Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Month in the Capital

So I have finally escaped the clutches of Bogota and am happily enjoying warmer weather.  It turned out to be an interesting month as I tried to collect all the items I needed before I headed further south.  As I feared the things I needed we quite unusual, so much so that I had to have a few of them specially made. The first item I scratched of my list was a dining room sized mosquito net.  The faces of the sales staff made it clear that it was rare for individuals such as myself to request 44 meters of mosquito netting, 10 meters of zipper and 44 meters of ribbon.

These materials at least were fairly easy to track down and will soon be assembled once I take the final measurements at the cabin site.  Unfortunately some of the other items i needed were much more of a headache to acquire.

A common issue I have found during my visits to different sites in the Amazon is that mattresses collect two problematic bedfellows: bed bugs & moisture.  The problem with bed bugs is obvious and moisture causes the mattresses to smell and become damaged.  So my solution  was to purchase waterproof covers for all the mattresses.  After  days walking around the city it was made clear to me that I would need to have them custom made. Unfortunately I had no idea who would be able to make them.  It was not until I had visited a few of the major textile areas of the city that I was directed to the tent makers, who were the only ones that could produce vulcanized seams.  Once I found someone to handle that project it was on to find organic soap.  Again days were spent searching the city with nothing to show for my trouble. A couple of days spent online searching for possible Colombian manufacturers finally bore results in the form of an organic market open only on Saturdays. The Mercado Org├ínico Consciente Y Solidario  offers the normal fare of organic vegetables but they also had soaps on sale, however not the 30 litres I needed so I had to leave them with that assignment.

Aside from these 2 products I was on the look out for a number of others. Books were a major one. Unfortunately there is a shortage of good books and guides covering the species found in Colombia and in the Amazon.  I already own most of the few that exist but I was on the hunt for more even if they were in Spanish.  It was a long and difficult search but one that bore some fruit.  A couple of  beautiful books on the Colombian Amazon as a whole, a guide to Colombian insects,  2 guides on Colombian mammals, 2 guides to Colombian plants and a history of the Colombian Amazon have joined my expanding library.

It turned out to be a wise decision to give myself time to collect everything because my custom orders with the exception of the soap were delayed.  Both the uniforms and the mattress covers ended up being finished 2 weeks after I had been promised they would be done and I didn't collect the final items until the day before my scheduled flight.

My time in Bogota was not all bad though.  A few new friends, a free rock festival, some excellent dining and some beautiful sights helped counteract the more stressful moments.

  So a hectic month is over and I have managed to get myself and what ended up growing to over 300 pounds of luggage to Leticia alongside the Amazon River.  Despite being no less busy and knowing it will be a couple of weeks before I am out wandering in the forest, the change of setting has been more than welcome.