Driving by big concrete walls topped with shards of glass bottles I imagine some Colombian drug lord´s estate hidden behind them. Maybe we should not have watched the movie ¨Blow¨ while traveling through Colombia. A shirtless man sitting by the road feeds a chicken on his knee from a plastic cup and then drinks out of it himself. The drastic mountain landscape around Bogota and Medellin has flattened into a swampy wetland littered with cactus trees and windowless shacks. Once in a while a bridge over a muddy river gives a glimpse of some ratty old fishing boats or a quick flash of the sea. I´m riding from Cartagena to Santa Marta. Leaving the old colonial buildings with pink, white and purple flowering vines climbing up the walls behind. The roads barely wide enough for two cars. Where posh shops like Gucci are two doors down from Jose´s Empanadas. And heading to the Dreamer Hostel. A little pool in a courtyard surrounded by ten or twelve private and dorm rooms filled with young people from all over the world. The neighborhood is by no means an old historic city center the likes of which I found myself in Cartagena. But it´s nice to feel a little isolated.
Passed by the blender vendor street the other day in Santa Marta. Snuggled in between the shoelace shop and of course twenty cell phone carts. On the road to Taganga, a neighboring beach town/fishing village, a family sits in the dirt outside their cement block hut and on a bar by the open front door sits a blue and yellow parrot, shifting from foot to foot, probably squawking in spanish.
Where oh where has the time gone? I´ve given up my last two weeks of backpacking spontaneity to settle into a grind that I can´t imagine finding ¨back home¨. Reading and writing by the pool all day and running the little bar every night. Paid with a bed and two meals a day, I am not making a living. I`m just living. Soaking it in till I fly home in a couple of weeks, possibly by way of Carnaval in Barranquilla. (conveniently followed by Winter Carnival with SCI in Colorado) Normally on a trip like this I follow word of mouth and try to check out all the ´must-sees´ in the area, but I`m letting that go. This trip I am living and learning rather than going and finding and it´s a welcome change of pace. Living in the present tense.