Nudie Beachie

Trip Start Aug 18, 2005
Trip End Jan 30, 2006

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, January 27, 2006

I finally got off my ass and left Santa Marta for the Parque Nacional Tayrona. Again, I got screwed on a taxi getting there, but that has become a frequent ritual. I have ceased any polite behavior towards those that are trying to take advantage of me. Unfortunately this willingness to be rude has led to a somewhat general negative feeling, so I donīt know if it should continue. The taxi dropped us off at the park entrance, and from there we hire a jeep to take us farther into the park. The jeep driver raised the price on us, so I was quite annoyed. In any case, we arrived at the administrative center and began the 90 minute walk to the intended beach and campsite, which was called El Cabo. The first beach that we came across was called Arrecifes. Since it was the closest to the park entrance, it was by far the most popular and largest. Unfortunately at Arrecifes the waves and current are so strong that swimming is prohibited. The next beach we crossed was called La Piscina. We got to see some of the boulders that are scattered around so much of PNT. The scenery of blue water, huge boulders, large waves, green trees, and tall mountains was so impressive. After another 20 minutes of walking we finally reached El Cabo, and it was definitely worth the extra effort. To pitch a tent costs $2, and to crash in a hammock costs $1.50. I set up camp, but it was too late in the day to start any sort of hike, and the newly present overcast cooled me off enough that to take a dip in the ocean wasnīt so appealing anymore. So, take a nap, have dinner, read, and then call it a night. Following a simple breakfast the next day, I was off on a hike by 8:15. The destination was an Indian village called El Pueblito. The trail was beautiful, with palm trees, boulders, lizards, and a little cave action. One hour and quite a bit of climbing later I finally reached the ruins. It was really northing more than a series of oval platforms. It turns out that some Tayrona Indians still live in the village. However, the village is nothing more than three huts that are inhabited and well-kept, and another three that are unkept and left for the tourists to view. A young Indian girl gave me a guest book to sign, but she never responded to any of my questions, so I can assume that she doesnīt speak spanish or is very shy. The Indians built their city on oval platforms as a symbol. There is a huge mountain nearby that they consider the heart of La Madre Universal. The mountain is actually the tallest in the world in combination with its proximity to the ocean. Fourty-two kilometers from the sea, and 5800 meters high. And so they have built the platforms in the shape of an oval to signify the vagina of La Madre Universal, from whose vagina all life comes. Many of the customs and beliefs of the Tayrona tribe are based around ideas that symbolize female body parts. I refilled my water in the river and started the return journey, which should be a lot of descending. On the way down I extended my legs too much and ripped my shorts, not in the crotch but in the thigh. So that rip continually got worse the rest of the way down, gaining me some odd looks from people climbing up. I saw so many lizards on the way down. They kept popping their heads out to look at me, and then retreat at the last second. I reached El Cabo completely sweaty, so I got out of my god-forsaken shorts and finally jumped into the ocean to cool off. It was really nice, but I realized that I donīt know what to do once I am in the water. Float around for a bit, but then I get bored and want to get out. So, I embarked on the next leg of my hike and went off to explore the other two beaches. The next one was quite nice and completely empty except for two Australian guys that came to the park with me, and the next one was empty except for the seven or eight naked people wading and sunbathing. I donīt know the etiquette in that situation, so I just tried not to look when I walked by them. This beach was quite impressive as well. The mountains, rocks, waves, and color combined into something so beautiful. Unfortunately the trail ended at the nudie beach, so my hike was over. Near El Cabo was a small peninsula composed of boulders, so I figured that I would climb that and get different view of the bays. After convincing myself that I really wasnīt scared of the crashing waves beneath me and the tall wet rocks that were supporting me, I continued and made it out as far as I could mentally do it. Whatever fear I had was worth ignoring because the visuals were extraordinary. There were a couple of small islands nearby that I could see. The waves were huge right before they hit the break. On a downside I was running out of time and had to return to Santa Marta. So, I reluctantly packed up my camp and began the trudge back to the administration center. I was only wearing my swimtrunks, t-shirt and sandals, so all of my belongings were in my bag, making it as heavy as it could be. After arriving in Santa Marta I decided that I would just walk the few blocks back to my hostel. Well I eventually made it. I overheard the owner tell some new patrons where it was safe to walk around the area, and the one place he said not to go was the neighborhood I had just walked through and gotten lost in. I was wearing itty-bitty red swim trunks and an identical red t-shirt to match. The clothes mixed with my big pack must have looked pretty ridiculous to some of the street thugs I passed. And, for sure, I did get some wierd looks.
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