Posts Tagged ‘colombia’

I haven’t really felt inspired to write a Zombie-survival page for every country/place that I’ve been in. Panama was difficult because I was mostly in Panama City or Colon. Portabello was amazing because that’s where a lot of Captain Henry Morgan battles were fought and I got my PADI certification while diving amongst his sunken ships!

I digress.

Colombia was amazing. I spent over a month in Colombia and it wasn’t enough. A place that all the cable news stations warn us about to never venture out to, I loved every single minute. I swore that all the citizens of Colombia had a meeting where they agreed to treat every foreigner as if they were royalty because their reputation is kinda crappy. Everyone agreed and they set off to find any foreigner… Throwing them gifts and tokens of appreciation and love. There is a new tourist slogan about Colombia where they say “the only risk is that you won’t want to leave”. And this is true.  For some reason, though, I think the amazing hospitality and the kindness of people would slowly go away once they all became zombies.

Medellin (58/70) was a city where I cried, constantly, because of the beauty of that city… However, the only safe place to hole up in would be Arvi, a natural park where you have to ride a gondola (Metro-cable-car) up to it. Even then- you’d have to go through the swarms of Medellin-citizen-zombies just to get there and then hope/pray that there is electricity that is powering the metro.

Location: 8/10 (in between a lot of mountains, but lots and lots of people…)

Water: 9/10 (delicious tap water!)

Lodging: 9/10 (brick/concrete houses all over. Plenty to squat in.)

Food: 9/10 PAISA!!!! GO HERE JUST TO EAT BANDEJA PAISA!

Costco equivilent: 4/10 – while there are no super-stores that I could find, there are markets… however, those markets will be managed by Zombies….

Non-dead dangers: It did rain a lot while I was there, which means mosquitos later. But overall, I didn’t meet any weird-looking dogs or snakes or scorpions or anything else that was deadly while I was here. 9/10

Locals: there is still a lot of crime in Medellin, apparently. I didn’t witness any, but everyone told me that there was still some sketchy areas. Which means, of course, that there are guns! and lots of them! So you’ll have a huge arsenal — if you can find them. Also, if you meet locals who are Colombian, they will welcome you into their home and you’ll instantly be family. 🙂 Always a nice feeling. 10/10

Bogota (60/70) is like a Latin NYC but with the weather of Seattle. It’s higher up in altitude so it remains temperate all year around. Walking around a city is one of my favorite things to do of all time- so this was perfect for me. Some hills, a lot of random little shops, lots of posters to gawk at. It was lovely. However, Bogota has well over 7 million people- making it NOT any kind of ideal place for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Location: It’s high up in the mountains. The weather is temperate year around. It rains a lot, but this means great for growing crops. 8/10

Water: delicious tap water– also lots of natural springs! (9/10)

Lodging: Tons of great housing. Very well constructed. Just the problem with very close neighbors. 8/10

Food: The food can vary. The restaurants vary all over the board- but they won’t be around after everyone is zombies (or they will only be serving brains). I did spend a great deal of time just eating the various fruits that were in the supermarket. (one day I picked up 15 different fruits and tried a variety of them). All were different and pleasant. There were no chickens or pigs to be found, though– not sure where the farms are. Also- it should be noted that you can get ANYTHING delivered in Bogota. Anything. We tried this with beer and pharmacy drugs. (#winning) 9/10

Costco equivalent: While there were no huge “super stores” that sell everything (and you certainly can’t just buy guns like you could in the states) there are tons of security guards on every corner “guarding” something and holding semi-automatics. Finding weapons won’t be a problem, but finding enough ammo may be. Finding other stuff isn’t a real big problem- but you just need to go to several stores to find them. (7/10

Non-dead dangers: The only big thing here is dugs. Which raises a great question: What would a coked-up zombie be like? Would he run faster? Would he even bother running after you at all? I should add this to my [good questions] blog page. 9/10

Locals: Again- the most awesome and hospitable people on the face of the earth. Full of life (and would probably even love being zombies). They would definitely be the most fashionable ones that I’ve found. 10/10

Cartagena (49/70) is probably the “most safe” because it has an “old city” that was once used as a fort against the Spanish during the gold-war days. However, it’s hot. I’m not just saying it’s warm…. I mean it’s sweltering. Shade is going to be your best friend (along with the delicious juices- be forewarned- all your generator power will go towards the blender to make juice.)

Location- you have the beach and the old city wall. You could probably hole up in the old city, but there isn’t much going on there except for really old buildings that have withheld the test of time. (9/10)

Water: some potable water– but it may turn sketchy after the apocalypse…. unknown. There is plenty to swim in, though! 7/10

Lodging: Lots and lots and lots of really old (beautiful) buildings! (10/10)

Food: they don’t grow a lot THERE– they ship it in. So getting food may be a problem for later. 6/10

Costco Equivilent: again, no super store. No super-market, either. A lot of little mom/pop stores. 3/10

Non-dead dangers: the currents in the ocean CAN be quite high. Also, the UV rays can hurt you something fierce if you aren’t wearing sunscreen. (Mental note: Add sunscreen to my zombie survival kit!) 7/10

Locals: The locals were lovely here– but I prefer them in other parts of Colombia. It should be noted that this is a tourist destination and I didn’t have a chance to meet “the real locals” who weren’t trying to sell me something. 7/10

Santa Marta (53/70) is lovely- but more lovely was Tayrona, a national park located just east of Santa Marta. It’s glorious to go hiking, rent a hammock, lounge at the post-card-looking beaches. Is there a lot of food? Not really… There is plenty of fish and fruit- but nothing else, really. Are there a lot of people? Just tourists. In my opinion, this is where you would go to vacation during the Zombie Apocalypse. Especially at Tayrona. No zombie wants to go hiking through the jungle and the beach would be isolated enough that would make you relax a little during the terrible times ahead.

Location: secluded and off the beaten path. Beautiful beaches. Especially Tayrona. A lot of places you can only access via boat or long hikes. 10/10

Water: everywhere! You have to buy filtered/bottled water here… so bring some iodine or a steripen! 7/10

Lodging: Plenty of old buildings in the “old city” that you could hole up in. There are also really cute bungalows on the cliffs that you could squat in. No AC (and you would need fans at least) 8/10

Food: Lots and lots of fish! some fruit that is grown locally/a little ways away. But not a lot. Agriculture could probably happen in Tyrona after the apocalypse, though. 8/10

Costco: nope. None. No big stores what-so-ever. 4/10

non-dead-dangers: jelly fish was a scare for a day as were the currents. Our legs were also eaten alive by mosquitos and sand-fleas (note: put baby-oil on your legs to avoid getting bitten by sand fleas!)- but other than that- it’s a beacher’s paradise. 7/10

Locals: the locals were lovely. Kinda and amazing people– even for a touristy destination. 9/10

Barranquilla (61/70) was special in it’s own way. I went there and stayed with a couch-surfer (now a great friend) for 4 days. It was also the very beginning of Carnival, which is the 2nd biggest Carnival in the world after Rio. The first night was my first experience of Colombians and how passionate they are about life. Laughing, singing, dancing, drinking, offering everything and anything they have to total strangers. (Again, the amazing hospitality). Carnival was unique- so I shouldn’t grade an entire city based on it’s crazy/amazing festival. I will note, though, that if you want to have a great time right before Ash Wednesday– go to Barranquilla. Book ahead. Just go, laugh, have a great time. Go to the beach after you close down some bars. Dance your ass off. Be silly. Drink aquadiente (and cringe… because it’s foul) and then drink some more. Enjoy your time in Colombia.

Location: It’s kinda like Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s very concrete and sprally and massive. It’s a sport to drive here. Not a lot of parks, but plenty of places to hole up in and hide out– you’re also close to a beach if you need to get away. 9/10

Water: lots of potable water and you’re close enough to a beach to get away. During the rainy season/months it rains a lot and the streets are flooded. (forwarning) 8/10

Lodging: LOTS of concrete/safe buildings to hole up in. Lots of places to hide. 10/10

Food: The food is decent. I had a lot of standard dishes that I enjoyed. You can get some awesome seafood here as well as some produce. I’m not sure where the produce comes from- so again, it may be imported. 8/10

Costco- *edit*- They have Pricemart! 😀 I haven’t been there- but it exists. I doubt you can buy ammo- but you can probably buy everything else. 7/10

Non-dead dangers: The only “scary” thing about this town is the local’s kidneys and their driving….which leads me to…. 9/10

Locals: Amazing locals. The best, actually. It may have just been the people that I stayed with- but I was constantly and pleasantly surprised by how amazing these people are. Their culture is just oozing out of them and you can’t help but be happy and feel welcome and immersed in their lives. 10/10

So there ya go…. That’s Colombia. I will be back (this time I’ll actually know Spanish). *note: the Colombians speak the best spanish in all of Latin America. So if you want to take lessons- do it here and learn it properly. I did not follow this advice because I’m stupid. So I’ll continue to speak Spanish like a 2-yr-old.

I’ve been sick for the past few days (my first cold since I’ve been traveling! not bad for third world countries!) but I decide to suck it up, get some drugs (that was an adventure… you can’t just walk into a drug store and get something off the shelf. You have to talk to a pharmacist to get everything. Including cotton balls/toilet paper!) I get my drugs and rode the metro downtown to the Bogota Gold Museum. 
The whole down-town area was PACKED! SO MANY PEOPLE!

And llamas!

And other bizarre things.
So I go through the museum and look at all the figurines and stuff, but it was really crowded (the museum is free on Sundays, so I should have known). After that, I went through the markets (flea-market-types) and then decided to walk the 50+ blocks home. It’s a long walk, but I wasn’t feeling great and needed some air.
On my way home, I finally get hungry. My appetite hasn’t been all that great since I’ve been sick. I go into a place that has “Bandeja Piasa” Which is this huge oval plate with avocado, rice, pork and beans, cherizo (like spicy italian sausage), pork, steak and a fried egg all on top. (basically, it’s to die for).
The price? 3.50$. Yea. That is to die for. So I’m eating my lunch and I see this girl try to go into the bathroom… She’s fumbling with the door and then all of a sudden she goes stiff and falls/collapses onto a motorcycle that was behind her! I jump up and grab/support her head/move her legs, do my “first-aid” thing and try to tell other people what to do. “support her head! CABEZA!”

the girl that fell then looks at me (she has a nasty cut on her head and isn’t focusing too well) and says “CAAAABeza”. Then she throws up. 
 
The drunk/drugged girl corrected my pronunciation… 

Live Primitive Crossfit has 3 gyms throughout Colombia. Their main one is in Bogota but they have 2 more in Medellin and Cali.

It’s located in a house. The “workout rooms” are split between the “garage” and the “living room”. The upstairs is where the coaches live and downstairs is a kitchen where there are constantly protein shakes being made with the blender. When I first walked in, I thought I was on a “big brother” of crossfit reality tv shows. “But in this season, no one gets kicked off. Instead PRs are made!”

Live Primitive have classes every 30 minutes in the morning and evenings. And because of this, their 85-95 monthly members have the advantage of smaller class sizes (2-9 people, depending on what time you go). Friday is also “Open Gym” where you can go for as long as you want and do whatever WOD you desire. Also, something rare, they have classes on Sunday. A lot of the members call this “hangover sunday wod” since the party mentality of Colombia can rival most college-frat parties.

The WODs are all about 5-15 minutes- which makes it possible to have 30 minute classes.

 

If you’re in the area and you want to see people who (literally) eat, sleep and breathe crossfit, go meet the gang from Live Primitive, Bogota.


 

Crossfit Mapana is located on a pedestrian-only street behind a door that looks like a speak-easy. After being buzzed in, you walk down a corridor to the main part of the gym where you see about 18 people working hard on the WOD.

Everyone in this place was friendly, smiling and kind to me the moment I walked in. I was even introduced during the warm-up where I felt like a special guest! What a way to make a girl feel awesome! J

Oh! I should also mention that Bogota is about 1.5miles up in altitude.  This is important to note because I was warned/told by a lot of athletes there to not push myself too hard because the air was thinner. (Great and useful information!) Also, just re-iterating the fact of the kindness of the members and coach.

Something that Mapana does that no one else does is a FULL MONTH of fundamental classes-which are actually separate classes from the rest of the main WOD. Members are told to do a full month before they are “graduated” into the main group. They found that this is a great way to work on your technique and building up endurance with fellow “newbs” before moving into the big-dog classes.

Speaking of “big dog” classes, they also have “RX classes”, which I really like the concept of.

The WOD was “Fight Gone Bad” in preparation of the charity competition this weekend (between the US and Colombians at the US Embassy). Because of the size of the place, we paired up and the 2nd person didn’t start until minute 3.

Overall, I loved this box. It was big, open, friendly; full of people that love what they are doing in and out of the box. Strong and great karma. I highly recommend this box to anyone traveling to Bogota.

 

EDIT:

Edit: I went back to Mapana and had a really-small-group Oly-lift session with Alejandro- a trainer at Mapana and probably one of the best Oly Lifter’s I’ve had the pleasure to meet/train with. We worked on my snatch- which I should note that I haven’t done since last year’s open (I hurt myself pretty bad on the 100lb snatch and have been scared ever since). After this session, I snatched 105 (failed at 115)–which is 5lbs more than what I failed at last year!– but learned a metric-crap-ton about my form and just how strong different parts of my body are!

 

Example: after I had failed, he had me drop the weight by 30lbs and try it again. Obviously(???), the bar flew up and over my head.
“See? You have the strength. Your hips are perfect. It’s just all in your head.”
Very eye-opening and priceless information.

Crossfit Origen (MDE) just moved a week before I showed up (check out their facebook for the new directions)! Apparently they used to be in a plaza-area where they would work out and passer-bys could watch the wods (talk about intimidating! NO RESTING!). But now they are in a house that used to be owned by a fuen-sheui teacher. The architecture of the house is pretty remarkable and it also has a pool in the back and will be able to host kick-ass bbqs once they are all set up. They are constructing the “adult” box outside and the “crossfit kids” will be inside.

Personally, this is, hands-down, my favorite box location I’ve been to in my “career” of crossfit. I’ve always felt like Crossfit was my second home, and being here, it actually is A HOME. So I instantly felt welcome. They say that once a Colombian invites you into their home, you are family. I felt this way once I stepped foot into Origen.

Aside from the location the other coaches and athletes were above and beyond kind and welcoming- reinforcing the “I feel like I’m family” feeling.

With this said- let’s get to the wod! I liked this place so much that I worked out twice here. Since they didn’t have a lot of rigs up (again, they had just moved a week ago) a lot of the wods were based on weight-plates or med-balls (the small things that they had room for/could easily haul out of storage).

Hey! You can do crossfit anywhere, right? Here is your proof!

The first WOD was

200 stepups (100 each leg)

21-15-9-15-21

kettle-bell swings (with a plate)

Rows (pulling the plate to your chest)

Over-shoulders (swinging the plate from your torso to each shoulder)

Hollow-rocks

200 stepups. (100 each leg)

The worst part of this was the step-ups—which in the humidity made me a sweaty mess. (this is a common theme in the tropics for me, apparently.)

The 2nd day was a bunch of tabata-like gymnastic moves.

Crabs, grasshoppers, lat-moves, boxing punches, rowing, running with a med-ball, etc.

I also love any box that can teach me new ways to master a skill that I don’t quite have down yet (like my stupid muscle-up). Both coaches were really patient and showed me a lot of new ways/new tricks on how to force my hips/kip up.

If you are looking to train or have a great time in an amazing environment, please check out Crossfit Origen! They’ve been around for 3 years and have a bunch of great coaches that will help you with whatever athletic goal you wish to achieve.

Crossfit Fuerza is located off of Las Vegas ave and very easy to find on the 3rd floor of a building. (first task: Climb 3 flights of stairs!) I don’t know if I have mentioned this before or not, but all of Colombia has these things called “street signs”. Something that is foreign to other parts of Latin America. I never realized how much I depend on them until I got here.

Anyway- Fuerza also does boxing and other mixed-martial arts, so they have divided the box into 2 sections: Crossfit (open space with boxes, bars, racks, etc. and a boxing ring. Along the back wall is a faux-grass patch where warm-up runs are done.

I was pleasantly surprised when I walked up and found pistols on the board! PISTOLS! I haven’t seen that in a WOD since… uh… ever? Especially for a gym that has only been open for about a year and has a lot of newbies. They had a ton of scaling options and I was even asked about handstand pushup scaling/sequence options. (Always happy to share what I’ve learned!)

The WOD that I participated in was in 2 parts:
The first was a “EMOTM of 3 wall-climbers”. This is when you are in a pushup position with your feet against the wall, and then you climb up the wall with your feet until your belly touches the wall. Then climb back down. Sure, seems easy. Try doing this for 10 minutes. I was a sweaty mess after minute 4. My shoulders started giving out at the end. The next day I couldn’t scratch my head. AWESOME!

The next part was 4 rounds of:
Run 500 meters (this was only difficult because their grass-patch is about 30 meters-ish. This meant that I had to do math. Which I’m terrible at.)
10 box-jumps
20 double-unders (they were practicing double-unders this week.)
30 supermans.

Aside from the 6 people doing the wod were a bunch of guys doing a lot of random skill/strength training, which is always inspirational. It reminded me of a play-ground where one kid says “oh yea? Look what I can do!” and then the others trying to do more (but in a safe way). It’s a great encouraging environment with a big following.

If you’re in the neighborhood and want to check out a box that has a lot going for them, check out Fuerza.

I stumbled up to BAQ Crossfit after a day of walking around with my 25lb (13kg) backpack in the blazing sun. Cathy greeted me and told me about the box, the events that they are planning on doing (civil wars against santa marta), and other competitions (tough mudder!) that they are working towards.

While the box is relatively new (5 months) and has a healthy following so far (8 people were in the class I watched and 6 showed up the next morning for the 7am class!) I was more impressed that they were able to find a warehouse-type space in the middle of the busy city. (Funny enough, it’s located right behind “Bourbon Street”, a bar that is modeled after New Orleans famous Bourbon street and has all the proper decorations. Half of me wants to sit outside (when the bar is open) with a beer and cheer on the crossfitters who are running.)

I told Cathy that I wasn’t going to work out that day, but I would be in tomorrow. She asked if I wanted to bring my backpack back because we were going to be doing Murph.

guh…. Murph? I said no to the backpack (not without taking a picture, though!) and showed up the next day for my beating.

Murph:

run a mile
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 squats
run a mile.

While there is very little scaling done at BAQ, everyone who finished the workout was definitely a “CSI victim” (where you can lay down and have an outline of your body drawn by the sweat pouring off your body.

Did I mention that it’s 27(C… that’s 80 degreesF) here at 6am?

 

Anyway, if you are ever in Barranquilla and want to get ready for the craziness that Carnival is surely going to inflict on your body, this is the place to come.