The Least Intrepid Traveler—4 cities in 3 weeks

San Gil by night with a little photo experimentation

I’m in the running for the prestigious Least Intrepid Traveler award; I am back in San Gil.   I had fully intended to go to Venezuela, but I am glad I went by the consulate this morning in Bucaramanga.   In a converted garage on a nondescript street, it was confirmed that I don’t need a visa, but I do need a sort of tourist card.   It is free, but I need to submit a photo of me with a blue background and it takes three(!) days to process.   I asked if I could get it immediately at the border, but he shrugged inscrutably.   Last time I went to Venezuela I wasn’t let in and I had to go back to a consulate and get a visa.

I don’t think the photo is for the card itself.   I don’t know why they ask for it.     Next year the requirement will be a photo of me in a pink tutu and blowing a kiss, which is only for their Wall of Shame in a back room.

I decided to come back to San Gil which will likely take me back to Bogota and a flight somewhere eventually.   I dreaded that nauseous bus, aka The Long Barf Express, but this time no one heaved, and I smartly ate very little beforehand and listened to a Bill Simmons podcast on the way.   It’s an amazingly varied scenic trip for a distance of less than 100km.

Psst! You want a travel tip from–absolutely free? When you have a chance of taking one of several buses to your destination, go with the bus with the oldest driver. I’m telling you, you don’t want some young hotshot overdosing on testosterone careening around those corners. Free tip! Who says you can’t get something for nothing these days?

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