Airplanes and Gold


November 12th and 13th, 2011

I haven’t flown anywhere since early in 2001. While it is true that later in that year, air travel changed (especially in the USA) forever, I don’t think that has anything to do with it. Even by the time I took that flight I was more and more likely to road trip somewhere than fly. I flew that time just because of work/time issues.

So, I admit to a certain anxiety when I was dropped off at the airport at 9am for my 11am flight. My anxiety went up a little when, after spending 45 minutes in line, boarding would start at 10. But I didn’t need to be nervous at all. And, now that I have done both I can definitely say it is easier to get in and out of countries in airports than at borders.

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Couldn’t get a good view of the plane while I was waiting to board. Oh, and as an aside, if you are planning on wearing motorcycling gear onto an airplane, removing the armor pads might be a good idea.

I got breakfast in the airport, even though there was supposed to be food on the plane, which was a good idea since the food was non-delicious.

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Leaving Panama

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Arriving in Columbia.

I had already arranged a hotel in Bogota, the classy Marriot. Mainly because it had an airport shuttle and a taxi service. This meant it would a lot easier to get Curiosity back. In fact it was a bit of a comedy of errors. The taxi dropped me off at Air Girag’s warehouse. After spending some time there I found out the bike was actually in Air France’s warehouse. So I walked over there. After some more time getting my airbill, I then had to find customs to get the bike imported before they would get it out of the warehouse.

Eventually, all these hurtles were overcome, and Curiosity was back

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I had a small adventure on the way back to the hotel. I had only put a little gas in the tank before shipping the bike, and it wasn’t enough to get me to the closest gas station. I got to push the bike for a while, but the sun was setting and some military types waved me to stop, offered to watch the bike while I walked to the gas station, with an escort. It was an odd moment, but I think I am happy about it.

With the bike safely back at the hotel I got dinner and had a pleasant evening unwinding in the massive luxury of a king size pillow top bed.

I had given myself a full day in Bogota, in case I had paperwork or bike issues, but it was all good so I went to go and see some gold.

The Museo del Oro in Bogota has the largest collection of pre-hispanic gold in the world. It has been the ongoing project of some bank, and it was pretty impressive. Even better, I was going on a Sunday, and Sunday’s are “get in free” days.

The hotel taxi dropped me off, and I scheduled a time to be picked up.

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I was there a little early so I took a quick walk around the neighborhood.

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Once the museum opened I went in and started looking around. I ended up taking almost 150 pictures inside, so you only get to see a couple.

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There are three floors of exhibits on gold, how it was formed and repaired, and it’s various meanings to the different tribes in northern South American, and Central America. Walking through it took a few hours, but there was also a special exhibit on another floor on the Mayan’s

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Most of the Mayan stuff was on it’s calendar, for some reason. The explanations were pretty clear, even if this part of the museum was all in Spanish (the permanent exhibits, i.e. the gold, was bilingual).

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Once I was finished inside I still had about half an hour before the taxi was to appear for my ride back, so I wandered over to a public square for lunch.

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Chorizos and little baked potatoes rolled in sugar.

Once lunch was done, I got the taxi and headed back to the hotel. I spent some time working on the blog, and some time working on NaNoWriMo, which I am a little sad over missing most of this year. Not very sad, though, because instead I get to be here

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(And he made little robot noises when he moved)

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