Santa Rosa

Trip Start May 2006
Trip End Aug 17, 2006

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Thursday, August 10, 2006

The next town from San Pablo, Santa Rosa is reachable by road. However, it is up the hills a bit, and we were told that it was a bit safer to go by boat and then take a short safer ride up into the hills. In Colombia, the guerillas have generally fled to remote mountains or jungle, and the Serrania San Lucas was no exception.

An hour boat ride took us to Cerro Burdo, a tiny outpost on the river that we immediately
left in taxi. If I havenīt said it yet, the river feels more like a really long lake or inland sea. Many islands dot it and navigation if far from obvious. The 20 minute taxi ride winded up into the hills. The cattle pastures blurred by as the driver took full adavantage of the excellent road. We arrived at pleasant plaza and took a room at a hotel across from the mayor's office. It was the cleanest and nicest room yet. We figured the mayor in such a town wouldn't be too busy, but after waiting about 20 minutes outside his office we gave up, as it seemed about a dozen other people wanted words with him. Instead we talked to another man who gave us some basic information about the village and then gave me a history book of the town. Tell me please, is it common in the U.S. for small towns to have their own history books? As far as I know, Great Neck doesnīt have one.

I then took a walk and enjoyed the picturesque town. Dirt roads rippled across the hills, children played on dirt heaps, hurling themselves off. The townīs only pool hosted a birthday party. Bright clothes hung out to dry along the flanks of weathered wooden shacks. Only blocks from the main plaza, horses, cows, chicken, and dogs frolicked in a field. The setting sun shown brilliantly, turning the sky and the mountains into golden dust.

I should mention a few things. The state police presence in this town was stronger than anywhere else. I believe this is because of guerillas in the mountains. Although this town was more beautiful than the others, it was no less poor, and resembled the other towns in terms of food, businesses, etc. The lack of variety is more apparent than in the U.S. though that is mostly due to the degree of consumerism. Here they donīt make much effort in disguising the same products in different packages or stores. You will find this phenomenon in all of Latin America. It takes a different country or radical environmental change to really notice a difference. Despite the monotony and povery, people here do not seem to be suffering, just basically living out their life, neither thrilled nor depressed.
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