Day No 98
One more day in Cartagena. The last one, I decided. But I started it slowly enough. I got up and talked with American girl in my room. Amazingly, she was very much like me. We had similar or same opinions about a lot of things and talking to her was really pleasant. We even agreed on the abortion topic, which is usually very sensitive since people have very extreme and different opinions.
Then I had some breakfast, could not get away without getting into the bakery [again] and went for a walk. I sat down in the park and promised myself not to leave it before I finish my book. I was very much interested in how it ends, plus, I wanted to exchange it once I am in a hostel which has a pretty decent exchange. That’s where it started. There were two army looking guys at the park, waiting for I have no idea what. They came to me, asked me what time it is or something and left. Then they came back, asked me where I was from and all the rest of the same and the same conversations as always. I talked to them a little, even though if I wanted just to get back to my book. Soon enough they left. Silence and niceness again.
Not for too long though. Two policemen on a motorbike came to me. They talked me about the same things, where I am from, oh oh oh how beautiful I am and so on. Then they got a call and went away. Not for too long though. They got back pretty soon and asked me if I have `pills`. In the beginning I thought I just misheard them, but no, they were clearly asking me if I have some drugs [illegal drugs] with me. I said no, since I had none and they asked me if I was sure. I was really close to tell them to search me, but decided to be nice and not to get in trouble. They are police after all and I was pretty sure I would not want to end up in Colombian jail. Even if I had nothing on my hands.
After they left and I was able to finish my book, as I did, I went for a walk. I went along the beach to the very end of it. I was still trying to figure out – what is all this fuss about Caribbean coast? Sand is not white and smooth and water.. well, it’s ok, but not great. I was hoping it will improve once I am more towards Venezuela.
So I walked along the beach, I walked back to the center, went for the sunset on the wall once again, which was nice, but not as great as the first one in Cartagena and finally went back, strolling in some old narrow streets of Cartagena. I really liked this old town. And I am sure I want to come back. Maybe one day. Maybe with you. Well, maybe.
I got back to the hostel, made myself some dinner, and went to exchange my books. To my surprise there was a book by my beloved Murakami and what is more – in Lithuanian. Never thought that was possible. I took it right away, since the book was the one I haven’t read yet and there is no one who would probably have skills to read it in the hostel anyways. I buried myself in the book for the night. I mean, that’s Murakami. Can life get any better than that?
Day No 99
I woke up in the morning still not sure what exactly I should do. After a little consideration I decided to go to Santa Marta and stay there at least one day, figure out another destination. So I went out, took a bus that goes to the terminal and got off at the stop.
There some guy jumps right on me – are you going to Santa Marta, he asked. Once I responded positively, he took me to the bus. He told me it costs 30000, so I said thanks, I will just go to the terminal. The price suddenly dropped to 25000 and since people at the hostel told me it’s between 28000-32000, I decided to take his bus. I thought he was a driver. Turns out, he was just a random guy from the street who finally is asking for the tips for guiding me to the bus. I realized that only in the bus and felt a little bad for not tipping the guy, but on the other hand – did I even ask for his services? No.
I got on the bus and there were 3 more `gringos` in it. Like I could care.. I was just sitting there, reading my Murakami and enjoying every line of it. After some time the bus stopped and told us to get out and take another but to Santa Marta. Well, ok, so we are going. Some guys took my bag to the bus and then asked for the tips, but even if I wanted to give them something, it was such a mess that I even had no chance. That’s when and where I realized – one of those `gringos`, a chick was a bitch. While entering the bus she blocked the whole way to it and started arguing with the driver. Not even arguing, just telling him `give me 20000` again and again and again. But with such an attitude and not caring that there are people behind her who wanted to get into the bus – I would have offered her no more than an empty hand. She started to piss me off.
She only proved to be a bitch in the bus. While the bus stopped for something she was going back to the driver for her money. Again – standing right there so no one could go into or out of the bus and people were actually waiting. If I was waiting I would have said some not too nice things to her, but people in Colombia are so sweet that they just waited. And she, even after seeing them, still was being a bitch. I started to wonder where she was from.
Then another one, a friend of hers asked me which language is my book. I could not completely understand her question, so I asked `this one?` she started saying `oh Swedish, do you know that?` she was referring to the guy next to her, probably because he was Swedish. I said `I did not say Swedish. And it’s not Swedish. It’s Lithuanian`. She looked at me blankly. `So it is Swedish or not?` I said `no. It’s Lithuanian`. She went blank again. No idea about such a country. I learned later they were French. I stopped being surprised.
Anyways, the biggest surprise they made at the end of our `trip`. The bitch got out of the bus and with her bitchy face somehow got people to help her getting a phone to call someone. They were all three talking and laughing in the bus, so I figured they are all together and I was just trying to figure out which bus to take to the center. And for some reason, I stayed there while they are done. Not sure why. The blank one was talking to me and that Swedish guy while the bitch was making a phone call. Then she came to us, talked only to her friend, all in French of course, flagged a cab, put her bag in it and sat in front. I don’t care about me, but she did not even glance or said goodbye to the Swedish guy. So the blank girl said goodbye to us and they left with a cab. I joked to the Swedish guy if they just ditched him, but he was almost as surprised as I was.
So we took a bus, got to the center, went to couple of hostels I had in mind and ended up staying in one. Really cozy and nice one. I think it’s called Noctambulo. Anyways, we got in, left our stuff and went out. We did a little circle around the center, he had a dinner and I had a great fruit shake, we went to the shop, bought some stuff and went back to the hostel. In the hostel I made some dinner, shared with the guy and after some talking and reading books we went to sleep.
Day No 100
The next day we woke up and I had my almost favourite breakfast – banana milkshake. Ahh.. still almost can feel the taste.
We went to the beach, which was not that brilliant after all [I still had hopes for later ones], then after some time we went back to the hostel, then for some little round around the center. Basically there is nothing much to do in Santa Marta. It’s a nice little place, but still, nothing to do. They say it gets really busy during the weekends with all the parties, but I would not say so.
Anyways, in the hostel we met this British/Indian couple and after some conversations and beers decided to go out. We went to one place, pretty gringo friendly place, had a beer and the couple vanished. We stayed just the two of us and I started to see that he is getting a little drunk. Well, he had his reasons to celebrate. We went for some fast food and then to the hostel. The doors were closed and locked and no one came to open them. So while waiting there some people from across the street asked if we wanted to join them. Well, we can’t get in anyways, so why not join, right? That was a mistake. Because they were drinking that aquadientes or whatever it name is alcoholic drink, taste like rake or ouzo.
After couple of shots and once one guy went to buy another bottle I knew I was done. I don’t even like the taste, but refusing is impolite, so the only option for me was to go back to the hostel. The same guy who went to buy another bottle knocked the door pretty loudly, so finally the guy, who I am sure we woke up, opened the door and I was happily soon in bed.
Day No 101
I can be honest with you, the Swedish guy was starting to become annoying. He was taking my stuff without asking and other small details. So I decided I will turn on my bitch attitude and not going to share my banana milkshake for the breakfast. Turns out, he was faster – he already made himself some shake and did not offer that to me. Ok, so it makes easier for me.
After some time I told him that I am going to Taganga and that I am doing this in half an hour. He said he’s going too. So at the bus stop he tells me – I need this and that and goes for it. Oh yes, sure, you go, do your thing, I will stay here as an idiot, waiting for you. I kept it to myself though. And waited for him to come back.
Once in Taganga the same thing. We were looking for the hostel together, got into one of them, I started talking to the people I met in Medellin and he just decided he is taking the bed in here. Well, thanks for talking it through with me asshole, I thought. But once again, I just kept it to myself.
Once in the room he went straight for the shower without even asking me if, for example, I wanted to pee really badly. So after him, I went in and when I went out he was not even there. Well, that’s nice, we come together and then he disappears. Nice. I take my stuff and go to the beach. Here I meet Chileans I met before in my trip, we swim, we talk, we laugh, it was fun. The beach was not the best, but still, I had my big hopes for those.
After Chileans left, I stayed a little longer in the beach, had a walk and then got back to the beach for the sunset. Here I met Lichtenstein guy and others I met in Medellin, we watched the sunset, went to the square to listen to something that I can only call a drum music [good music]. Here the Swedish guy came out of nowhere as if nothing happened and sat next to me. I did not even bother to introduce him to the others, since he was still taking my stuff without asking and even after I said `no`. well, whatever.
So after the guys from Medellin went to the hostel and Swedish guy to buy something, I stayed a little in the beach. Just by myself. At night. I love that feeling. I had a something like a big empanada with fish for dinner from the street and headed back to the hostel. There I just read a book and enjoyed the silence. I was trying to be away from people. Somehow in this trip I was meeting not the best people. And the best people – only for a short little bit.
Day No 102
There is nothing much to say about the second day in Taganga. So I woke up, had breakfast and went to the bigger beach over the hill. I spent half of the day there – reading a book, swimming and snorkeling. Well, snorkeling was great. Even if I only had `mask` part, I still managed to see enough. I saw several fish same as in Thailand, several new ones. One like a snake, another one like a butterfly. Well, really a lot. And to think about it – the mask I got was from my ex boss. Well, some gifts are really great, even if you don’t use them too much.
After the beach I went back to the hostel, rested a little, went to the shop, bought some stuff for dinner and breakfast and got back to the hostel and read read read. I wanted to finish my book, so I could exchange it.
Day No 103
We decided together with the Swedish guy to try to get to Tayrona National Park on foot. So we packed our stuff in the morning and went out. We reached the first hill and were carefully inspected by the police guy. He asked us why we are taking so much stuff with us to the beach and we told him about our plan to get to the park. He wasn’t sure if we can get there on foot, but we were optimistic, so we still went. after several beaches and hills up and down we came to the dead end. Steep hill and no way through. He still decided to try go on the hill and I settled for waiting him down there. A police guy [the same one] came too, asked me how are we managing getting that path to the park and I told him that we are most probably taking a bus after all.
So we headed back – me and a Swedish guy. At some point we came to one small beach [you have to go through it to get to the buses] and he just jumped into the water. No, we are not two people doing this, so sure, you decide you do – ignorant and selfish asshole [or so I thought]. I got really pissed. First of all, I wanted to do the same thing – it was hot and hard to walk with a bag. But I couldn’t, since I would have to change and all that and that would take a lot of time. So I sat there and read a book. All furious and angry at him. We came to me after his quick dip and rubbed it on my face `that was so great`. I kept reading my book and ignoring him. So he asked `are you ready to go?`. I told him, still pissed, that I was ready before he got into the water and started walking. Now I am not sure if he got pissed or what the hell happened, but he kept on walking in front of me without even looking back. And once I was in the center, he was gone. Just like that, he ditched me. Asshole.
I was pissed and relieved at the same time. I mean, if we are going together, we are going damn together, you don’t ditch people like that, even if you are not fond of them. But I was happy that he was no longer around. I wanted new people or new silence.
So I took the bus to Santa Marta and from there – to the park. It was fairly easy to get there. I paid for the entrance, waited for the bus a little bit and came to the park. From the bus stop I had to walk a very nice jungle looking walk to the first or second village in there. It is really a great.
Once in the first village, I was already tired of walking. So I got a hammock for myself and went to the beach. Couple of dips into the water, some reading a book and before I knew it, it became cloudy, windy, a little chilly and I went back. I had my modest supper, read some more book and went to my hammock to sleep. The day was long and I was happy to go to sleep.
Day No 104
I have no idea what time I woke up the next day, but it was early. Now I am guessing it was no later than 6.30 a.m. I packed my stuff, had breakfast and went to another village, which had to have better beaches. It’s true for the beaches, but hammocks were much more expensive. Well, makes sense I guess.
I made it to that village in a fast nice walk through the jungles and got to those beaches. Yes, true, they were nicer, but I still could not understand this fuss about the Caribbean. I mean, sand is not white or smooth, water is clear, but there are waves [well, that is what I loved about it] – not big enough to surf and a little too big to swim as in the lake. So yes, I don’t understand why people say it’s so unbelievably awesome. And I was in this national park, with the best beaches in Colombia apparently.
After the whole day in the beach with the book, I finally went back to the same place with the same hammock and stayed there one more night. I basically just engaged myself with a book and beaches there. Well, to my defense, there is not much else to do.
Day No 105
On the last day in the Tayrona park I once again, woke up very early [you just cannot sleep in the hammock for too long with the sun right out there and all], got out of the hammock, packed my stuff once again and went out to the beach. I had no more book to read so the time was going very slowly. Just like clouds above my had – very slowly.
I did some writing, had some swims, had some walks along the beaches but after that I decided I need to get out. So I took the same walk back to Santa Marta. First – the jungle kind of path to the bus where I met a British girl and we talked about EY and all, since we both worked there. We took that little bus, then entered another, slightly bigger bus and after one hour and a bit I was back in Santa Marta.
I walked back to my hostel, got in, got my stuff back, took a shower, lost my bikini top, found it back and went to exchange some money. Well, that was a bit of a trip. I went to the official place to exchange it and I saw that the rate was really low. I decided there has to be more places for that so I went walking to the center. Here I found a policeman, asked him where to exchange money, he showed me direction, told me to go to the square and ask another policeman for the directions. I walked into what I thought was a square and found a place that was buying gold and money. I asked the guy if he was exchanging euros and he was showing me a nod and `give me those money` sign. I started asking for how much and everything, so finally he did not exchange money to me, but told me to go to another guy.
Another guy told me he will exchange me Euros for the exchange rate of dollars and I went away. I finally found some other place for exchange, but they would not exchange euros and here I met this first policeman I asked about the exchanges. He told his partner to take me to the place where I could exchange my money. So here I was, going through some kind of a mall with a police guy to the liquor store and exchanging my money. I got a bad rate, but the best one so far, so I took it and went to the shop to buy myself some food.
And just like always, I ended up my day with a book, some e-mails and sprite looking drink and went to bed early. I woke up around 6 that day, so I was tired after a long day of beaches, walking, taking buses, walking more and finally looking for money.
Day No 106
The day No 106 was literally the day of doing nothing. Well, kind of nothing. I woke up early, since I couldn’t sleep. I wrote millions of e-mails, which were waiting for the replies already for too long. I went for a walk in the beach. I walked a bit in the center. I read a book. I got back to the hostel. I applied for some jobs in Denmark [reality’s kick in the face]. By the way, off topic. If you know any available job in Copenhagen – tell me please. I will be more than happy to apply for it. Then I had some dinner and some more book reading with a cup of tea. Yes, it was definitely the day of doing completely nothing.