Did we mean to spend half of the day exploring Manizales? No, but we’re happy we did. I mean if the lemon tree that is life drops a bunch of lemons on the ground what do you do? If you answered, “Just wait for them to rot and attract hornets so that you or one of your friends gets stung and goes into anaphylactic shock like Macauley Culkin at the end of My Girl,” well then you’ve got a morbid streak in you, not to mention a perhaps unhealthy recall of completely-forgettable ’90s movies. No, my friends, you make lemonade. I don’t think the group will mind this, me speaking on their behalf, but we all agreed that we want to come back to Manizales. It’s that rad. Will we? Only time, money, and perseverance can make that happen, but it’s a plan.
“In the meantime you’re supposed to drink the lemonade that’s in front of you rather than look a gift horse in the bush so we drank it in.”
This drinking-in of the city did put us off the back in terms of continuing our bike ride, and it wasn’t until midday that we finally started pedaling. Of course we had a few setbacks getting out of town, which you can read about below. Suffice it to say we had a leisurely introduction to Colombian Gravel, which is to say we got our griiiiiiind on at an easy pace. Yet the stars aligned and we arrived at the Shaolin Temple at dusk. Had we been more ambitious we would have most likely ridden right past the temple and camped in some rando finca splattered with cow shit. Not that it would have been awful, it just wouldn’t be my first choice, especially considering how truly wonderful the Shaolin Hostel was. All this is to say that when you’re out doing your thing in the world, often times your course of action is already prescribed, written in the stars and out of your hands, so you just have to go where the world tells you. Forcing it sucks. Don’t force it. You can be like water or you can be like a rock, just remember that no matter how strong the rock the water will always win—and we’re like 87% water or something so we’re always going to win. Make sense? Good.