The In-Transit Report

The In Transit Report: From Bolivia to Belize, via Colombia

I got a flight from La Paz, Bolivia, to Belize City, Belize only a few weeks in advance using frequent flier miles, which meant it was a bit indirect. Additionally, it meant I had a 15-hour layover in Cali, Colombia. Instead of sitting around the airport, I decided to go into the city for a while.

Cali is a big city near the Ecuadorian border, with not a whole lot to see, but it was a nice place to stop for a while. I managed to get a hostel (for a ‘nap’ before my 6am flight out), get a shower, and walk around a bit. I even found a vegetarian restaurant for dinner. The area I stayed in was nice, and very developed compared to everywhere I’d been in Bolivia. I had to find an ATM and deal with bank issues, and found that every single Colombian I asked for help finding this or that, was sincerely helpful and kind. Seriously, I didn’t find one mean person in all of Colombia. Based on my 15-hour taste, I’m very sad I didn’t get more time to visit the country!

I took a taxi back to the airport at 4am and caught my flight off the South American continent, and I must say I was sad to go. Even sitting in the San Salvador airport, things just felt different. Latin America may be a word to describe all of these countries, but each is very different, and now being in Central America, I can really feel it.

Another thing I’ve been feeling recently is how much I’ve changed as a traveler since my last few backpacking trips. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I have much less tolerance for partying, and especially ‘party hostels’. My standards have changed; I’m much more willing to pay more for a better place to stay, better food, better ambiance, and better busses. I’m more inclined to take day tours if it means less work and more comfort, and I feel a bit less adventurous sometimes. I also don’t like to move very fast; I love having 2-3 or more nights in one place, and if I find a hostel with a good vibe I’m inclined to stay longer. I’m not the kind to get off of a night bus and immediately go sightseeing. I’d rather take a nap and relax, put the hard stuff off until tomorrow.

With that being said, and having added diving to the mix, my budget hasn’t lasted me nearly as long as I expected it to, by a long shot. I’ll be happy to make it to a year of travel, maybe longer if I stick to cheaper places. We’ll see what happens. I really wish I’d had longer for South America, and now for Central America, and I’m really excited to get to the part where I don’t have any future flights to catch. February that’ll happen – after the Olympics. In the meantime, I’m traveling a bit faster than I’d like to be at the moment in Central America.

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