motors

My little onboard computer said I needed a servicing in 500 km. Being the dutiful BMW motorcycle owner I am, I set out to Bavarian Motors.

Actually, regular maintenance is really important for me. I have next to no mechanical ability. For that reason, my best line of attack is to really take care of my motorcycle to prevent breakdowns the best I can.

Bavarian Motors was unique from what I have experienced in the past. Unique for a couple reasons. First, it seems to operate like an assembly line. I pulled up into a servicing lane behind a bunch of cars. Being a motorcycle, I was singled out.

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And being an English speaker, I was singled out again to talk to a person who spoke some English. He advised they would do the regular servicing and check everything for me. I was then escorted upstairs to another unique feature of Bavarian Motors. They basically have their own coffee shop that is free to customers!

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They had tables, couches, workstations and great wifi. So there I sat and wandered around until my motorcycle was ready. I was then escorted down to their downstairs lounge ha ha

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Quite the place. The servicing didn’t cost too much and I got a wash out of the deal too. However, as I rode away I remembered that I forgot to tell them about my right front signal light that wasn’t working. Crap! This light has been giving problems ever since I dropped the bike on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Oh well. Next time.

Meeting a Royal Roads University Friend

One highlight of my stay in Panama City was meeting Christa who I had gone to Royal Roads University with to get a Masters Degree in Human Security and Peacebuilding.

Funny that Christa lives in Edmonton and I live in Abbotsford. Yet we have never met as those places. It has been at school in Victoria, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was doing a field practice, and now in Panama where by coincidence she was taking a vacation with a friend while I was there.

The hardest thing about being on the road is not having friends to be with. Loneliness can creep in for sure. Even if you are an introvert like me. Soooooo is was very nice to have dinner with a friend. It made my evening for sure!

Girag Air Cargo Inquiry

Now for what I had been dreading …. how to get my motorcycle from Panama City to Colombia. I’m a big fan of Oisin Hughes. He has the best adventure motorcycle video series out there. I’ve watched it many times. When he got to Panama City he used Girag Air Cargo. Others also recommended Girag. So that was going to be my first attempt.

I rode out to the airport where Girag is located.

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To get there I ended up going through these toll booths again. I haven’t figured out how to pay yet, so I just keep riding around the gates. There is no one there and no place that I can see to deposit money. So far the police haven’t stopped me 🙂

Anyways, to get to Girag I also had to pass through a Customs road block at the entrance to the airport cargo facilities. I just said Girag and that I didn’t speak Spanish ha ha. They waved me through.

Once at Girag I spoke to a woman who didn’t speak English and ask if anyone there did. She got me her supervisor who spoke fluent English. YAY! For such an important event I didn’t trust using my Spanish to communicate.

What ended up happening was she took a copy of my passport, vehicle registration, and Panama Temporary Import Permit and told me to bring the motorcycle in on Monday and they would fly it out to Bogota, Colombia on Tuesday. It would cost just over $1000 US cash. Awesome!

Girag Air Cargo to Bogota Columbia

That next Monday I brought my motorcycle back to Girag. It all seemed too simple! I rode my motorcycle into their warehouse where they checked it over.

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Yup, that is another motorcycle flying out with mine. It belongs to Carlos from Brazil who I met at Girag as well. He had packed everything onto his bike. I had just put the bulky and heavy stuff in my panniers and bought a spare suitcase to put the other things in. In retrospect I could have put more on my motorcycle to save paying an overweight fee at the airport when I flew 🙁

Anyways … I paid my $1000 US and that was it!! All the paperwork had been completed already by Girag after I gave them my documents on my previous visit. Now I needed to find a way to get back to my hotel. Here Girag went the extra mile.

The English speaking Girag Supervisor asked one of her staff to drive me out of the complex to find a taxi. We drove out of the complex and attempted to get a taxi. But the drivers in the small town didn’t want to take me all the way into the city. So Girag drove me around until he found a taxi driver that would and negotiated the price for me. So nice.

I would definitely recommend Girag to anyone.

My motorcycle and I were now both flying to Bogota, Colombia, on Tuesday.

My Location from October 9 to 16, 2017

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My Route on October 17, 2017

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What is Sunday Football like at the Empty Pockets Saloon in Holbrook, Arizona?

Today I spent an fun afternoon at the Empty Pockets Saloon in Holbrook, Arizona, watching Sunday NFL football.

Where to Watch Sunday Football in Holbrook Arizona

Before I left Albuquerque I researched where I could watch Sunday football at my next destination, Holbrook, Arizona. I came up with the Mesa Grill and Sports Bar. Great! Off I went. I took the freeway only because I wanted to get there and watch as much football as I could 🙂

Holbrook Arizona

I got to Holbrook by noon. As I entered the town I got this Deja Vu feeling. I had been here before! In 2013 when doing a 6 month trip I had pulled in here to eat at the Taco Bell and fill up with gas!

I got to the Mesa Grill and Sports Bar. It was closed!!! What?!!! How could it call itself a sports bar on a Sunday during the NFL season?

I drove up and down looking for another place. I didn’t see anything. So I went to the KOA where I was going to stay and asked. The clerk suggested the Empty Pockets Saloon just down the street.

Empty Pockets Saloon

As I arrived I was a bit hesitant. It looked a bit run down.

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I went in anyways. The inside was like the outside. There were a couple of pool tables, a juke box, some old table and a bar. But there was football on! I stayed.

This placed turned out to be awesome! OK … you may not believe this, but draft Bud Light was $1.75! And if you believe that then you may not believe this. They had free food!!! At one end of the saloon was a table with nachos, chili, hot dogs and watermelon. It was all free for as much as you wanted.

There I was, drinking $1.75 beer, eating free nachos and bean dip, and watching Sunday football.

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I sat beside a nice woman from the Navajo Nation, Lana, who was in town visiting. We had a nice conversation and enjoyed the games. Of course everyone was interested in the Arizona Cardinals game. I would have liked to seen Seattle, but it was just as well as the Seattle game looked like it was pretty boring from the highlights.

Later in the afternoon Lana’s friend arrived. He had been competing at the Holbrook Rodeo. While we watched football, he got a call and found out a company wanted to sponsor him. He was ecstatic! I love it when people get what they want and achieve their dreams.

KOA Holbrook

By the evening I settled into my KOA campsite. It was another mostly dirt KOA, but there was grass for tents. I sat and watched the sun set. Really relaxing.

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It turned out to be a great day 🙂

My Route for September 18, 2016

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First Sunday of the NFL Season in Austin Texas

It is Sunday, September 11, 2016, and it is the first Sunday of the new NFL season. My goal was to find a good bar I could watch it at.

Tally Ho

Normally, back home in Victoria, I would be up early and walking to the Tally Ho Sports Bar to be first in. They always had a cheap breakfast buffet where I would load up on bacon and eggs. The feature game was always the Seahawks. If they weren’t playing at the time, the winner of the last draw got the couch in front of the big screen and got to choose the game. The featured game sound was always turned up.

I had my regular seat and Jessica always served me. She always greeted me by name when I walked in. By 4 or 5 pm I would leave to watch the night game at home. Those were my happy days.

Where would I go now? No one would know my name.

The Tavern

I did some research and chose The Tavern to go to. It was suppose to have lots of TVs. There was free parking for my motorcycle. The food menu looked good and cheap 🙂 And there was a history to it.

According to their website, in 1916, just four short years before the Prohibition era began, R. Niles Graham hired first generation Austin resident Hug Kuehne to design a grocery – a fabulous one of a kind space to provide food, dry goods and sundries to the 30, 000 people living in Austin at the time. Kuehne, who went on to design many other iconic Austin establishments, brought the building plans from his native Germany and modeled the store after the public house popular throughout Europe. The Enfield Grocery Store operated until 1929 before moving next door and making room for the steakhouse that would one day become The Tavern. Legend has it that a popular yet secretive speakeasy & brothel operated on the second story of the building and that a former employee still haunts the second floor!

In 1933, after that terrible Prohibition, The Tavern was officially born and has been serving up good times ever since! Few other Austin gathering places have been home to so many students, soldiers, legislators, presidents, and our town’s general citizenry as The Tavern. Current management has given this old beauty a face lift with high definition displays, facility upgrades and an attention to detail that continues the tradition of this Austin Landmark as a defining part of our unique cultural identity.

Sunday Football and Writing

I spent the day at The Tavern watching football, eating nachos and drinking beer, and writing my daily journals. It was no Tally Ho but it was good. The Texas teams were featured and not the Seahawks. No big screen TV. The Tally Ho has 2! But it was a good day.

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Starbucks

After a while I migrated to Starbucks only to be kicked out shortly thereafter at 6 pm! I couldn’t believe a Starbucks would close at 6. That wouldn’t happen on the west coast 🙂

Home

It was time to head “home.” Yes, my Airbnb was feeling like home.

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My Location for September 11, 2016

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First Game of the NFL Season

One of the reasons I decided to stay an extra day in Huntsville was that there was a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings where there were lots of big screen TVs to watch the first game of the NFL football season.

Starbucks

As many of you know, and others have guessed by now, I am a fan of Starbucks. It all started in 1993 when I was seconded to the BC Police Commission in Vancouver to re-write audit standards by which police departments would be audited.

At the street level of the office was one of the first Starbucks in Vancouver. Now there is a quadzillion of them 🙂

I fell in love with the Mocha ha ha.

Since then, where ever I have been in the world, Starbucks has been my home away from home. I am not really a big coffee drinker. Just one a day. But it is more the atmosphere or the feeling of home that I like.

Today was no different.

I went to Starbucks in Huntsville, Texas, with plans to work on my website. First, however, I needed to plan where I was going tomorrow. Most of the things I wanted to do in Texas were located in Austin. Now I needed to find a place to stay there. Everything was so expensive. Time to search Airbnb.

Airbnb

I searched and searched for an Airbnb I thought I would feel comfortable in. This would be a stretching experience for me, that is staying in someone else’s home. A stranger’s home no less. I looked at the pictures, read reviews, checked google maps, and compared and analyzed. It took forever to pick one. At $63 CDN a night it was over my budget for sure. But still way cheaper than any other option in Austin that I could find. I could have gone cheaper if I wanted to stay in someone’s tent in their back yard ha ha.

I booked an Airbnb for 4 nights – yikes!

Texas Longhorns

There is lots to do in Austin. One of them is to see a Texas Longhorns game. Luckily, they were playing at home while I would be in Austin. Unlike a Canadian University football game, tickets are expensive. Of course, this is a totally different experience. I finally bought a ticket on StubHub for $86 USD. It was on the lower bowl at the 20 yard line.

I like to get good tickets when seeing a game. Otherwise I may as well watch it on TV.

I started doing this at 9 am in the morning. It was now 5 pm!!! I have no idea where the time went. I never did get around to working on my website.

Buffalo Wild Wings

It was time to make my way to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the first game of the NFL season.

I didn’t know anything about Buffalo wild Wings until my youngest son, Nick, and I went to a Portland Trailblazers game. Before the game we wanted to watch some college basketball and just stumbled upon a Buffalo Wild Wings in Portland. It was great! So many big screen TVs.

I was sure it would be the same here in Huntsville. And it was.

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I perched myself on a high table, and proceeded to drink and eat my way through a great game. That is if you were a Denver Bronco fan.

My Route for September 8, 2016

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