Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hot & Dirty!

Upon leaving Cartagena, we headed a bit further north to Santa Marta with plans to spend a little time in Tayrona National Park. A hot and dirty port city, there's really not much to see in Santa Marta except for some serious banana exportation, but since the reports we read of staying inside the national park were a bit lacking, we opted for what looked to be a new, nice hostal right in town.

It turns out that Santa Marta was just as humid and a lot more dirty than Cartagena and honestly had pretty much nothing to offer for tourism except for a delicious (but expensive) gringo run "New Mexican" restaurant. Our new nice hostel, was certainly new & hostelish, but the nice factor is a bit more subjective. Let's just say that it worked for 2 nights, but they were certainly 2 sleepless nights without a/c or even the slightest breeze. Thankfully at least the management was stellar and super helpful.
Honestly, if I didn't know it before, this trip has helped me to come to terms with who I am. I am not a young, hippie backpacker - I'm a 30 year old girl who prefers nice clean hotels (not over the top, just nice) where I might even take off my shoes in the shower & sleep in a bed where I don't want to crawl deep down inside my sleep sack. I don't do hostels of the normal type and I especially don't do skeevy showers. I've learned to be okay with who I am and no longer feel the need to convince myself to toughen up and become a less particular, more easy going version of me. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure that my dear husband does miss (and forever will) my former self. I'm sorry honey, but the minute we cross back into the US my backpack will be retired - please plan our next vacation accordingly!

dirty, busy Santa Marta

It was so hot, even the street dogs couldn't catch a break!

Since we arrived fairly early on in the day, we decided to aprovechar del dia (take advantage of the day) and visit Tanganga, a small fishing village nearby where the beach was supposedly quite impressive. A quick bus ride landed right downtown, where we found ourselves amidst a plethora of foreign bohemians, that looked to have also retired their backpacks in return for a permanent beach shack.

Let me take this moment to point out that despite my cracks, I sort of do love the hippies & their jewelry making ways. After all, I'm a bit granola at times myself I must admit. The thing I find it so entertaining and ironic about most of them, is that they seem to think they are so unique, such individuals, but they are all exactly the same, regardless of what country they've taken up residence in. In Guatemala, they tend to be from Argentina and they inundate Lake Atitlán. In Colombia, the majority are Israli - same look, same ideas for making a living, just a whole lot more partying! Really I do appreciate their ability to become so comfortable in their own skin no matter where they are, & we all know I love their jewelry, but I certainly don't think they are unique!

Anyway, back on track, the much talked beach in Taganga turned out to be less than impressive, but either way, we made the best of our short afternoon.

The most impressive thing we did see was the ice cream vendor, pushing his tasty treats through the water. Slightly soggy? Yes (we tried one), but it hit the spot just the same!

The next morning we hopped a bus over to Tayrona National Park, where we hiked through the jungle for an hour or so to reach a really beautiful unswimmable beach. It was sticky hot & we most certainly sweated right through our clothes (GROSS), but along the way we did see & hear some wildlife.

feeling pretty gnarly

our 100 leg friend

When we finally got to the campground and beach at end there were a couple of surprises waiting for us - some good and some a little terrifying.

The welcome committee was obviously excited to see us.

Moving on (are you still with me?), my favorite part was of course, the juice. There's nothing like some freshly squeezed passion fruit to cool you down and perk you up all at once.

Albeit in the middle of nowhere, this place had a seriously thorough selection of juices. There are just a few that I'm not sure of. Can someone please fill me in on patilla, curuba & milo?

Of course since we didn't hike through the hot sticky jungle just for juice, we carried on just a bit further until we reached a nearby swimmable beach.

Lucky me.
Ben manned the camera that day, hence all the photos of yours truly.

After a nice long dip we settled into some serious beach bummin' - the Mrs. in the sun & the Mr. in the shade - where we read and napped away the rest of the day.

There's nothing like sucking on mangoes where you can easily clean up!

Of course there was the hour long hike back out again (with no nice cool dip at the end) & another hour long bus ride back to our humble little hostel, but at least we had a few hours of pure relaxation. It was a great way to pass our last day in Colombia.

My final thoughts in all my grungy backpacker glory.
Peace out Colombia - we're movin' on.

No comments: