Dave and I headed to Jardin this weekend – or at least, we tried to go to Jardin. In theory you can get from Amaga to just about anywhere in Antioquia (the massive county that includes Medellin) by flagging down a passing bus. In reality, however, just because you want a bus to stop and pick you up, does not mean it’s going to happen.

On Friday we set out around the hottest part of the day in search of a big blue bus that was rumored to pass through Amaga on its way to Jardin. You couldn’t miss it. It said Jardin right on the front. We had heard tips from our fellow volunteers about taking alternative busses and vans, but we were set on snagging the bright blue one and wanted to settle in for a smooth two-and-a-half ride. But that’s not at all how it panned out.

We were hopeful at first, waiting next to a kiosko, which is essentially a roadside café that sells beer, and watching Jardin-bound busses whiz by us in the opposite direction. Surely that was a good sign. Yet all that came by were the occasional public taxi full of passengers, semi trucks and busses with different destinations.

After baking in the sun for half an hour Dave and I gave in and bought a beer from the kiosko. I thought maybe restaurant logic would apply, and if we moved from our spot for a second, the bus would come. It sort of worked; about 45 minutes later – long after we had finished our beer – that giant blue bus rounded our corner, trailing a sluggish semi. This was it! All we had to do was flag it down! Stifling the urge to frantically jump up and down and wave at the bus, Dave and I assumed the roadside Colombian stance of one arm out clouded in an air of ambivalence. Ready.

But just as we had our stance down, the blue bus started edging along the driver-side of the semi truck. Clearly it didn’t matter that this tiny straight-away was a no-passing zone. Our blue bus was on a mission, and this truck was slowing it down. And just like that, it slipped alongside the truck and disappeared for the few seconds when it passed us by. We never even had the chance to wave.

We didn’t give up here, though we probably should have. In the end we made it to Jardin – the following day – and spent another hour and a half spotting blue bus mirages and flagging down anything bigger than a car headed in that direction. Just as the sun started setting, we headed back into Amaga to indulge our defeat with a michelada.

Here’s what Jardin looks like…if you can get there.


February 9, 2014