Me and my brother, Greg last year.

I did not make it to Brazil as planned for October 1st. I had my hotel reservations, two flight tickets (one to Rio and one to Manaus), and my eVisa for Brazil. I even had my boarding pass downloaded to my phone. I was all ready to leave later that day to Rio de Janeiro for a few days and then fly up Manaus to being my Amazon River trip. The only question was whether I wanted to take a boat into Peru and Ecuador, or head back to Bogota, Colombia afterwards. All that changed in the blink of an eye. Looks like I will have to try to do the Amazon River another season.

Why? Well, early that same morning I got a message about my brother who was found unresponsive after somewhere between 24 and 36 hours alone in his apartment. ‘Nuff said. The Brazil tickets were now useless to me. I booked a flight to Texas and was on a plane within hours. I got back and my brother, Greg was in ICU, but stable. I thought he was good to go at that point, only to realize my hopes were lost the next afternoon. An aneurysm from complications with high blood pressure took out my brother at 47 years of age. The whole experience seemed unreal. My sister, Camille was on top of things. She’s a nurse and her training was definitely indispensable in helping my mother and family understand what was happening. Beyond that, she was hugely helpful in organizing the arrangements for my brother’s funeral and cremation. I’d have needed a couple of weeks before even thinking about contacting a funeral home. And if that wasn’t enough, my grandfather died two weeks later. Even though it was not that much of a surprise at his age and condition, the reality of it still took a toll on all of us. October was the worst month of my life. But I’m not going to get into a bunch of “Woe is me” rants. Its done.

My Grandfather’s burial site, next to that of his beloved wife who proceeded him.

I spent the entire month in Texas and then I flew back to Colombia on November 3rd. I am currently back in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota. I decided to come back here and give this city some more time. I have never really appreciated capital cities that much, so I only scheduled 3 days here on my original visit in September. I quickly deduced that I was wrong. My stay at Selina Hotel was excellent. I met 2 or 3 new people that quite frankly, were very impressionable. And then I took a walking tour of the area I stayed in and learned some more about the city’s history as well as where it all fit into Colombia’s history as a whole. I may just take that tour again. Fernando Botero is from here and his museum is just down the street! And its free. That was something he was insistent on. No charge for exhibiting his work here.

I re-booked the same Selina Hotel as when I was here in September, but I got the upgraded, Rockstar room for my first 3 days. Its was a beautiful room, but I honestly think the last room may have been preferred. Sometimes it works out like that where the best room on the property actually isn’t. Possibly, that’s just me, though.

Four balconies (one behind the bed)
That is a stairway to the left that leads to the downstairs living room and bathroom

I wanted to stay in the same district area of La Candelaria, which is the oldest  (500 years old) section of the city. So after leaving Selina, I booked a week at La Candelaria Hostel, near Parque de los Periodistas, or Journalist’s Park. Its much more of a basic room compared to my room at Selina, but its also more typical of the hostels I stay in to save money. It’s also close to Monserrate, which is another thousand feet of elevation that I’ll hike for its excellent views of the city. I’m going to stay here in Bogota for at least a month, but I’m not certain exactly when I’ll head out or exactly to where. I know I’ll go through Ecuador and see the Galapagos Islands, but I don’t know how much I’ll see of the county in all. I have to be in Lima, Peru in January. That much I know. My daughter and her husband, along with my cousin and her hubby are coming to meet me there.

So the adventure continues. I’m back on the road and continuing with my journey. So when will I do Brazil and the Amazon River? Good question. The rainy season is well under way there now and flooding is soon to follow. I’d much rather not boat up the Amazon on such flooded currents with the banks overflowed. So possibly, I will likely pass through Paraguay and head into Brazil stopping in at Rio de Janeiro, by next March or April…that’s a guess. As for boating up the Amazon River, I can’t say for sure. The only possibility is maybe after I am coming back UP South America after Argentina and Chile. Its an option and I’ll just have to keep exploring them.