25 October 2011

Life in Apartadó, Colombia

I have been blessed to spend the last 2 weeks in Apartadó, hosted by Beltran Florez, a motorcycle mechanic.  There is always plenty going on, and this photo essay covers vehicle culture in Apartadó along with a few excursions in the surrounding countryside.  Apartadó is flat, hot, and humid, but it makes up for that with wonderful food and kind-hearted people.
Meet Beltran.

Yeah, that is a painting of Don Quixote, Jesus, and Simon Bolivar.
Belmotos is strictly business!
As they say here, from the tree comes the twig.  Beltran and his son, Santiago
We eat motors here at Belmotos
Monkey and Fruit. How do you play?

showing how to make peanut butter, since it is not available here.

these gloves were new in nicaragua.  a reminder of the paddling journey

always a sucker for silly socks.  I love me some ''foodball''

Daniella (15), Santiago (11), Beltran (36) making squinty faces

you aren't cool unless you have a mohawk mullet with flames on the side.

luxury service in the motor-trike taxi.  i like the dual baby ladders

Beltran stops for all stranded bikers. 
Danielle and Santi on a house call.

Scooter diagnosed as a bad cylinder in 15 seconds

top end of motor removed and ready for the machine shop in 30 minutes

price of gas and diesel in colombian pesos per gallon. 

off to the river

Beltran and his crew, and their ''otra naranjas''  AKA other halves of the orange.

old chevy and banana trees

The bananas always have lots of fun trails to explore

motorcycle escort to carry the old people and dogs with sore paws

biking on a rickety swing bridge.  always fun

amateur boxing is a great way to get your lip busted

Translation of T-shirt:  Smile if you want me.

Scrap metal run on a Bajaj Classic. 

Land Rover Santana tub at the scrap yard.  Sigh.


inside a Wama!

Wama seed! The white stuff is sweet and pithy.

chopped land rover

since about 95% of traffic here is motorcycle, the handicapped still ride.  Here, the shifter is modified suicide-style.  He has to take his hand off the right handlebar to shift on the left side.  The sticker says: Disability is not a problem, it is a reflection.

This bolt-on drive mechanism is common for the wheelchair bound.

Head gasket replacement and top end rebuild with basic tools...

Scrap run!  Aluminum runs about $1.25 a kg, or 55 cents/lb and iron is about $0.20 a kg.  Here, a tricycle with driver  ran 240 kg of scrap to the yard for $3.50.

All the banana trucks here are old American Fords, Chevys, Dodges, and Internationals.  Each night they all park in a dusty lot on the edge of town.  All customized by their owners.

Here comes the lime trike!

Local boys show off their wheelies on a Honda Cub 90cc

Diahatsu pickup truck

bags of cacao (chocolate) ready for sale

yum!  where chocolate comes from.

a motorcycle culture takes its toll on the bodies of the populace.  cute girl with some nice road rash.

the long wheelbase jeeps here are used as taxis.  this was a political parade, that turned into a water fight.  our street became a gauntlet for all the buses and taxis.

the local boys were popping all the balloons and dousing anyone who came near.

nobody was safe

who did that?

checkers is popular here.  the rules are more involved than american checkers, adding significant strategy to the game.

things got exciting when the gringo gave the local expert a run for his money.

tricked out willy's.  yes, the jerry can in back is orange, too.

the discotecas here compete for business with deafening music, big screen TVs, crazy lights, and fog machines.

It didn't stop these motorbiking Canadians from joining us for a wild night out.

Cruising through the bananas in search of another swimming hole 
Beltran always knows the back way.  But good luck keeping up with his hotrodded 1976 Yamaha RS125 as he disappears around the bend.

Beltran's mom and daughter get to work on some sancocho, a delicious traditional Colombian soup.

The local women are always checking out the gringos.  So far, they don't seem too impressed.

Beltran and Giovani are chopping plantains, yucca, and potatoes for the soup.

Paseo de Olla means, ''pot trip.''  you load the pot on your motorbike, and ride to the river to cook out.  A colombian tradition.

Good swimming holes are abundant.

just a reminder that boys have bad ideas all around the world.

exploring the river is always fun, even if everyone bleeds or gets sunburned

ingredients for sancocho:  beef, tomato, onion, boullion, potato, yucca, plantain, salt, lime juice, and cilantro

Troy and Nathan rode down from Canada.  A great day on the river with new friends.

headed back to Apartadó

true Paseo de Olla form.  Man, woman, dog, pot, motorbike.

Big motorbikes with Canadian tags always draw a crowd.

especially when the police want a bribe.

yesterday, i joined a Spanish marine biologist for a day checking out a sustainable oyster cultivation project

we crossed the gulf of Uraba to the mangroves

the oysters?  they´re in there somewhere.

in the labyrinth of mangroves, GPS is the only way to find the sample areas.

yes, they are growing!
A little bit of life....


Anonymous said...

Yeah! I hope to stop by this place when I get on the road. Thanks Mike. Your blog is being spread by your internet friend from Texas!
-Taylor (guy who emailed you)

dd_traveler said...

looks like the good life :)

lidia said...


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