Wednesday, 19. October 2011

Help Ron spend Christmas with his mum

Today, I´m trying to help my friend Ron, who´s been travelling almost without money for the last two years. He´s in Europe right now, wishing to spend this Christmas with his mum back in Guatemala.

Here is his message:

"
So, after being in Europe for more than a year and spending Chirstmases with awesome people I think it's time I spend the Christmas with the woman I love the most: my lovely mum.
I know 700$ is a lot of money (it's about 500€) but the ticket is expensive and I want to buy her a nice present.
You can donate 1€, 2€, 5€, 100€! ok, maybe not a hundred but whatever your budget allows you to. EVERY single euro is VERY welcome!
In return I will send the photos and videos of the reunion.

I hit the moneyless road practically two years ago. I left Guate with 400$. I hitchhiked my way through Centeal America to the States where I worked to earn enough to travel to Europe. There, I completely ran out of money and had to figure how to survive because I came with a one way ticket. Ever since I've been traveling almost without money. Always hitchhiking, CSing, sstaying in strangers houses, everywhere night caught me. If you want the detailed story, you can check out my blog: http://nomadicforever.blogspot.com/"

If you want to contribute, just click below!

Tuesday, 11. October 2011

¡Chévere!

...

Tuesday, 4. October 2011

Greeeeeen and culinary SANTANDER!

Wide-eyed through winding streets on the back of a motorcycle... I don't think I've ever seen that much green. The beauty of this place is beyond words.

Yesterday, I visited the pittoresque colonial town of Barichara. On today's agenda: la cascada Juan Curi, an amazing waterfall.

Apart from that, I got to taste quite a few new things, especially some exotic fruits:
  • hormigas culonas - big ass ants, a Santander specialty
  • panela con limón - kind of a lemonade made of panela
  • guarapo - an alcoholic drink made of panela
  • mango biche - green mango with lemon (I skipped the salt)
  • chirimoya - another fruit
  • jugo de lulos - juice made of another fruit
  • hojaldre con bocadillo - a pastry filled with something made of guayaba
  • yuca - a potatoe-like root, also known as manioc or cassava

Saturday, 1. October 2011

San Gil

After a nine hours overnight ride, leaving the indeed „notoriously chaotic, disgusting bus terminal“ of Cúcuta behind me, I find myself in a completely different world. The town of San Gil is known as the extreme sport capital of Colombia, but for my part, I'm just lying here in a hammock, a couple of kilometers outside the center, looking at the lush green hills around, listening to the nearby river and the birds in the trees, smelling a thunderstorm approaching. It's a little paradise here, at Andres' place. He moved here from Bogotá four years ago, and lives now in his simple finca together with Gala and Chiara, his dogs.

My weekend couldn't have started any better. At 5:30 in the morning, Andres picked me up at the bus terminal, taking me to his beautiful place on his motorbike. After an early morning coffee and some Colombian cake/cookies for breakfast we set off again to the town market, where he introduced me to the San Gil specialty of Batido – kind of a very sweet and eggy milkshake – followed by fruit salad Colombian style – with condensed milk and topped with grated cheese.

After that breakfast, we went on our tour around the market, where I felt like an alien just another time, surrounded by fruits and vegetables I've never seen before. I want to try them all!!! But for now, apart from well known pasta ingredients, we just get some „Lulus“, which interestingly look like what I know as „Khakis“. We'll see (& taste)!!

Friday, 30. September 2011

Cúcuta

„Cúcuta is a hot, muggy, filthy, crime-ridden city“. „The only reason coming here is to cross the border to or from Venezuela“. „If you must stay overnight consider staying in nearby Pamplona instead“.

I indeed only went there to cross the border to Venezuela. Four times to be precise, in order to get my working visa, because my university was unable to send the documents soon enough to get it done back home. Therefore, I also had to stay overnight. Altogether three days I spent in that wonderfully described place.

Well, the city itself wasn't by far as bad as it sounded, and as my flatmates made me believe. In fact, there were some pretty nice corners, the streets are full of life, and the people I met were extremely friendly and helpful. I got picked up from the airport, was taken out to a vegetarian restaurant. I stayed with Cecilia and her husband I forgot the name of, the parents of Martín, director of Antonio Narino's seat in Cúcuta. In the house, there was also Jessica, their niece from Venezuela, Manuel, Martíns son, Carolina, the navela, and a very talkative parrot called Roberto. All of them took perfectly care of me, gave me a place to sleep, fed me, took me whereever I wanted.

That was the good side. The other side was harder to bear. First of all, the unbelievable heat, that even at night doesn't drop below 35°C. No way doing anything else then suffering all they (and night) long. Some streets are really more than busy, rather loud and hectic at times. Together with the heat so comes the continuous noise of honking cars.

Simón Bolívar is ubiquitous. Everything is bolívariano. The bakeries, the universities, the markets, streets, restaurants, sights, museums.... and we are not even in Venezuela, the self proclaimed „country of great progress“ yet.

And then, the seemingly neverending story of getting my visa done. A history of bureaucracy, of people's goodwill, of power and of money.

To give some examples...
  • I had to enter und exit Venezuela a total of four times. In theory, every time you do so, you have to get an exit stamp from Colombia, an entry stamp in Venezuela, and vice versa on the way back. But don't think leaving the Bolivarian Republic is for free....
  • One time, Mister Complicado Consulado – the nickname Martín gave him – asked for an additional stamp on my contract – issued by a notary – and of course, paid. The next time I went there, he didn't even look at it at all.
  • Then, he wanted the University to – cynicly said – certify that I know German. Therefore a paper had to be written back in Bogotá, signed by the national director, and sent there. A pity there was one word too much on that paper, so sitting in the consulate for the third time, I was supposed to get a new one.
On the last day, we were altogether four people going to Venezuela, trying to make me stay and work legally in Colombia. The consul himself, deeply questioning me how I want to know I really want to stay there for a year, was just the icing on the cake....

phaenomenal

or an attempt to escape money

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