The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Watch your camera, this is a dangerous place!"

We've been trying to figure out our plan between now and the evening of December 14th when we fly back to Mexico City.

We're in Bogota now, but our flight leaves from Medellin. We had wanted to get up to Bucaramanga, but that's still 400 kms (250 miles) north of here and then it's not easy to get to Medellin from there. Buses don't go anywhere fast here!

And even to get from Bogota to Medellin is not easy. It's a 12 hour bus ride through two mountain ranges! No thanks. But what is a 12 hour bus ride is only a one hour flight. So I started looking at some of the Colombian discount airlines for a cheap flight. And I booked us one!

Bogota to Medellin on Copa Airlines for 70,000 pesos ($31.50 CAD) each on the evening of December 10th, a week from today. Nice!

So now we're going to leave Bogota on Saturday the 5th and take the bus to Villa de Leyva, a nice little town about 3 hours north of here and just relax. Then back to Bogota airport for the 10th, and then we'll have three full days to finish seeing the things in Medellin that we missed at the beginning of the trip.

Yesterday, we went to the Fernando Botero Museum. Botero is the world famous Colombian artist whose images and sculptures typically depict "fat" people.

Ruth, in the Botero Museum.

Interesting...?

Botero himself is not a fat man. He's now 83 years old and lives in Paris for 11 months of the year, returning to his hometown of Medellin for 1 month per year. Most of his paintings and sculptures have been donated to museums such as this, but when one sells on the private market it is often for more than one million dollars. Botero does okay for himself.

The sculpture area.

Okay then.

We liked his depiction of the 1983 Popoyan earthquake.

There were several other works by famous "artists" such as Pablo Picasso.

Sorry, not a Picasso fan. I think our 4 year old grandson Cameron could have done just as well!

Interesting museum, and worth a visit though. 

We went outside and simply walked around the downtown area.

Iglesia de San Francisco.

This little 400 year old church looks pretty non descript on the outside, but the inside is spectacular. Except....no photos allowed! So I had to steal one from the internet...

Wow.

These articulated buses are three sections long! And packed with people!

Another busy plaza.

Building mural.

Another mural.

Our wandering took us into a busy market area. We know that the markets are often not the safest places...a lot of pickpockets and "grab and run" types. But it was interesting, and we wanted some photos. In these situations, the bigger camera stays in the backpack and we simply use the little pocket camera.

Christmas stuff for sale.

Busy place!

As I was snapping the photo above, a local woman says to me (in English) "watch your camera, this is a dangerous place!". And we had already noticed two separate young people getting a little too close into our space. But sometimes we want photos of the real life in these countries, not just tourist stuff. But it's not a comfortable feeling. We got out of there...with our camera.

We went back to our room at the hostel and relaxed for a couple of hours.

Our room at Explora Hostel. They even make our bed every day. :-)

Dinner!

Then we went for an early dinner. Typical South American...lots of meat and not much in the way of veggies! Another good meal though...33,000 pesos ($14.50 CAD) for the two of us, tip and drinks included.

Today, we're doing a day trip to the town of Guasca, only about an hour away but rarely visited by tourists.

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For the price, this looks like a lot of fun!


And in Canada...




24 comments:

  1. You always have to be careful. A kid tried to make off with my Nikon in downtown Guadalajara after I too had been warned (in English as well) that the kid had been watching me. He grabbed it and tried to run but I crooked my arm and he wasn't going anywhere. He gave up when a couple of locals came running.

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    1. You are correct, you always have to be careful. Here in Bogota you have to be extra careful, a two block detour can put from a good area to a bad area! Unfortunately street crime in Bogota is rising and it has been rising steadily with a huge leap between 2012 and 2013. We have rarely used our bigger camera outside in public here in Bogota, mostly our smaller one.

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  2. I like the Botero paintings and sculptures. My friend traveled in South America alone when she was in her 20's and carried her expensive camera all the way around until someone stole it at the airport leaving for the US. She says it was on her shoulder, she took it off and set it down to do paper work and poof! it disappeared into the crowd....she never saw the person's face just the hand reach in and grab.

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    1. I like them too, some of them are a little on the weird side but some of them make me smile.

      We generally feel good about using our bigger camera when we are out in the country but depending on the city and the feel we get from it, we normally just use our little one. I am sure that many people have no problems walking around the more touristy part of town with their bigger camera out but why tempt faith.

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  3. You just never know when in those urban settings, glad you still have your camera.

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    1. Like anywhere you need to be careful!

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  4. Must be a good place to buy a used camera!

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    1. Lol, only if you are in the wrong part of city!

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  5. We can't get over the fab prices on your restaurant tabs which includes the tip. The one hour flight tix saving you a long bus ride is great, too. Noticed people in your photos wearing tees, jeans, sweats - just like us. We are enjoying this trip with you! Stay safe!!! ;)

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    1. Yes, the meals really are inexpensive but we sure are missing our home cooking!

      It's a great price for our flight, we may miss some beautiful scenery but we certainly won't miss that long bus ride.

      Yep, that is what most people wear, except for the business people who will dress up in suits and women in skirts and dresses. The women here LOVE their high heels, not sure how they manage to walk I them.

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  6. I think I recognized myself as one of the models in the Botero Museum!

    For the price of your air ticket I was expecting you would have to help pedal or flap your arms, but the reality is it seems Copa Airlines has a really modern fleet of planes with a very good safety record. You guys always seem to do your due diligence.

    Happy to hear Prednisone is to the rescue. Hope the healing continues.
    Stay safe!

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    1. Which painting or sculpture were you? ;-)

      Amazingly no, it's not a Flintstones type of flight. You are even allowed to check up to two bags at no extra charge!

      The Prednisone seems to be helping but Kevin hasn't slept well the last two nights he is still itchy. Hopefully, the itching will totally disappear before long.

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  7. Great photos, thanks for the tour to a city we will likely never visit. Hope your rash is continuing to improve.

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    1. It was our pleasure Contessa. After this visit, I doubt we will ever be back, Bogota hasn't really impressed us. We have enjoyed a few things about the city, mainly the Gold Museum but other than that we would give it a miss.

      We're hoping the rash continues to get better to.

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  8. Great tour! Glad you still have all your stuff:) One of the worst places we have been for pickpockets is Rome, they seemed to be everywhere.

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    1. We have heard that Rome is really bad for pickpocketing. Like anywhere though you need to be careful.

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  9. I used to work in a building in Minnesota that has a "Botero" outside on the sidewalk. Never thought in a million years that I would read about him in your blog!!! Wow. Small world. The word was that the owner of the building has the sculpture insured for over 1 million dollars.....

    I used the sculpture when giving directions to friends meeting me and picking me up.... "Just park by the 2 fat people hugging and I'll find you!" :-)

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    1. I think there are quite a few cities that have a Botero sculpture in them now. This is actually the third time this year that we have seen Botero sculptures, once in Monterrey, Mexico on the River Walk and then in the Botero Plaza in Medellin a month ago and then here in Bogota.

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  10. With almost 10 million people in the metro area, anything could be dangerous. Botero is adored in Colombia. I don't know if you're going to Cartagena but their Plaza de Armas en the Fuerte San Fernando de Bocachica has a wonderful plaza where you can have coffee and admire the statues of Botero.

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    1. We were hoping to go to Cartagena but we have run out of time, it will just have to wait for another visit, maybe when we drive down with you two. ;-)

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  11. I see the Christmas vendors have their goods displayed on the walks already! We saw a lot of that when we were in Punta Arenas, Chile two years ago. Then on Christmas Day, like magic, everything but the trash disappeared, as everyone was at home (or at Mass) enjoying the day. I'm always careful with my stuff, even here ... it just makes good sense.

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    1. We can't believe how much Christmas stuff is for sale here and it is all the same. I wonder what they sell after Christmas?

      Yes, you have to be careful even at home but definitely have to be even more vigilant here.

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