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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cartagena, Colombia, Carribean and Cocaine

Hope i do this blog justice... writing it 2 months later... guess the Carribean relaxed me too much and i turned into a lazy git for the past 2 months....

One thing we wanted to avoid when we decided to head to the Carribean coast was the infamous groups of Israelis that tend to take over some of the beach towns in Colombia and take lots of drugs and get even more louder than they normally are.. if that could be possible... luckily a Swiss guy saved us and sent us to a little town called Palomino... hopefully this town always stays as we found it... unspoilt.... no tourists... and our own beach for at least 10km....

So we got off the bus and this really was a one horse town... two restaurants and one shop that also served as a bar... nowhere to stay in the town... decided to head to the beach to try and find some hammock or something to rest our little heads on.... a 5km walk to the beach in 38 degree heat with our rucksacks was torture... then still no sign of civilisation... another long walk up the beach and we found a castaway type that directed us to a house that may let us sleep in their garden with a hammock... it was literally just a shower... one outdoor toilet full of spiders of course... no electricity...but we had a 10km beach all to ourselves... a jump in the sea and life was looking good again..

Time to get some supplies...back up to the town to get dinner...chickens that have hanging out in the sun all day covered in flies....nothing else to choose from... we manage to stomach some food while fighting off the flies... decide to have a nightcap in the bar... meet a Colombian couple who invite us to their table and we end up solving the problems of the world until 3am... then they insist on walking us home in the dark... another example of who wonderful Colombians are... now the fun part.. the impossible task of trying to get into a hammock while totally inebriated in total darkness and trying to find the toilet and hoping a poisonous spider doesnt bit you on the ass.... we managed somehow... then the dreaded park... waking up in the smothering heat while hungover... hell... then we decide to try the other restaurant... Stephen after taking few bits of chicken says "this smells funny.. will you taste it'... I smell it... it smells like bleach gone wrong...still trying to figure out to this day how the hell he didnt get sick... obviously we are now invincible...

Few more days of hanging out on our private beach...drinking coconuts and making sandmen... it was time to head back to the city of Santa Martha to experience civilisation again....We got fed up of civilisation after 2 days and decided to go on another adventure....

Mission: Get on the bus up the coast and get off at the most remote looking town....

Result: Ended up in a town called Guachaca...remote is not even the word... one shop and one restaurant.. we got off the bus and the owner of the restaurant who is chilling out in his hammock in the restaurant...questions us.. what are you doing here... we answer not a clue... he directs ud to a French lady who lives up the hill....we arrive at this house where 3 scary mother ass dogs greet us.. French lady rescues us... she lives alone but has a hut out the back.. this place was so so beautiful.... like one of those Indian huts set in a beautiful garden and again the whole place to ourselves... and our own kitchen to cook in once you get rid of all the ants... then down to the restaurant... owner gives us free drink and we stay to play poker and the few locals that live there still cant believe they have tourists... one guy is raving to us about stones up the road while drinking the local spirit aguadiente that has a snake in the bottle.... did i mention that you meet some crazy but friendly people in Colombia?

We go to the local shop to buy dinner... nothing to choose from but we manage to get some potatoes, onions and sausages... we end up eating mashed potatoes and sausages in our hut for 3 days... heaven...Every night in our hostel we had 2 frogs that chilled out in the same place every night.. frogs in a French house... ironic or what....Lorita the owner advises us to check out the beach and where the river meets the salt water.... what a task this ended up to be... we lost our way a little bit to say the least.... mud up to our knees... we knock on a locals house enquiring how the hell we get to the beach.... the young son says comes with us.... he brings us to the river and then starts to cross it... holy crap you have to cross the river to get to the beach... this was the hardest work out ever....then we get to the other side and he tells us to keep walking down in the river.. then he turns back to home.. again what people.... At some parts the water is nearly over our heads... so tired... Stephen decides to take off his shirt and do the whole rambo thing... what a sight...eventually we get to the end and look to our left and spot a path we could have walked instead the craziness we just went through....but wow the sensation of the salt and the river water was amazing...... we met a young deaf and dumb guy that showed us the way home.... we gave him 2 dollars... to see that kids smile again i would pay $100... few more days of chilling out playing chess and hanging out with the locals it was sadly time to go back to Cartagena to get to an ATM....

Cartagena is the most visited city in Colombia... and at first sight its easy to see why... with its coralstone forts and its colourful walled colonial city it sure is enchanting.... we were staying right in the middle of the action and this is a party city... another table of Colombian locals invited us to drink with them for the night is a salsa bar where people from the age of 12 to 82 danced all night long while drinking bottles of straight rum.... well if you cant beat them join them...5am and the party still going strong.Hangover was not pretty the next day but at least we paid the little extra for air conditioning this time...

There is no shortage of cocaine in Cartagena.... they is a little maffia of dealers on each street corner... but thats why some tourists come here...they try and sell the idea of buying a big rock of cocaine and then bringing it back to Ireland etc.... we decided we didnt want to see the inside of a Colombian nice as the people are...

Few more days of exploring Cartagena and the beach, the time had come to leave Colombia and South America, Colombia and its people will stick in our minds for a long time to come.... recommend for everyone to check it out, it has it all, unbelievable scenery from coffee plantations to the jungle to the beach, delicious food, the parties, the energy and first and foremost the people...go there before the secret is out and it turns into another drab beach resort full of dumb and drunk tourists....

Con mucho gusto xx
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