Journey to La Guajira
Trip Start May 2006
28Trip End Aug 17, 2006
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We picked up 4 more passengers on the other side and we were stuffed in the back seat.
The road lost its pavement, and became rather bumpy, which for some reason was soporific, but I could only nod off for an instant for fear of banging by head. For the next couple of hours we passed endless cattle ranches and at one point, right in front of us a dump truck unloaded about a ton of dirt across the road, making it impassable. I just laughed. A bulldozer came moseying down the road and flattened it for us. We picked up some campesinos who sat in the bed. When we reached pavement they got out, and we headed east. At Beconia, we reached a crossroads, N to Santa Marta, S to Bogotą and E to Valledupar. We waited for a massive train full of coal to cross, it was the same line that passed through Aracataca, the Garcia Marquez had taken 50+ years ago. The silhouette of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the largest oceanic mountain range in the world came into a view. We were planning on traveling around it, but I hoped we could find somewhere to enter. However there were almost no roads, guerillas were hiding out, and you needed Indigenous permission to enter.
Besides the visa issue, the only other reason to see Valledupar was because it was where Vallenato music had been founded. Vallenato is upbeat folkish accordion music and Garcia Marquez`s favorite. In his early years he had travelled to Valledupar on several occasions. Downtown was noisy and commercial and the cheapest place was an expensive 30,000 pesos (12 dollars). After dinner, we searched for live Vallento. Even on a Thursday night, it proved impossible. Seems like except for an annual festival, most of the musicians are in Bogotį or Medellin, where it is easier to make a living.