Monday, November 29, 2010

On the move to Medellin....

Once Roger got the go ahead to move the drilling division to Medellin, we packed our bags, rented a car and headed north.  But as in most things, it wasn't quite that simple.

The night before we left we took Cesar, the PetroTiger warehouse manager and a friend, Lina, out for dinner to a wonderful Colombian restaurant.  We had a late start as I decided to leave my purse in the apartment, and in it, were the keys.  You know that horrible feeling when you realize what you've done?  Fortunately the guard called a service and within 25 minutes and after paying $45 (Cesar and Lina were horrified we were charged "gringo" prices) we were on our way.

The waiters form a choir and sing some Colombian songs throughout the evening.

The rental car was delivered in the middle of the night to our apartment, and we never talked to the rental company about simple how to start the car.  We spent 2 hours trying to figure out the security system to start the car!  We had Luis, the apartment security guard reading the manual with no luck, then Roger called Cesar who then called the poor guy in Procurement who rented the car for us --- he actually came over and spent an hour trying and eventually figured it out! 

Luis, one of my favourite guards, bid us goodbye
Who knew the most challenging part this trip was just trying to get out of the garage!

Once on the road, and out of the traffic chaos of Bogota, we immediately started to climb.  For most of the 445 kms, double lines would seemingly prompt drivers to not pass --- no way.  It was every man for themselves on the no-shoulder 2 lane roads.  Our GPS route looked more like scan of a GI tract with its twists and turns.

The GPS worked really well and gave us a peak into what the roads were going to look like up ahead.

Taking pictures out of a moving car window didn't do the scenery justice, but there were no safe roadside turnouts.  The lush countryside reminded me of Ireland.

The traffic was pretty bad on our first day --- at times up to
100 transport trucks were stopped on the side of the road making it
even more challenging to navigate.  Roger, of course, enjoyed the challenge.

The trip to Medellin should only be done in daylight, so we stopped in a small town called Honda.

It was pouring rain when I took this shot.  Look at the 4 young men lying on top of the tarp.
When the transport drivers stop to sleep, they hang their hammock underneath their rig.
A landslide being cleaned up
We were far more concerned of potential landslides than any FARC encounter!
There are 50,000 traffic fatalities annually in Colombia. 
This is a typical roadside shrine with headlights as part of the artifacts.
Who knew we were so close to Brad and Anette in San Francisco?!?
Medellin is very beauty conscious -- and we've been told the "boob enhancement" capital of South America!  We laughed at this store that sells girdles --- to women AND men!

Medellin is supposed to be absolutely incredible at Christmas so we will be checking out the lights.  Stay tuned for more photos this week!

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again -
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way.
                                                                                       Willie Nelson


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