Monday, October 18, 2010


The main reason I wanted to move back to South America, Buenos Aires specifically, was to help my good buddy Chilly Willy Whittle get his bike tour company in high gear. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a foreign city is explore it via bicycle. With each pedal, you get to see the many different lives on the streets. One corner you may see kids kicking around a futbol, the next corner you're greeted by drummers performing for a few pesos. Three blocks later, the smell of carne or empanadas may activate the appetite. It's interesting, fun and absolutely liberating exploring foreign lands by the pedal.

This is an opportunity to follow a passion and put to test our creativity, innovation and determination. It's truly exciting. If you or anyone you know has plans in the near to far future of visiting Buenos Aires, please let them experience the city the most fulfilling way...

To see our latest blog on our latest biking experiences in Bogota, click here!

We leave Bogota tomorrow for Buenos Aires with our vision in mind and on paper in the form of a business plan. As much as we've learned just putting together the business plan, we've only hit the tip the iceberg. Let the lessons, challenges and rewards begin.. See you in Buenos Aires!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Caribbean Waters Part II/ Santa Marta

Santa Marta, Colombia
Where has the time gone? I sit here on our balcony looking out to the crystal Caribbean blue reflect the sun to my eyes. Seven days have passed here in this beach community that has been a major time trap. We don't return to Bogota for another three days. Ten days in Santa Marta is like one long dream that you never want to end. Why does it have to end?? "This too shall pass," the Buddha once said, such a painful reminder in some cases yet a healthy reminder in others.

Gilles, the Dutch owner of our apartment, told us he moved here seven years ago and has never left. Now he sits in his office two blocks from the beach and hires a bunch of Juans to bring the tourists to him so he can rent out his apartments. We had a great time negotiating with Gilles. All of our negotiations up to this point have been taking place in EspaƱol, which has been very frustrating to Jason, the wheel n deal kind of business man who thrives on getting the best deal for his friends every time. He's the best guy to travel with, always making things exciting. Anyways, once the opportunity to negotiate in English presented itself with our Dutch friend Gilles, Jason jumped on it and brought Gilles down in price $20/usd per night. The result, we stayed the final 8 nights of our stay in Santa Marta in a roomy flat that can fit 12 people. For the six of us, we each spent $10/night and had plenty of space and a nice hammock on our balcony, full kitchen, dining room, 2 bathrooms, laundry... todo! Oh have I mentioned the advantages of travelling the Caribbean coast in low season? See previous post here.

So the last seven days have been that dream one doesn't want to end. My ears have been plugged since I left the island in Cartagena. I never knew swimmers ear could be such a pain in the ass. I am now being labeled as the grandpa of the trip. "Robin! Listen to me.." they say. "What? What did you say? I can't hear you," I reply like a frustrated old man. All remedies have been tried. Over the counter medicines, shaking the ear and jumping, and even the ol' plug the nose and blow trick. None have been a successful remedy, so for now I accept my temporary deafness and tune into my other senses. My eyes and taste buds have been the most delighted by this beautiful beach community. My skin has even felt the bathwater of the sea here for hours on end. This place has been amazing and has provided some of the best sunsets one could ask for...

This place called Santa Marta has also shown us things we don't expect to see, like babies being bathed in public.....

...or more people on the beach at night than during the day as a regularity.

The locals also wouldn't expect to see one gringo pushing off another for a backflip

BJ's patented backflip w/ a little help from Jason

This is a place where I was even lucky enough to capture lightning crash at night marking the beginning of just another daily/nightly warm shower...

This is a place where the Sierra Nevada Mountains loom over the coast. The eastern edge of the city starts the ascent into the lush green mountains. The roads are no car's best friend yet the people are friendly enough to gringos to make them want to stay in this paradise. Our time here in Santa Marta was not just consumed by loafing on the beaches, only 80% of it was. Give us a break, we did take day trips to Parque Tayrona and ancient Minca waterfalls. Yet, laziness did get the best of us here in Santa Marta.

A side note: It's known as the honeymoon location of Colombia and it lived up to its reputation. We so happened to be here during the Colombian Valentine's Day. In one day, I counted forty six different couples taking their long walks on the beach, que lindo!

However, people really must not see too many gringos in this area since they often approached us as if we were celebrities as did this beautiful Colombian nena...

With every step in this bath water, with every yummy bite of the Caribbean fish & rice meals, with every damn stinking lazy moment in this hammock of the balcony, with every beautiful Colombian woman walking by, with every jaw-dropping sunset and with every breath of Caribbean coastal air, I am most grateful to experience this paradise... Santa Marta, you're the dream I never want to wake up to...