In Toronto, we are getting the well-deserved rest we all needed and stuffing ourselves with Asian food before heading to Colombia. We are trying to make sure Zoe gets to swim lots and play on the beach as much as possible.
This is her happy place. She has no idea we are taking her on another plane ride. shhhhh….
Before we know it, it’s Monday and we are at the FDIA 8am to get the signature and after one more day of packing/running errands, it’s time to go to the airport. We get there 4 hours early just in case there are any issues and we walk her back and forth around the airport until check-in to make sure she isn’t too anxious for the flight. We finally check-in and say our byes.
After the most stressful 6 hours of our lives – we arrive in Bogota, Colombia at 9:40pm! We find her sitting quietly at the special handling and we go straight to Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) or to the man who can send us straight back to Toronto if he doesn’t like the way Zoe looks or doesn’t like the paperwork. He takes a look at her, we go into his office and with my broken spanish he asks me various questions about Zoe. Thank you Google Translate.
“Mujeres or Hombre?” (O I know that one!) “(pointing to myself), Mujeres”
“Cuantos anos?” (O YES I KNOW THAT ONE TOO) “Ocho anos”
Eventually, we pay the $47,000 Colombian Pesos or $18 CAD and then he gives me the paperwork and says “Buenas Noches Senora” I say “MUCHOS GRACIAS Senor, adios” and just like that, we are all in Colombia.
ok, so this is where we knew we were going to have a problem. If you didn’t know, most taxis in Colombia are tiny Kia or Hyundai. Meaning, it won’t fit her crate and the three of us. Plus, not all drivers like dogs in their cars. I read that drivers will come up to you offering to give you a good deal, but in reality, they will charge $50 USD for a ride that should only cost $15. While Steve takes her on a bathroom break outside the airport, many guys come up to me asking if I need a taxi. I keep saying No.
And then this old man walks up to me and points to our giant crate and bags “grande bags, no problema – taxi?“. He tries to look into the crate to say hi to Zoe and that’s when Steve rejoins me. He pets Zoe and asks if I need a ride. Steve asks how much to this address. He says “Cuarenta”. Steve and I both look at each other and think exactly the same thing – $40? That’s way too much. We say “Veinte? o Veinte y cinco?” ($20 or $25?). He says he really needs to the money and we are pretty tired and he looks really nice so we just agree. We introduce ourselves and he says his name is Raul and we go to his car.
Guess what. it’s a 1961 Chevrolet Impala. Steve laughs and we instantly love it. As much as we would have loved a nice comfy ride in a modern taxi, this car helps to see that we are in Colombia. Raul tells us about his dog and his car and lays down a towel for us to all sit in the back in with Zoe on the seat as well. We don’t drive faster than 50km/hour since it really can’t. He has to wipe away the condensation because… the car is from 1961. The rain hits me in the face when we turn a corner. We finally arrive at our Airbnb and Steve pays him $40 USD and Raul says “nononono, cuaranta pesos” and gives us back $20 USD. He meant 40,000 pesos not 40 dollars. We ask if he can drive us in the future if we need it, and he gives us a number. We lucked out and found a genuinely sweet driver in the middle of the night where we could have been easily scammed.
We finally check into our Airbnb, where we will be staying for the next 10 days and we are all relieved to be reunited. So far – I like Colombia.