More than 200km in two days finds me in Puerto Berrio- a bustling fishing port on the Rio Magdalena. I am knackered, filthy, a little sunburnt .. but in excellent spirits.
I was a little surprised to find such a big town here, but I was overlooking the size and importance of the river.

Mario jr. accompanied me for the first part of yesterday- he was patient indeed as I slowly climbed the hill out of Bucaramanga.

The road descended to below 100m in places- I camped last night in a beautiful field- illuminated by the moon, distant lightning, and thousands of fireflies.
(Less idyllic were the mosquitos, quite aggressive ants, spiders, caterpillars, and any number of unidentifiable flying things.) My tent kept the rain out, and the sweat in.

Twice today I asked about distance- both times the reply was in how long it would take a motorcycle; this was pretty accurate, in fact- assuming a moto averages about 80km/h.

There is oil here- I saw a few nodding donkeys yesterday- but the truckers I had breakfast with were involved in moving tar sands. One who was a little late to the party exclaimed that ‘the gringo arrived on a bicycle! ‘ .. his friend, who I’d been speaking to replied ‘Scottish!- it’s different, and he understands..’ ‘Si! Entiendo!’ I piped up, with more enthusiasm than my ropey spanish deserves.

The plains here are pretty flat- there are enough trees to stop me burning totally, and enough hard shoulder to make the constant passage of tankers in both directions bearable. Lots of encouragement in the form of honking if horns and thumbs up.
At one point, a cement truck that emerged from a side road honked and pulled up next to me- the driver threw me a small bag of water, and apologised for it not being cold, before roaring off in a cloud of blue diesel smoke.

I met my first fellow cycle tourist today- Matteo. He is Spanish, and headed in the opposite direction. He was almost as surprised to see me as I was him.. but said that once I hit the road from Medellin to Cali, I will encounter many more foreigners on bikes.