Uber, Mud, Machetes & A Mountain We Almost Didn’t Live To See

Oh, what a day. Maria, the hostel front desk woman, is washing my clothes and shoes, and sprinkling in some smell good fabric softeners. She understand my pain right now, and probably feels partly to blame for the shenanigans and foolery that took place today. It went something like this:

9:45am: Mariana, our Uber driver, arrives to take us to the much talked about Monserrate, a mountain dominating Bogotá, sitting 3,152 meters above sea level to overlook the entire beautiful city. It’s a Suzuki Alto to help you paint the picture of the coming story.

10:00am: We’ve made our way through the little traffic and we’re headed up the mountain. Mariana is driving a stick, so we’re putting a long, but it’s a great view and she’s doing her best to explain everything we’re looking at using the English she learned in school, and we’re meeting her halfway with our spanish.

10:15am: We’re driving down a sketch road that couldn’t possibly be the route to this grand piece of history, but hey, we’re visitors, and she must know the city well enough by now to know all the shortcuts.

10:16am: This is definitely not the way to the Monserrate. Perhaps to a chicken, cow, or dog farm, but not Monserrate. How do I know? Because of the road that looks impossible to drive, especially in a Suzuki Alto. Suddenly, the car begins sliding backward down a cliff and Tiffany yells, “everybody get out now!” Mariana throws the car into park and we all hop out.

You’ll want to pay attention to this part because it’s important. Mariana, being a dear about the entire thing, gets back in and I guide her to back up because this is obviously not the way, and we must back up far enough so we can turn around and head out of this abandoned forest where I’ve already imagined a machete toting gang would find us and behead us for trespassing on their land. Hell, if it was my land, I would. While backing up, Mariana turns the wheel the wrong way and she’s now in a large mud ditch with her tire spinning and spinning and spinning. “Here we go. Here’s that adventure I knew was coming,” I thought and probably said aloud.

Me, Tiffany, and Chanel try pushing, pulling, and praying, but of course, nothing seemed to work. I volunteer as tribute as Tiffany and Chanel make their way back down the abandoned road to one of the farm houses far down the path, next to the signs that read “Dangerous and Vicious Dogs Here.” Mariana and I continue to try more and more, but to no avail.

11:20am: Tiffany and Chanel appear down the road with help! It’s Annalillia. Analillia grew up around these parts and this is certainly not the first car she’s rescued. She’s dressed in overalls and a light jacket, reminding me of a young girl on a large farm having summer fun chasing chicken. Her cap promotes some strange cerveza and and boots are made for large floods. She’s ready.

We push, pull, then watch Annalillia, who’s no more than 120pounds, lift the car and move it a few inches to the right. She’s the strongest out there. Hours pass by with the threat of mosquitoes, torrential downpour, and death by starvation. Nothing works. By now, I’m wrist deep in dirt, mud, grass and water, doing everything I can to push this along.

Uber?! Is this a first?

4hours 43minutes later, the car is free, and we’re pushing down the mountain, still in good spirits, trying to figure out exactly where the hell we are, laughing at the stories that will be told of this. Purely amazing to say the least. We survived, and walked back into the hostel, told Maria what happened, and she called us a taxi and explained to them where we were going.

Monserrate, when we finally made it, still hungry, was beautiful. Today was an amazing day. Oh! And I was able to take a photo with a machete that belonged to a man who was actually in the forest.

But Uber, I’m gonna need compensation and a refund for that 4hour 23minute ride you charged me for.

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.