[ Ipiales, Colombia ]
Thanks to various immigration challenges and a dying smartphone, I didn’t reach the Ecuador-Colombia border until mid-afternoon last Wednesday (Aug 9th). I tried, unsuccessfully, to get my phone repaired before crossing into Colombia, but no-one had the part required. They assured me I’d have better luck on the other side. (“Ipiales is much bigger; you’ll be able to get whatever you want tomorrow!”)
Thursday morning’s international bike tour, on the other hand, went more smoothly (and cheaply) than anticipated. My immigration fine doesn’t have to be paid until I reenter the country–which I can’t do until next Feb 14th at the earliest.
A moderately long, slow line notwithstanding, the Colombian entry was a breeze, and I rode up the hill into Ipiales on a bright, peaceful mid-morning. To facilitate the border crossing, I had reserved a room on Booking.com for $7.50/night–a tiny private room and a shared bath. It was all as-advertised, but I had a good laugh when I rolled up and saw that I shared an entrance with the city’s obligatory sex shop.
The shop was a bit of head feint, though: in reality the hotel was quiet and clean, with a large, sunny interior courtyard completely invisible from the street. It’s an 85-year old building with an ultra-friendly resident cat.
I spent my first couple of days getting my phone repaired, finding the best coffeeshop options (half the price of Ecuador, btw), wandering the lively streets, laundry, a long-overdue shave and haircut, and boxing up ~10 kilos of unnecessary-for-cycling gear. The latter is a huge relief: significant weight I don’t have to carry on the bicycle, shipped ahead to Cali by bus for about $8US. I now 30 days to pick it up from the main bus terminal.
All good, but enough is enough; tomorrow morning I’ll set out for towards Pasto, a largish city I should reach in two-three days, depending on the route I take. My plan is spoil myself with a bit of pavement for a while, but we’ll see how that pans out.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Until then, take care of yourself, and each other.
Your friendly neighborhood Transglobalist,