Tourist Central

Trip Start Mar 14, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  , Magdalena,
Sunday, January 9, 2005

This is vacation season here in Colombia and the small city of Santa Marta is Tourist Central. The hotels, restaurants, and beaches are full and the town is alive and active. Ive been traveling with a couple buddies for a while now; Manuel from Oz who I crossed from Panama with on the sailboat, and Joel from Holland who we met in Cartagena. Manuel is a diving instructor and I witnessed first hand his interview and hiring at a dive center at the nearby beach town of Taganga. After walking into the shop, it went something like this. "Im Manuel, Im an instructor." "How long are you going to stay?" "A couple months." "Can you start in an hour?" And that was that, done deal, hired. Unfortunately, his 12 hour or more work days have pretty much ended his time hanging out with us.

So whats to do around here? The beach at Taganga, 5 kms away is quite nice and Tayrona National Park is supposedly world famous for its beaches and jungle. I spent a couple days there and although it was overcast most of the time, I agree that its a great park and nice place. It was full of young Colombians on their annual camping trip to get away from the big cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cali. Colombians are extremely outgoing and friendly and since they dont see as many tourists as other countries, they are always interested in talking to you. The reaction I get from the average Colombian when I say Im American is "thats great, Im glad you are here in my country." And the next thing you know, you have 10 e-mail addresses and invitations to stop by when I get to their home town. So far, everything is going well here in this forbidden land called Colombia.
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