As I prowled the one and only mean street of Sibundoy I spotted a stall selling really big juicy looking salchichas (sausages) and I simply had to have one. Thus I spent the following day writhing around in bed in a windowless room with a dodgy stomach and a fever. Thankfully after a cocktail of drugs and copious amounts of water I sweated it all out and the next morning I was feeling fresh and raring to go.
I’m not some fanatical fan of Miyazaki movies but, as was the case with El Hobo earlier in the trip, when I saw the name Totoro on the map I felt it was my duty to visit. So, after a couple of hours of bumpy roads I rolled into what turned out to be (surprise surprise) a very typical Colombian village. Not a catbus, nor even any catbus graffiti in sight. After some salchipapa and a surprisingly decent piece of fried chicken I went on my way.
If there was one section of Colombia that slightly worried me it was this: riding through the corridor between Palmira and Cali, respectively the 8th and 10th most dangerous cities in the world. While the chances of anything happening were tiny, I didn’t want to end up skirting some dodgy barrio come nightfall so I set of from Walter’s good and early to be sure. In fact I need not have worried. I shot like a bullet down the Pan-American Highway and by 12 o clock I was comfortably clear of both cities. All I had to do was find some lunch.
I didn’t want to leave Casa Madrid. Diana told me tales of a German guy named Matheus who spent 2 months there and I envisioned myself spending the rest of my life swinging in the hammock, reading books, drinking beer and practising Spanish. And so, it was for that exact reason that I had to leave. I cooked Diana and Isabella a thank you meal of makeshift carbonara (ain’t easy to find bacon on a Sunday in Bolivar) and regretfully pulled myself away from their tractor beam and back onto the saddle.
I woke up early and after a little meditation and a simple breakfast (along with the Andes, I see mountains of porridge in my near future) I was on my way. On the side of the road a man was selling huge bags of blackberries and for only 2,000 pesos and I couldn’t resist. About 10 seconds after paying I realised they were underripe and, judging by the vast quantity, were obviously intended for making juice. Not so easily deterred I kept shoveling them into my mouth. My tongue felt weird for about 2 days after.
In the morning I decided to try out my alcohol stove. I rustled up some porridge only to be ushered inside to calls of “Ross! Ven! Desayuno!”.
Keen to avoid the mistakes of the day before, I set off in search of a hearty breakfast. And I found one. Calentao, which literally means “reheated” is a popular staple in Antioquia, traditionally comprised of yesterday´s leftover rice, beans and whatever else. Accompany it with beef, scrambled eggs, cheese, a mini croissant, and a coffee (which was conveniently served in a handle-less bowl like a soup) and you’ve got a mighty fine breakfast. Even the chili that came with it was near Mexico-level spicy, which is a rarity in Colombia.