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Entry from: Bogota, Colombia
Entry Title: "Viagra: the Colombian cure for travel sickness!"
"Oh the joys of bus travel, you never know exactly what you are going to get. The buses can be anything from a luxury class cruiser to a rickety old chicken bus with slinky spring suspension. We always take the precaution of buying some travel sickness pills before each long journey, just in case. In Latin America, you don't buy the whole box of pills; you just buy what you need. So our usual plan of action is too find the pharmacy in the bus station and ask for a couple of travel sickness pills. Now, the Spanish word for travel is Viejo (pronounced Vee-eck-ar). So asking for medicina para viejar normally does the trick, although this time was different. The elderly couple sitting behind the counter at Cartegena bus station shop didn't seem to understand our attempt at Spanish at all. Maybe we were pronouncing it wrong? We tried pronouncing it a number of different ways and Keith added a very talented mime of bouncing up and down and being sick to help things along. This seemed to do the trick, smiling the lady reached under the counter and handed us a strip of small white tablets. Bingo we had communication! Phew, our bus was about to leave any minute. Hurriedly we were just about to pay when looking closer at the strip of pills for dosage instructions ect we realised that our break through in communication hadn't been quite so successful. Printed all over the back of the strip was the word VIAGRA. Heaven knows what the lady thought Keith's mime was about? After a lot of giggling to the point of tears and the use of our dictionary we managed finally to get what we wanted. It is true what they say... ALWAYS READ THE LABLE. Especially before a 19 hour bus journey! So after a harsh reintroduction to the horrors of air-con and long distance bus travel we arrived in Bogotá, bordering on frost bite but sexual organs and stomachs intact. We spent a week in Bogotá jamming every day full of sight seeing, tamale eating (*Puerto False for the best tamales and handmade sweets in Colombia), getting high on the toxic pollution levels. Our first port of call had to be the world famous Museo De Oro (Gold Museum)a collection of more than 10,000 pieces of Pre-Colombian golden jewellery and ornaments. WOW!!! The intricacy and beauty of some of the pieces was incredible. We never knew gold could be so interesting. We had a day out on a steam train to visit the Catedral de Sal which is in Zipaquirá 50km outside the city. It took hours to reach the city limits passing fields of apartment blocks and construction sites; Bogotá is a very modern city and seems to be growing prolifically. On the train we were accompanied by a Colombian brass band playing traditional music in each carriage throughout the journey. Everyone clapped and sang along, some got up in the isles to dance. Can you imagine this happening on British Rail? It was excellent fun. The Colombians certainly know how to enjoy themselves. As Latin America is strongly Roman Catholic we have visited countless amounts of Cathedrals and as beautiful as they all are this one was certainly a change from the norm. The Catedral de Sal is a huge Cathedral built into the walls of a salt mine nearly 600 feet into a mountain. The whole place is carved out of the rock salt, it is immense. Winding tunnels descend into the Roman Catholic temple, passing 14 small chapels representing the stations of the cross, which illustrate the events of Jesus´s last journey each carved by a different artist. The entire Cathedral was illuminated in blues ..."
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Photos from this trip:
1. "Gold statue"
2. "Gold sculpture of a reed boat"
3. "Tasha doing a puzzle in the art gallery"
4. "Made in Birmingham UK (the machine)"
5. "Art Gallery courtyard y church tambien"
6. "Old wench"
7. "General Walker at your service!"
8. "Morning line up Plaza Bolivar"
9. "The train to Catedral de Sal, Chuff chuff"
11. "Muy Bonito Butterfly"
12. "Rush hour Bogota"
13. "Fuente de Lavapatas"
14. "Us and the band!"
15. "Lots of dogs chasing the train"
16. "View from the train"
17. "Tasha and the funky train"
18. "Keith and the funky train tambien"
19. "The cross at the end of the Catedral"
20. "Nativity sculpture inside the Catedral de Sal"
21. "Keith inside the Catedral de Sal"
22. "Keith and the band on the train."
23. "Does it need words?"
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