The Lost City - Ciudad Perdida
Trip Start Nov 24, 2007
49Trip End May 15, 2008
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Today Ciudad Perdida (founded between 500 and 700 AD) is a growing tourist attraction only reachable on foot through an amazing jungle landscape taking three days and an obligatory licensed guide
Despite the unsettling events in 2003 in which 8 foreigners were kidnapped on the trail leading to the city by gorilla infantry, the region is presently considered safe and is heavily patrolled by the Colombian Army. The city itself is patrolled 24/7 by about 40 bored-out-of-their-mind young soldiers who attempt to amuse themselves by asking visitors for cigarettes in exchange for odd looking nuts they have picked up off the jungle floor or kindly obliging to take photos in true army-face fashion, that which they love more than anything.
From day one until day six I was blown away by the beautiful rivers, amazing swimming holes and cascading streams that served as a welcoming change and cool respite from the dense overgrown jungle vegetation that dominates the tropical landscape and the wide array of foreign sounds that emanate from the hidden forest
Our group chose to do a slightly different less traveled route which is more difficult than the normal route but never retraces old steps steps. It was worthwhile in the and as the scenery over the course of the last two days was dramatically more unspoiled and in my opinion more wild, more rugged and more beautiful. That said, the joy comes from the 18 or so river crossings you do in route to the Lost City, the healthy dose of white bread, cheese, onion, cucumber, tomato, beans, rice (of course), noodles and canned ham you receive along the way, the 1300 steps at the very end of the 3rd day that take you up above the gorgeous valleys blanketed in a shield of green to the majestic ruins and of course the awesome river pools that you swim in each day and drink out of at the same time. I`ll leave out the fact that our group encountered some massive poisonous snakes right along the trail, I pulled multiple ticks from my skin each day, your clothes will never completely be dry, a few people got pretty stomach ill along the way and if you go, check your shoes each morning because scorpions in the area are all too common
A little more on the indigenous groups of the area if you care to read.
We passed through a largely isolated Kougi village along the way and while definitely interesting to see how they live so simply and unchanged for so long, there was definitely nothing more strange than being a stranger in a strange land that is home to strange people. As we passed through areas in which obviously malnourished little kids were dressed in traditional mud colored loincloth attire and staring at us with big eyes as wide and bewildered as ours you had to wonder if you feel right standing right there before them. Later seeing that their older brothers and sisters bore the obvious signs of the outside world, wearing over sized Quiksilver and Nike shirts like little dresses down below their knees, equally partaking in the same long stare, you can`t help but be humbled as it sheds a different perspective on what you are doing at that very moment and what the land you are walking through means to them. Not only that, but at that moment as I adjusted my high quality "Native" brand sunglasses to shade my eyes from the scorching sun that we all equally stood beneath, it brought to mind the brash cultural collision taking forth at that very moment and made me wonder what the future holds for this crazy world that we live in. Should we not have been there? For now I`ll just leave it at that. Goodnight.