|Magdalena River, just south of Neiva, Colombia|
The last few hours in Bogotá were somewhat discombobulating. I raced around my hotel neighborhood in search of an ATM that would accept my card which (a) was part of Plus, Star, and just about every other ATM network on the planet and (b) was accepted by every ATM I’ve ever used in Europe only to find out (c) that Bogotá is not in Europe. Well, I did have a stash o’ cash in case the ATM’s weren’t Wells Fargo card friendly, only to find that the currency exchange in my hotel was closed for the morning, the banks did not want to do a currency exchange, and there were no other nearby currency changers in the business neighborhood in which my hotel was located.
Oh well, I could change money at the airport. I would pay a super-premium on the exchange, but certainty has value. Off to the airport. I got a cab at my hotel. The cabbie, who spoke no English, asked if I wanted “internacional.” Well, I was flying domestic to Neiva, so I would not want to go to the “internacional” terminal, so I said “no,” that I was flying “Lan,” a South American international carrier, “a Neiva,” so I wanted “domestic,” pronouncing the vowels in proper Spanish hoping that that was close to the Spanish word for “domestic.”
He dropped me off at the airport. It looked a little different from what I remembered from my flight in. And I only saw Avianca check-in stations. It was then I remembered that Bogotá has two airports, El Dorado International and this other aeropuerto in which I was standing a little less than two hours to flight time. I guess I did want “internacional” after all. Fortunately, this was not like trying to get from JFK to La Guardia or LAX to Ontario. I asked a policia who spoke English as well as I spoke Spanish, and he walked me over to where I could catch a shuttle to the proper aeropuerto. The shuttle arrived in about five 10 minutes and it dropped me off at El Dorado in less than 10. I got pointed toward the Lan domestic ticketing desks and off to Neiva I soon would be.
I’m not going to bother explaining how Gate REG 1 is not the same as Gate 1 at El Dorado. I eventually did find Gate REG 1 and soon was on board the 36-passenger prop plan bound for Neiva:
|Lan 3223 to Neiva|
Soon enough we landed in the hot desert town of Neiva. I was dressed for the San Francisco-style climate of Bogotá, rather than the high desert temperatures of Neiva. I was met at Neiva airport by my guide for San Agustín and a Hyundai minivan being driven by the owner of the guesthouse at which I would be staying in San Agustín. It was a beautiful four-hour drive from Neiva to San Agustín. We stopped more than a few times for water, fruit, cheese or whatever:
|Snack and rest stop overlooking the Magdalena|
Generally, we hugged the Magdalena River, the main drainage river through the center of Colombia:
|Old Church, Timana, Colombia|
|It' a tree, but is it a banyan?|
|Gaetana with the head of a Spanish official|
At sunset, we arrived at the Hacienda Anacaona, outside of the City of San Agustín:
|My room at the Anacaona|
Off to bed for Day Seis will bring the primary purpose of this trip to Colombia: a visit to San Agustín Archaeological Park.