Monday, April 10, 2017

on the road to bogota

Every journey may begin with a single step, but that step is almost always followed by a lot of waiting. This trip appears to be no exception.

My good Canadian friends, Lou and Wynn Moody, chauffeured me to the Manzanillo airport this morning for the first leg of my flight to Bogota. The drive to the the aiprort was quick. Too quick. It reminded me how much I enjoy the company of the Moodys -- and how little time we spent together this winter.

That was one of the few quick moments of the day.

My airline of choice for this journey is AeroMexico -- perhaps the most inefficient airline I have ever flown. Because the company switched airplanes for my flight to Mexico City, I had to check in twice. First, to hand over my luggage.

The counter clerk then told me I needed to go stand in in another line on the other side of the airport to get my boarding pass -- because I was flying in first class. Apparently, had I been flying economy, I could have just jumped on board the plane.

There were three young South American women (on a model shoot, it turns out) in front of me with the same situation. They needed boarding passes. How difficult could that be?

Well, difficult enough that it took just under one hour for the four of us to walk away with our boarding passes. It appeared the young woman operating the computer was a trainee, and her mentor was doing little to speed up the process.

There was an upside. Instead, of sitting for an hour in the waiting room on the other side of security, I stood and waited in line for my boarding pass. The upside? I went directly through security to my seat on the airplane, where everyone else was awaiting my arrival.

I am now in the embrace of the Hilton empire. At least, its talon better known as the Mexico City Airport Hilton. I had considered making my way into town for some cultural event or other. Instead, I will rest up. I have a 5:30 AM call for the next leg of my trip.

Jennifer Rose has been to Colombia numerous times. Because she is quite familiar with the country, she asked where I would be going. I didn't know. I still don't. To a degree.

My cousin, Dan, and his Colombian-born wife, Patty, invited me along on this jaunt. It is their trip. I am tagging along for the adventure.

If you read about our travels together in southern Mexico two years ago (state capital tour), you already know the three of us a very improvisational when it comes to places to see and stay. And, we will be doing the same again.

Subject to the whims of fate and our own spontaneity, here is our "plan."

Dan and Patty rented an apartment in Bogota for a few days. I arrive before they do. So, I will open the apartment and greet them tomorrow evening. After a couple of days in Bogota, we will fly to Armenia -- the town, not the country. Patty's father lives a few miles south in Seville. We will stay with him for a few days.

At that point, tantalizing chaos reigns. We may go to Manizales. Or maybe Pereira. Or somewhere else.

When we arrive at any of our choices, we usually fan out to find a hotel. Once settled in, we venture forth to battle boredom and predictability.

For me, everything will be new about Colombia. I have never been there. I expect to learn a lot. Certainly more than it is the only country named for The Great Admiral.

Wait a minute. I was about to slip into my all-too-familiar mode of history lecturer. There will be plenty of time for that later.

And now? I am going to take it easy. I may try to get in some steps. The airport terminal is a perfect place to rack them up.

Travel tomorrow. Comedy tonight.

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