Since entering Panama it seems like all our bad luck decided to come all at once! We have had 8 months of joyous easy travelling so I guess it was due. I think in the last few months both of us have had our patience and perseverance tested amongst many fun moments.
For the first time in 8 months we finally both muttered to each other fuck it lets just go home! To sum it up our pride and joy Buddy aka first home is currently un drivable and nobody knows how to fix it in Colombia!
Not only has our intrepid lifestyle been tested but our parents, family and friends patience with us has to! The endless stream of moaning , angry texts messages surely must be painful (even if they haven’t admitted it yet) Thanks for being our sounding boards I promise once we fix Buddy or decide to sell her it will be back to texts of pristine sceneries to make you jealous!
The story of bad luck starts back in Boquete Panama where we got run off the road when a Dodge Ram made us move so far over we went into a ditch that was covered with long grass! The Dodge Ram didn’t stop but thankfully a nice family pulled us out of the ditch. Once out of the ditch poor Buddy wouldn’t start and we got stuck on a blind corner, after 10 minutes of trying we managed to get her going.
While being located in Boquete I contracted a stomach virus which lasted a week and then managed to jump from me to Jake. After Boquete we drove down to Panama City where we had to start the process of shipping the van to Cartagena, Colombia. Whilst driving down to Panama we got our first flat tire which after a few months we still haven’t fixed!
The shipping from Panama to Colombia was only meant to take two days but it ended up being over ten days due to the boat failing a process at the Panama Port. This meant we were stuck in Cartagena the most expensive town we have been to, over the Xmas period with no guarantee when we would see Buddy. Which as you can imagine was a painful an expensive experience as all the accomodation was booking out! We also saw a man get killed on our second night in Cartagena during a bar fight on our street.
After finally getting Buddy out of the container we drove it for two days up north to pick up Laura (our NZ amiga!) the water pump broke spilling radiator fluid all over the road. Thankfully we weren’t to far away from a mechanic.
Once we got Buddy back she would stall when driving but some how Jake managed to drive her all the way up to Costeno beach so we could ring in the New Years on a beautiful beach.
Unfortunately on the way back Buddy stalled multiple times so we stopped at a mechanic in Santa Marta to try and get her fixed without success. We then attempted to drive to Cartagena but stalled on the highway where Laura and I had to push her across three lanes of a major highway. The faces of everyone going past as two gringo’s pushed a huge truck was hilarious, we definitely must of been a sight. We managed to drive Buddy to the next town where a group of local Auto Electricians tried in vain to fix her, but ended with Buddy being towed back to Barranquilla.
At this point poor Laura had spent a large portion of her two week holiday with a broken down Buddy. We decided that we would carry on our trip to Cartagena and Jake would either met us there the next day or in Medellin with Buddy.
A few days later with no success a very sad Jake decided to fly and meet us in Medellin so he could carry on with the holiday. To add salt to the wound I tried to book him two busses from Baranquilla to Medellin for the bus company to only take our money and not issue a ticket (still waiting on the refund). He ended up flying to meet us which is a much nicer option than the 14 hour bus ride Laura and I did.
On our last night in Bogota we decided to hit ‘The Doors’ bar and on the way home a homeless man pulled a shank on Jake after he gave another homeless person money. Thankfully the guy was smaller than me and Jake pushed him away and the man stumbled away without a fight.
After saying good bye to Laura we flew back to Cartagena where our flight got delayed for four hours. All I can say is poor Viva Colombia air hostesses. For four hours locals harassed for compensation and a man jumped onto the desk where he was then arrested. Approximately thirty people started chanting ‘ let him go’ so the police did.
We are now back in Baranquilla where we had left Buddy at a mechanic. But sadly they were unable to fix her. Three mechanics, many crazy stories later we still don’t know what is wrong! But hopefully our luck is changing; Jake met a cool guy who has taken the computer to get examined, where we are hoping the issue is something to do with a micro relay inside the computer! On a positive note I managed to negotiate a hotel room for $27 with AC (its 34 degrees out), a large tv and we are able to park Buddy outside while the computer is with the technicians!
Even though we have some crazy stories from Colombia they are the most friendly, helpful, generous people who will go out of their to help you. We have seen this behaviour all around the country. Small gestures like walking me all around town to help top up our phone, ensuring us girls felt safe or by organising tow trucks.Fingers crossed Buddy will be fixed in no time.
Jake wasn’t to keen on my suggested alternative selling Buddy and buying push bikes to ride around South America!