My first weeks in Colombia were definitely passing under the sign of the family. First I stayed with Felipe and his family, then with Eliana and her family. And now I was going to Vélez, Eliana’s home town, to stay with her cousin and his family. But before I got there, I first met Yamile’s family. Yamile is Eliana’s flatmate and childhood friend. She is also from Vélez and has a daughter of 10 she wanted me to meet. As she had to go back to Vélez the same day as I was planning to go, we took the bus together.
Bus. Also called buseta. Which is actually more a mini-van than a bus and the most common public transport in Colombia. It was the first time I was taking it for a long trip and it became a whole new experience for me.
I thought I might take a nap during the 4 hours’ drive. But that was out of the question. Too many curves in the road. And a much too irregular driving style. Not to say it was completely crazy. You add to this that the buseta was as full as full can be and the guy on my right was signing himself each time we took a new curve. And then the hawkers who pop in to sell drinks and food each time the buseta slows down or makes a halt. “Arepa, arepa, arepa”, “Mani, mani, mani”, “Uno por 500, tres por 1000!”. Sometimes they stay in the buseta while it keeps on driving. The time for them to attend to potential customers. They are then dropped off a few kilometres further away, where they wait to jump into the next buseta.
Let’s play a little game. Just guess how many minutes I managed to sleep before we got to Vélez. Yes. You’re absolutely right. Not one. But, believe it or not, sleeping in the most rough environments is something you learn.
To top it off, about half an hour before arriving at our destination, we got a flat tyre. I hadn’t imagined this ride would be such an expedition but we finally got there. Together with the rain.
Yamile’s mom made up for the difficulties of the trip by serving us a warm meal. I just got the time to get acquainted with her parents, her daughter… her sister, her brother-in-law and their new-born twins. Did I need any family time? Well, here I got it.