Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A 20 hour transportation marathon...part 1

We are happily back with Sherman (our motorhome) in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, after a 20 hour transportation marathon from Medellin, Colombia.

We left our couchsurfing host Andrea's house at 4:00pm on Monday. The Medellin international airport is located about about 50 kms (30 miles) outside of central Medellin, and we were leaving during rush hour traffic. We could have waited until the traffic subsided, but the area where you have to get the bus from is a bit sketchy and we didn't want to do it after dark.

One of our reader's, Chris, had asked about Andrea's house. It's a rental row unit, in the hills high above Medellin. Both of them are still going to school and working, and paying high rent just now is not a priority. This is actually a fairly big place, with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms for which they pay about 470,000 pesos ($207 CAD) per month.

Andrea and Herber's cats.

The front entrance.

Typical row housing.

You can rent a really nice apartment in Medellin for about 1,000,000 pesos ($440 CAD) per month. That's about what many expats who live there spend. Very cheap cost of living for expats.

Our flight from Medellin to Mexico City didn't depart until 1:00am Tuesday, so we knew we had lots of time.

We could have taken a bus from Andrea's to downtown, but with the bags we just figured it would be easier with a taxi. Besides, we had Colombian cash left over and wouldn't get a very good exchange rate for it, so might as well use it up!

The taxi driver was nuts. I can't believe we made it downtown without hitting something, or someone! He was more interested in the fact that we were from Canada and wanted to talk to us about it. Driving, he would pretty much turn right around and try to talk to us. Um, buddy...the guy in charge of the steering wheel needs to keep his eyes on the road! And, a heavy foot on both the gas and the brake pedals. Ruth actually asked him if his name was Mario. As in Mario Andretti. Too funny.

Ruth did parts of that ride with her eyes closed. My eyes went wide a couple of times. Yikes.

But, we made it downtown. And traffic was at a standstill. So we paid 10,000 pesos ($4.40 CAN) to Mario, and walked the last half a kilometer.

The airport buses line up behind the Hotel Nutibara in a dirty section of downtown. Beggars, prostitutes...not nice. That's why we wanted to get there before dark. The buses leave when the seats are pretty much taken up. Our timing was great, and when we got on, the bus departed.

Again, it was rush hour traffic and we took a long time just getting out of the city. Normally about a 45 minute ride to the airport, we arrived in just under two hours. Paid the 9,000 pesos ($4.00 CAD) each, and wandered around for a bit. We had some time to waste and we couldn't check our bags for a couple of hours until the AeroMexico counter opened.

The airport has free wifi, but just like Bogota airport it was terrible. Fortunately we had some bonus megabytes on the Colombian Claro SIM card in the iPhone and so we turned on the iPhone hotspot and had good internet for that evening.

Medellin airport. Notice the decorative cable cars hanging from the roof.

Went upstairs to the food court and had some dinner. Of course airport food is typically way overpriced and Medllin airport is no different than any other. However, I found one food stand that did typical Colombian food and they had a back section where airport employees ate. And reasonable prices! I bought arepa con pollo...something like a small pizza with chicken, and some chorizo sausage and french fries. With a beer and an orange juice it came to 19,000 pesos ($8.36 CAD)...not bad. Went back later and bought another beer and a small bottle of wine for Ruth. Gotta use up some of those left over Colombian pesos!

Eventually, the AeroMexico checkin booth opened. Not busy though, and we checked our two larger bags. Could probably have taken them as carry on, but we wouldn't be in a rush arriving in Mexico City so no problem waiting for them at the carousel there.

Went through security and to the gate. Didn't start boarding until about 12:30am, so we thought we would be late leaving, but sure enough we pulled away at 1:00am with the plane about 3/4 full. We lucked out with an empty seat in our row.

Heading back to Mexico and our motorhome! Stay tuned for part 2 later today!

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I never buy expensive sunglasses, but at this price I could be tempted!

Ray-Ban  0RB3454L Aviator Sunglasses, Gunmetal, 65 mm

Says they even ship to Canada.



12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Enjoyed our time in Colombia but definitely looking forward to getting back to Sherman.

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  2. Gonna be great to take it easy for a while now.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we are really looking forward to relaxing for a bit!

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  3. Wow cost of living is cheap in Colombia....my only problem would be the language barrier...no speaky the Spanial or is it no abla espaniol?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, cost of living is pretty good in Colombia. They have Spanish classes! Having said that we thought our Spanish wasn't that bad but once we got to Colombia we really had a hard time understanding them. The different Spanish dialect is very difficult for us to understand and we really felt lost at times. Here in Mexico were are understanding the Spanish again. Very odd!

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  4. Thanks Kevin, that's the part I like to know about. How do the locals live. Wow, cheap rent even for the foreigners. Why retire in the U.S. when there is so much to see in the world and do it cheaply at the same time. Looks like you had a great experience and I bet you're happy to be back home.

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    Replies
    1. We wouldn't hesitate to retire in Colombia, the scenery is beautiful, people are friendly and prices are great but the food is what would stop us. We love to have spicy food and that is really hard to find there, if I knew that we could get certain foods sent to us regularly we wouldn't hesitate to move there but to be totally honest, Mexico still has our hearts! :-)

      Yes, we are totally happy to be back "home"!

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  5. It seems that there is an implied law to WIFI-if it is free it is not very good:(

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    1. I have to agree with you for the most part. We actually did have very good internet at most of the places that we stayed while in Colombia, the worst was at the Bogota and Medellin airports. Right now, I am on a free WiFi signal and it is working great. :-)

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  6. Did you hear that the contestant from Colombia won the Miss Universe pageant? They are surely proud.

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    Replies
    1. She actually won the pageant for 2014, and will be handing over the crown to the new contestant tomorrow night in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. Still I am sure they were very proud when she did win. There are many beautiful women there!

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