Sunday, February 04, 2018

Final: Day 5: Cali to Medellin

I wake up, look out, and see morning traffic in Cali.

It's Wednesday morning and I have been riding buses since Sunday night. I am seriously ripe. I consider taking the day off and riding again tomorrow. But I mustn't. I have to keep pushing. So I feed myself a cup of soup at the Cali bus station. In retrospect, I firmly believe this soup ruined me the following day. But for now, it's my first hot meal in three full days.

I take a bus from Cali to Medellin. The nine hour ride ends up being more like eleven. For the first half of the trip, it's straight and smooth across ranch country. The second half is slow and twisty. The scenery is right out of 1980s Nightline stock footage about the Colombian cocaine trade. There are Daihatsu Tafts everywhere.

Our dinner break is at a random village. Cali and Medellin each has 2.5 million inhabitants, and this narrow two-lane "highway" is the only route that connects the cities. How does meaningful commerce even happen?

While everyone is eating, I walk around. Here is our bus.

Every mountain village has one of these Virgin Mary statuettes protecting everyone.

We don't get to the Medellin bus station until 10 p.m. I didn't realized how tired I was. I didn't realize how hungry I was (my only meal all day was that morning cup of soup). I didn't realize how weak my legs were from days of inactivity. I realized it when I got my bag from the bus's luggage compartment and stepped up onto the too-high curb.


I trip and fall flat on my face onto the unforgiving concrete. I deal with injuries at work every day, so I've seen all the possible injuries from falls-- torn rotator cuffs, compound wrist fractures, etc. A small crowd rushes to me and asks me if I'm okay. I look over my body for blood and deformities. None. I pat myself all over. I'm fine. I know I'm exhausted and can't think clearly. I need to get to my hotel, rest, and re-evaluate myself tomorrow morning.

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