Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Off to Colombia I go!

It is catch up time, what with Google locking me out of my account and all…

Let’s see, the flight was uneventful save the decades old movie offerings and what was hands down the worst in flight meal that I have ever been served.  Absolutely inedible.

Thanks Air Canada Rouge, you get the coveted Golden Barf Award.

Air Canada also neglected to announce to the passengers on board when they were handing out the Colombian immigration form that Canadian Citizens need to go through a special immigration line.  Which was totally understandable, because of course a flight from Toronto would not be full of, you know, Canadians!

Seems that a couple of years ago the Canadian Government imposed an $80 visa application fee on Colombian citizens wanting to come to Canada, so the Government of Colombia retaliated by imposing their own $80 fee just for Canadians arriving to Colombia.
The signage at immigration was not clear, which had everyone lining up in the main maze like line, not aware that there is a “special” line set aside for Canadian Citizens.  It was pure chance that I noticed a couple changing course and overheard them talking about the need to line up separately, which had me scooting under the ropes to join my fellow Canucks.  

Lonely Planet did not warn me of the tax.  Trip Adviser did not warn me about the tax.  Air Canada had multiple opportunities to pass on this tidbit... reservation, confirmation,  web check in, bag drop off and of course, the mid air announcements about filling the immigration form, but didn't.  They totally dropped the ball on this one… super big thanks.  

For the next 30 minutes, one after another, Canadians that had waited in the general line were “escorted” to their proper place and told to go to the back of the line.  I felt bad for them, but after the especially pokey pace of our line up (as compared to the brisk pace of the main line) I was simply not in the mood to let them in front of me. 

Sorry and all that.

Cash, debit or charge card? was the question I was asked.  I wonder how much money it cost them to put in special terminals to be able to collect the tax. I am smart enough to know that those words need be spoken only to myself, silently.  No need to antagonize the nice lady deciding whether or not I should be allowed to enter her country.

I flew Toronto to Bogota, and had a four hour layover to collect my bags and head to departures to check in for a flight to Cartegena.  Was not keen on staying in Bogota and thought some Caribbean Beach time would do me some good.  My second flight of the day was a short hour and a half and then I was disembarking into the soothing tropical evening heat.  

Ahhh… perfect.  

I headed into the airport through an absolutely lovely walkway lined by open wooden slats laden with interesting tropical plants, many adorned with "to-die-for" flowers. And despite all the warnings about the frequency of luggage going missing, my bags arrived safe and sound.

Once again there was a cheerful cab driver waiting for me with a sign in hand with my name on it.  Yay! easy transport to the Hostal.  A pleasant check in process, and it was time to don short sleeves and head out into the streets of Cartegenas’ Beautiful Historic City Centre.  

Absolutely Perfect.

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