We left mid day from mompos starting with a one hour taxi ride. Hot, dusty, and bumpy...not our favorite, but it's the only way to begin and end a journey to mompos since it is so hard to reach. The taxi takes us to Bodega, a small village on the muddy banks of the river where we wait for our lancha, which is a small boat, to take us on the one hour journey to Mangangue. We waited for over an hour for the lancha to fill up, it leaves when full, s that could be anytime! There is no way to know how long you will wait for that to happen. At home, a boat like this would only allow 10 people on it by law, that's how many seats there are. But here in Colombia is doesn't matter how many seats there are, but how many people can fit on a seat that determines the fullness of the boat. In this case the boat could hold twenty people. At least there were life jackets, for half of the people anyway!
So the lancha ride was quite thrilling. But the arrival in the horrible river port town of Mangangue was wretched. The moment we docked touts surrounded us shouting offeres of rides to various cities, we had to fight them off from carrying our packs off the boat, because once they get a bag in their hands they consider you their customer. Touts are annoying ands best to ignore them and to even look at or acknowledge them.
We make our way by foot three blocks to the bus station only to find out that the overnight bus to Medellin is full. We look around and know that we absolutely positively cannot stay the night is this seedy port town and for a moment I have no idea what to do. The bus ticket counter guy suggests we take a taxi to Sincelejo, about an hour away, and get a bus in the morning.
Ok, so Sincelejo is on our map, but not in our guide book so I have no idea where the heck we would even think of staying once we reach there. But I think the guy can tell we are a bit freaked, and it's obvious to him that this family cannot be safe in this gutter of a town for the night. So on a gut feeing we take his advice and hop in a car to Sincelejo.
Upon arrival at the bus station we learn that there are seats on the 8:30 pm overnight bus to Medellin. We get tickets and spend the next few hours in the bus station exploring street food and eating candy. What a relief to know that we are getting out of the hot lowlands, which are darning our energy and making all of us in bad moods.
I start to notice that all of the southbound travelers have coats and blankets...
And I remember reading that overnight buses are famously cold. Well I feel secure I that we all have a long sleeve shirt and the two sarongs I always travel with that I got in Thailand twenty years ago. That'll be fine I think.
You can guess what happened after about one hour into our twelve hour journey. We were no longer traveling on a bus, but in meat locker. The bus was so damn cold it was unbelievable. I sat with maya and we had to be huddled together just to stay warm. Luis and I didn't sleep barely an hour that long miserable night.
But we finally arrived at the northern bus terminal in Medellin, cold, tired, hungry, but pleasantly surprised at the huge and modern and easy to navigate bus station. We easily found a bus company going to Santa fe de Antioquia, which would be another two hours or so away. We bought tickets and hopped on a bus thirty minutes later.
This post is getting long, but I thought it would be interesting to describe the many forms of transport, the difficulty, and the time it took (24 hours) to get to this little colonial town. More on this place in another post.