An Oil Change, an LCD and a Ticket to Ride! Barranquilla, Colombia

It’s been five weeks in Barranquilla, four of which have been spent largely in agony and depression about the unfortunate state of our motorcycle and watching the money slip through our fingers as it gets repaired.

What were the costs, approximately?

2,108,000COP Fixing the bike (Though I very probably missed a thing or two in that number)
925,000COP Accommodation
700,000 Food & Drink
TOTAL 3733000COP or just over 2000USD

But today, 15th of March 2013, we depart to face the great wi[l]de world once again!

With a roughly 500Km ride yesterday the bike engine has seen its first 1000 kilometres and I take the bike to Honda Supermoto Atlantico first thing in the morning for the prescribed oil and -filter change. I thought I heard something like CAM chain tensioner related clacking during yesterday’s ride so I have them change the currently installed after-market chain tensioner I got in Boa Vista for the Honda original part I bought as a spare here. While we’re at it I also get them to verify valve clearance to be sure nothing’s run astray there. It costs me 35000COP plus the 2 x Motul full synth oil I bought for 25000COP per litre.


Before midday I’m back at our temporary home and ready to get packing. We won’t be hanging around in the area until we complete the next 2000Km until the next scheduled oil change is due; we’ve been here far too long already! We just have to hope the bike makes it.

Suddenly Ebru has a brainwave – the same brainwave I had a few days ago but she didn’t hold in such high esteem at the time: perhaps before we leave Barranquilla, we should go to Johnny Laptop and get Ebru a new LCD screen. Even if it is the AUO model which failed us before, at least she’ll have a screen. Glad she came to her senses.


An hour later we’re at Johnny’s shop and a new screen gets installed in Ebru’s laptop. In fact Fortuna has been so kind to us, Johnny has managed to source got a Samsung LTN116 model somewhere, which is compatible and higher quality than the other generic type, which gives us peace of mind. Also it’s a matt display which means we don’t have to worry about glare. Johnny has fixed us up twice now and we’ve decided he’s our hero in Colombia. For five months we have been without the use of our laptops and finally, here in Barranquilla, this man has managed to get us the replacements we need – new, good quality for an honest price (I can’t remember exactly but it was about 110USD). You can’t ask for more than that!

Thanks Johnny, you’re our Colombian hero! Give us a shout if you ever swing by our neighbourhood.

Here are his details if you ever need a Laptop repair in Colombia:
JB Service & Repairs, Local 1308, Parque Central, Carrera 53/50-12
Johnny E Barros –
Tel: 3702478 Cell: 3004470167 / 3126425899

Back at the house we load up the motorbike and get ready to go. It’s been such a long time since we’ve loaded up fully I was wondering if I’d remember how to do it.

The great escape. Another great escape! Can this be happening? I feel nervous. I feel like at any moment my legs might fail and I’ll drop the bike. Getting out on the big long road again seems foreign and a little scary. This has obviously been quite an ordeal for us.


It’s 16:00 by the time we leave Barranquilla. It’s not far to Santa Marta, only about 120Km but we’re sure to head into traffic and strong winds, so it’ll take us a couple of hours to get there. We could have waited for the following morning but we’ve been in one place long enough and every day we delay is time and money down the pan.

We say goodbye to Brenda (Garret is out) and saddle up to go. Our big moment has finally arrived. Funny how we picture the arrival of big moments in our lives as intimate, slow-moving events, but when they arrive they’re come and gone in a flash, you don’t even seem to have the time to realize they’re happening.
(Lesson there, perhaps? Celebrate hard the day before…)

Well, despite all the head ache we’ve been through in this town, I have to reflect back and say:

After having spent a good while here in normal residential accommodation, I can say that I like it. It’s got a flair about it: the same bed each night, kitchen to cook your food, same private bathroom…


And Barranquilla itself: popping down to the street corner for a casual beer, the constant ring of Colombian music in the scorching air, the wandering bands of (generally old and somewhat drunk) men moving through the streets, playing music for a few bucks or a drink… the interesting foods (like cheese-guava bocadillos) and heavenly, refreshing drinks (like coco-limon)… 24 hour bakeries, a huge pizza slice for a buck… and the general good-natured, talkative and fun-loving attitude of the local people… and of course, not to forget, the Carnaval and the good company of our friends (!)…


…yes (bike mechanics aside), we did have fun in Barranquilla!

In fact, we have to leave ASAP or we might never move on!

Adios Barranquilla, it’s been ‘REAL’!


Garret & Brenda, thank you so much for arranging us a place to stay and showing us around Barranquilla, thus offering us more of an ‘insider’ insight into the country than most travellers might receive – the the food, the habits, the culture etc. We had some tough issues on our minds, but over all, Barranquilla was awesome! Thanks again for showing us a good time!


OK, we do still have a whole lot of Colombia to explore, so we’re not saying goodbye to this wonderful country, it’s people and culture just yet! Posts to follow…