Well we are currently in an amazingly beautiful colonial city in southern Colombia called Popayan after a completely crappy ride from San Augustin an archaeological site next to a guerilla occupied area.
We are absolutely SHAGGED since they managed to squeeze us into a sardine can van with 20 other stinky locals on a road so bad that it took us 7 hours to go only 121kms!!! I’m sure I busted at least 2 vertebra and a haemorrhoid on the potholes… It’s times like these that backpacking really SUCKS!!!
In anycase, San Augustin was the most risky part of our journey so far and we had no dramas…
San Augustin is an amazing archaeological site from a mysterious race from about 600AD which predates the Incas. Not much is known about them but they left hundreds of amazingly freaky monolith statues and tombs scattered through the jungle and across amazingly beautiful green rolling hills.
Some of the statues were up to 7m tall so they have been compared to those that we saw in Easter Island, so we were pretty keen to see them especially since not many people have been there since the FARC guerillas used to occupy the area.
We were pretty nervous going there originally, especially since the guide books said that there was a FARC guerilla checkpost on the road to San Augustin, and we had heard that they had intensified their fighting in the district next to San Augustin since one of their leaders was captured.
Additionally, we figured that they are definitely the most BADARSED out of the 3 main guerrilla groups since I had just read that they had ambushed a carload of priests in the past and killed 2 of them… and killing Jason Priestly type dudes ALWAYS FREAKS US OUT!!!
In anycase, we spent a day speaking to the police and on the internet researching the safety situation and everyone reassured us that the FARC had been chased out a couple of years ago so other than the possibility of being mugged at gunpoint by thieves, the road was completely safe…
Well we were feeling pretty good at that point until a taxi driver completely FREAKED us out!
On our way to the bus station this taxi dude was happily chatting to us, but as soon as we mentioned that we were going to San Augustin he went all serious and then pulled over the cab and told us to cancel our tickets as there were definitely guerrillas on the road!!!
Needless to say that completely FREAKED ME out as I really didn’t want any Magilla Guerrillas catnapping my skinny yellow butt!!!!
Avril and I ended up having a reasonably yucky fight over whether we should go or not as Avril was pretty keen to still go though as she figured what would some dumbarse taxi driver know.
Eventually after promising to seriously kick Avril’s arse if we got killed, I gave in and it was a pretty good decision as we didn’t see any Magilla Guerrillas and San Augustin really ROCKED!
The town is known as a hippy town as they have an abundance of pretty powerful magic mushies, and since the statues are so FREAKY, archaeologists believe that the shamans here must have been whacked out on SERIOUS magic mushy mooga booga…
The statues were amazing and surreal as the mysterious race carved really evil looking puma gods to guard their tombs and they are scattered across a beautifully lush green crescent shaped field hidden in a deep valley.
We figured their gods must have been VERY VERY powerful deities as one of the statues showed a puma god stretching his penis to his mouth and sucking his own dick!!! This is a superpower that all mortal men aspire to, but it is a power that only remains in the realm of the Gods…
We also stayed on a really cool farm in a tee pee built by a Swiss dude just outside of town in a beautifully tranquil area. This was cool as we had the place to ourselves since there are almost no tourists here… we were really sad to leave…
Anyhow, tomorrow we fly out to Cartegena a world heritage listed colonial city on the Caribbean coast in the far north of Colombia. We are loving Colombia so much right now that we were considering extending our time to get a couple of more cool places in, but in reality, I reckon we’ll be back here soon as the place and the people are amazing.
Anyways, gotta go…
We’ve now uploaded our pics from the amazing Valle De Cocora and also San Austin…
Lots of magic mushiness and mooga booga
Ced the Infirmed after trying to stretch his penis and Avril the Tee Pee Girl
PS Trip Stats for those on the road. We stayed at Finca El Maco about 2km outside of San Augustin on the way to the archaeological park (www.elmaco.ch). Really awesome place to chill out but bring your own reading material as you will be spending a lot of time in hammocks. Best pizza and pasta at Boemia Cafe on the road out to the park. Don’t take the Cootranshuila bus as it takes 2 hours longer than the minibuses run by Linea Estelar and drops you 5km out of town. There are no guerillas on the road and we weren’t stopped at any military checkposts either. The locals are quite happy that the FARC have been gone for 2 years. You need 4 hours for the main archaeology park, 1 full day for the jeep ride to the distant sites and another possible day for the horse ride to the petroglyphs. We didn’t do the petroglyphs as we were lazy and the theives who held up the Israelis there recently haven’t been caught yet, but other travellers we met did it and found it to be safe and beautiful. Popayan is worth a night stopover for night photography as the whole town is painted white and the streets are lighted with lanterns.