// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.
IPIALES NARINO DEPARTMENT From Ecuador I crossed the Rio Chiquito into Colombia. Border crossings were a fairly familiar venture at this point. There's generally two towns, one on either side of the border, rarely more than a mile or two apart and sometimes not even that far. There's also very often a no-man's land between the two countries which has to be crossed on foot. Such was the case here, a bridge. Colombia made quite a good first impression. Not only were the people warm and friendly, despite all the recent hardships over the last few decades, but not far from the border is the staggering Las Lajas Sanctuary, a catholic cathedral spanning a river canyon.
SILVIA CAUCA DEPARTMENT Hidden in the mountains of western Colombia is the tiny town of Silvia. This is a market town for the indigenous Guambiano people, one of the most distinctive groups in South America, given their blue ponchos, pink trim, and bowler hats. It's also one of the rare groups where the men are just as likely to wear traditional dress as the women (in my experience, it's normally the case that indigenous women wear traditional dress while men just wear soccer jerseys, sneakers, and jeans). I stayed a few days here, enjoying the green valley landscapes and fresh air. You can see the house where I stayed in the last two photos. Also note the (very colorful) public buses used in Colombia, called colectivos.
CALI VALLE DEL CAUCA DEPARTMENT If you read my Ecuador page, you know that I lost nearly two months worth of photos when I lost my laptop to the Amazon River. Just as in Ecuador, I was left with almost no photos of Colombia. The photos you see here (and the ones above) were taken on my smaller backup camera, which I rarely use. Indeed a few cities I visited, such as Pasto and the colonial white city of Popayan, are completely lost to me. It's as if a whole piece of the trip is missing. But c'est la vie. Back to Cali: This is the third largest city in the country and not long ago was home to ongoing narco gang wars that gave Cali some of the highest murder rates in the world. Fortunately the security situation in Colombia has improved greatly in recent years, the civil wars have all but ended, and Cali is trying to encourage the return of tourists. The graffiti in the final shot says "Are all the Members of Congress bad? Or did you just vote bad?"
LETICIA AMAZONAS DEPARTMENT Leticia is a small city buried deep in the Amazon rain forest at Tres Fronteras, which is the point in the jungle where Colombia, Peru, and Brazil meet. The Amazon basin and the city were flooded when I arrived, so getting around was done by boat or wooden planks turned into raised sidewalks, which you can see below. Incidently, on the recommendation of a Swiss man who had married a local woman, I took a trip deep into the jungle to her village for a ceremony with the village shaman. You can see that indigenous village (and the small jungle hut where the ceremony took place) in the last two photos.