Pasto, Colombia, South America
I woke up this morning after getting about 4-5 hours of sleep on the bus. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s nice that my bus was direct from Bogota to Pasto, because it’s so annoying when you have a bus that is continually stopping to drop people off and pick people up. The only thing that woke me up was the coldness on the bus sometimes. They put the A/C up so high that it is freezing on the bus. At least this time I was prepared and kept my jacket with me, which I did need. On the bus from Cartagena to Medillin I didn’t know it was going to be so cold, so I had nothing except my short sleeve t-shirt. That wasn’t smart.
I was surprised to see that the landscape looked pretty similar to the north with lots of big mountains and valleys. It was just a lot dryer down here. There wasn’t much greenery, it was mostly brown, so not as pleasant looking as the north had been. We ended up getting to Pasto at about 5pm, so it was about a 19.5 hour bus ride after all. It sounds a lot worse than it was though. I really didn’t mind it. That ride seemed easier to me than the eight hour ride from Armenia to Bogota. At least these roads were straight enough at times to allow for some sleep.
I walked from the bus terminal in Pasto to my Hotel Venecia Confort. The hotel is nice, but the town is not. There is construction everywhere and there seem to be a lot of prostitutes on the street. I’ve heard that this is quite a big business in Colombia, but this is actually the first place I’ve seen it in person. I’ve not been to another city before and seen a car drive up, a girl in a ridiculously short skirt walk over, say about six words, and then get in the car. Apparently it’s legal here though, so I’m just surprised I haven’t seen more of it.
I went for dinner at a little restaurant just next to the hotel and as soon as I sat down and ordered my food, a Colombian guy came over and invited me to sit with him. He spoke English well enough to have a conversation, and I told him I was trying to learn Spanish as well. He spoke to me in English and encouraged me to speak to him in Spanish, so that was really nice. We had a good meal and chatted for a while. When I asked for the bill he said not to worry about it and he wanted to pay for me. What a nice guy! This is so indicative of how nice Colombian people are. Hopefully I run into more people like Alvaro on my future journeys. It’s so nice to meet good people on the road, and I’ve had very good luck with that so far.