Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Hilton, it is not...

We stayed at the Explora Hostel in the big city of Bogota for seven nights. The hostel itself was great, but seven days in Bogota was about five days too many. It's a big, busy, dirty city, in our opinion. Some may enjoy the "art" that adorns almost every empty space of exterior wall, but to us, it was just a mess.

Bogota, we gave you a chance, but first impressions rang true. You are not for us!

The original reason we stayed longer than we wanted was to make sure Kevin's skin rash problem was under control. Then, we waited too long to make reservations elsewhere and didn't want to travel too far from Bogota knowing that we have to return on Thursday the 10th in order to fly to Medellin.

So when we were in the little town of Guasca the other day, we thought we might like to return. But there is no reservable accommodation there. We asked a police officer if there was a hotel in town, and he had directed us to a guest house. The lady there didn't seem very friendly, but she said that she had a room with private bathroom for 50,000 pesos ($22.50 CAD) a night.

Yesterday, we knew we had had enough of Bogota, so we packed up and took a taxi to the bus terminal to Guasca. About an hour on the bus, and we got off right at the guest house. But this time the bitchy lady asked how long we wanted to stay, then proceeded to tell us that she had no room for us.

Hmm. Now what?

Stranded in the town of Guasca, Colombia with nowhere to stay!

We walked with our bags to the main street and started asking some of the locals. One of them directed us to a nearby restaurant where we saw the word "hospedaje"...which is essentially "room for rent".

Ruth waited outside and I went in and spoke to the big friendly lady. What a change in attitude compared to the other woman. Anyhow, she asked if we wanted the room "just for the night", or for the daytime too. Hmm.

I said that we might stay two or three nights and she said it would be 60,000 pesos ($27.00 CAD) per night. We were led upstairs and sure enough it's a tiny little cubicle, but with a private toilet and shower. Not ideal, and as I said it's above a restaurant so it's a little noisy.

It's not the Hilton, that's for sure. In fact it's probably the worst room that we've had since we've been in Colombia...but at least we're not stuck!

And, it's also the first time that we've had no wifi. Using the connection from the iPhone and it's an old 3G cell signal that comes and goes...so no many photos for you all today.

The restaurant was fairly busy, so we went down there for mid afternoon meal. Typical bowl of soup (with some kind of strange meat in it) and plate of rice, beans, potato, cooked cucumber, and a small piece of fried chicken. With a beer and lemonade, the bill was 15,000 pesos ($6.75 CAD) for the two of us. Not great, but we had full stomachs for a very cheap price.

We went to a grocery store nearby and bought some snacks for the evening. And a bottle of apple wine and a tetrapack of aguardiente. But then we didn't have any glasses! So we bought a couple of yogurts and used the empty yogurt container as our wine and drink glasses! You do what you have to do, right?!

Being budget travelers, we have sometimes put up with what even we consider to be substandard accommodation for a night or two. It's all part of the game if you want to travel the world.

Colombia has been interesting, but...we admit that we are missing Mexico and our motorhome. One week to go.

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22 comments:

  1. What an innovative solution with the yogurt cups! I'm going to remember that for future reference. I am impressed (as well as appreciative) by how you manage to post with such frequency while on the road...

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    1. It was funny as we were standing in the grocery store with a couple of plastic cups in hand, I looked down to see the other items I was holding and that is when I realized that the yogurt containers were about the same size and I decided that they would work perfectly once they were emptied, so I put the plastic cups back on the shelf and saved ourselves a couple of dollars.

      Kevin has just gotten into the habit of posting daily and most of the time we are able to do this. We always buy a cellular data package when we are in another country so that if we don't have WiFi access then we can almost always use our cellular access. There is always the odd time when we just don't have access to either because we are way out in the boonies.

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  2. You two have always adapted - so proud of you! We have enjoyed this trip but agree we are missing Sherman & Mexico, too! B&C

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    1. When you are travelling on a budget you have to be adaptable! That is part of the fun.

      One week today will will be back with him and looking forward to it, even though we have really been enjoying our time here in Colombia.

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  3. What an adventure, more daring than I would be. I just resently started following you both. Safe travels.

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    1. Yes it is an adventure whenever you are in a different country. Other than watching out for pickpocketers in the big city we haven't found it to be dangerous in any way mind you we stay away from the areas where the FARC are. Glad that you have been enjoying our travels.

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  4. Every since you left Medellin, I sensed a forbiddance to move round. I don't like Bogota too....I think Braille or Argentine might have been a better visit. Yes you do have to be inventive while traveling. I travel with an REI multi-use spoon and cup with screw on lid as well as a nylon sleeping sack (folds into a tiny sack)...I've never had any complaints taking it aboard an airline. For sanitation, I carry dry wipes in a container that fits into luggage nicely...I use it for sponge baths. You pour a tiny bit of water onto the cloth and it soaps up...no rinse necessary. My first time into Mexico back in the 70's, I didn't think I'd like the food so I packed containers of military ration I bought at the army surplus store...work wonderful because after a while I couldn't stand the oil they were using to cook foods....had a weird after taste. Anyway, been there done doing what you gotta do. Too bad no couch surfers in the area...it would have been nice to meet up with locals and have them show you around too. I miss Mexico too.

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    1. Nope, we have felt that we have a lot of space to move around, it is only in the big cities that you need to be more careful (market areas especially) and even then you are fine as long as you don't carry very much money, no camera, no cell phone or jewellry and you should have no problems. In the country we feel totally fine. Even in Brazil and Argentina you still have to follow the same precautions in the big cities. We had friends who had her purse taken right off her as she came out of a store in Argentina, her husband went running after the theif and ended up catching him but not before the guy cut his hand badly with a knife.

      We always carry two sets of plastic knives, forks and spoons with us when we travel just because they don't take up much room but have never travelled with a mug although we always have a water bottle with us. We don't carry extra food with us, just because we carry our luggage on to the airplane with us so that type of stuff gets heavy. We always manage with the food in that country one way or another.

      There are couchsurfers in the area but none that we felt suited us. Most are very young people where we would have to literally sleep on the couch or floor, which definitely isn't for us. We have enjoyed our time here but really looking forward to being back in Sherman in our own bed and making our own food.:-)

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  5. Ha ha, I'd drink from the bottle as there would be nothing left to keep if those were my experiences!! Thanks for keeping your traveling experiences real - I look forward to each and every post.

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    1. The room really isn't that bad but it is not that greatest either. It is clean and that is the main thing and the lady looking after the place is really nice and cheery compared to the sour lady at the other place. Luckily we don't spend a lot of time in our room during the day. It is worth it to be out of the dirty, noisy city and in the nice fresh country air along with the beautiful scenery.

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  6. There is always a way to get by.
    Whenever we are away from our coach we sure miss it.
    Can relate to you wanting to get back home.

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    1. Yes, we are really looking forward to getting back "home" again! :-)

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  7. Great thinking on the yogurt cups. You gotta do what you gotta do and a little bit of wine comfort sounds like it was necessary under the circumstances.

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    1. Those yogurt containers have been working out fine.

      We keep laughing when we head back to our room that we are heading back to our "cell". :-)

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  8. I guess it can't all be roses and sunshine, how long are you planning on staying there? I guess only a couple of nights anyway, you have to start making your way home soon. Already planned the next escape?

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    1. Nope, you are right, travelling is definitely not all roses and sunshine but it is what you do with the not so good times that makes the difference between a good experience and a bad one. We try to look on the bright side of things. We will stay here for the full 4 days.

      We head back to Medellin on Thursday night via the airplane then will stay in Medellin until Monday night when we will catch our very early morning flight back to Mexico City. Should be back to Sherman around noon next Tuesday.

      Nothing planned yet but Kevin is always on the look out for a good flight deal.

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  9. Nice to see you're recycling! How'd the wine taste in the yogurt cup? Did it have enough room to breathe? :cD

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    1. We always recycle! It tasted the same as it would out of a wine glass, mind you we aren't drinking quality wine either. ;-)

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  10. Love the reused yogurt cups but cooked cucumber?

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    1. The cooked cucumber didn't tast too bad sort of reminded me of cooked cabbage.

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  11. Fascinating! What is aguardiente? Love the yogurt cup idea. Very MacGuyver!

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    1. Aguardiente is the local popular liquor in Colombia. It has an anise taste to it and is about 30% alcohol.

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