As I was standing there in a dirt lot on the roadside, stretching my legs. Three men pull put next to my bike and head into the restaurant, the older of the three stares at the back of my bike for a while then looks at me. He asks if I’m Peruvian, as my license plate suggests. I tell him no but I bought the bike there. We talk for a bit about the bike, me trying to follow the conversation and answer the questions as best as possible. I tell him I’m headed to Cartagena, Colombia, then will turn and head down to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. He has a perplexed look on his face and asks,”Solo?” I tell him yes. He then goes back to his car and brings out the New Testament, and hands it to me. Saying I should have this. I hold back a laugh. Politely decline the gift, saying I can’t read Spanish. He smiles, says something I couldn’t make out and shakes my hand and we bid each other farewell.
This was one of the many atypical encounters I had on my ride north through Ecuador and Colombia. South Americans are very curious of foreigners who make their own way through their country. Knowing I’m not just there to see what’s listed in the Lonely Planet guide books. And a motorcycle being the most popular form of transportation down here, they respect me a little more.
Having now made to Cartagena. As it is the farthest north I will be going on this trip it is a small victory for me. Now the rest is all down hill. I will spend two weeks here which allows me to finally rest my body and enjoy this captivating city while I work to improve my Spanish.