El Paraiso

Trip Start Jun 2006
Trip End Sep 2006

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Where I stayed
Villa Maga

Flag of Colombia  ,
Tuesday, July 4, 2006

After waiting almost 4 hours, the minivan had enough people to warrant a departure (that means it was full). I was happy to leave as the people in B. Solano were not particularily welcoming. Because it had rained all night (which it often does), the roads were a horrible fucking mess. This was in addition to the fact that our van had no tire tread, no shocks or clutch left. However, I was relieved about the road conditions once we set out because the driver was a maniac! Consistently gunning it in the absense of the almost ever-present, foot-deep potholes. At times the potholes would give way to large mud pits and I was very suprised we were able to make it through them.

I felt bad for the "about 12 mth old" infant beside me, whenever we would go over the potholes. He would be thrown around like a barbie doll or something. So, instinctively, I would place my hand on the back of his head to keep it from bouncing around so much.... mom didn't seem to like that too much and I was met with "I kill you!" eyes. Again the people here don´t seem so friendly. I guess it´s a "you have money and you´re enjoying slumming it here with us" sort of thing? I have no idea. I could see this being the case as the people here are VERY poor, most living in shanties. I have only seen this degree of poverty in the peruvian jungle town of Iquitos in the Amazon.

On a positive note, the ride was beautiful, lush and the feeling of bouncing through it in the minivan was great! I loved watching the local people washing their clothes in the roadside streams. However, it was sad to witness families rummaging through garbage dumps for their next meal. It brings about a whole rush of feelings and thoughts. These realities are always a reminder of how good my life is and how bad it could be. I'm very fortunate, and if you´re simply rich enough to be reading this... so are you.

I arrived in El Valle and asked to be dropped off at Villa Maga. A small place on the beach, a little ways out of town, that Enrique had recommended. I was very pleasantly suprised to find a big thatched roof cabaña nestled in jungle gardens about 50 mts from a beautiful black volcanic sand beach. I hope to post pictures of the place soon. My cabaña is, in my mind, the most beautiful I´ve ever stayed in. Bamboo and palm, 2 beds, seperate bathroom, sunken shower, foyer and a small balcony for $10. It is from here that I write this in the pitch dark, with only a small candle burning for my light, ocean crashing in the distance and an ever-present orchestra of insects all around me. Very cool stuff.

Upon arriving, I dropped off my bag and immediately headed for the beach. I´m not the worlds biggest beach guy but this place is spectacular. Kelvin, the owner of the Black Sheep hostal back in Medellin was right. This place is great! The shoreline is miles of endless volcanic beach and with large, magnificent, lava structures surrounded by jungle, tons of colourful flowers and huge blue butterflies everywhere. I only wish I could share it with my friends and family. When I first went down to the beach an overwhelming feeling of joy, isolation and loneliness overcame me. A strange combo but, I wouldn´t have traded it for anything.

After some time at the beach, I walked about town and talked with a guy named Nelson while a local funeral prossesion took place across the street. The kids are very interested in the white guy and like to giggle at me. I´m used to that. hahaha!!! I enjoyed a couple beer with Nelson, had some good food and decided to head back to the cabaña for a quick swim before darkness set in. After my swim, I discover a small bottle of vodka while unpacking my bag. Yeah! I shared it with the owners of the cabaña and then pitched my mosquito net and called it an early night. The days come early and there is much to see and do. I´m sure the chickens will wake me.
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