It’s been a while. How’s tricks?
Not only has it been a while, it’s been an eventful while. Distilling everything down into a manageable entry isn’t going to be easy but, as Kasparov said to Deeper Blue upon their groundbreaking rematch; “Bollocks to it, let’s get this shit done.”
Villa de Leyva was the first stop outside Bogota, which was my first stop inside Colombia. My time in the capital not already noted was fairly uneventful. I visited many museums and stared at many chubby visages reminiscent of cheeky seaside postcards, which apparently pass for high art over here. It was odd and slightly unsettling.
Leyva itself was lovely, a perfectly preserved Colonial town that reminded me so much of Guatemala’s Antigua I thought I was actually going a bit mental. We travelled there with quite the group actually; the owners of the hostel from Bogota, along with a contingent of French chaps and chappesses who seemingly lived there. Also a Swedish bloke named Hugo with a sloth fetish. Only being there for the day limited us somewhat in terms of activities so we plumped for getting lost and wandering along Colombia’s only taxi-free highway. We also saw some blue pools. Which were blue.
In the evening we took to a club, or as much of a club as one can find in a tiny Colonial town in the middle of Colombia. It was here that a massive revelation was realised: apparently I look like a DJ type called David Guetta. He’s some sort of superstar DJ comparable to…I dunno, other superstar DJs. I don’t follow that nonsense. Unfortunately for me and my sensitive disposition this club had decided to play a variety of videos featuring said DJ which led to the previously mentioned revelation. Almost immediately the rumour spread around the bar and people started shaking my hand, people referring here to locals, not the chaps I’d travelled with who knew damn well my DJ skills are comparable to those of the average World War 2 veteran. A chap even gave me a bracelet, and two notes hastily scrawled on toilet paper, one describing just how important it was that I was in his country, the other containing his email address and contact details. I have yet to check their accuracy.
Then the army arrived.
Four heavily armed soldiers marched into the bar, which was now playing only Guetta songs, and stood in the doorway for a few moments before proceeding to stomp over to our table, queue up to shake hands with me and request we all have photos together. To say it was surreal would be something of an understatement.
After Leyva we ventured to San Gil, the adventure sport capital of Colombia. Those of you who know me well will realise this was obviously my kind of place. We opted for caving as opposed to the potentially fatal paragliding or hilariously expensive whitewater rafting, and it was both entertaining and satisfactorily cavey. Almost brained myself a few times though. Had a helmet, which was nice.
San Gil gave way to the beach town of Santa Marta and the biggest excursion of my trip so far; the Lost City Trek. This 5 day hike through the deepest darkest Colombian jungle was honestly one of the greatest things I’ve ever done with my sorry life, so much so that I’m struggling to come up with a witty quip to accurately describe it. Jungly. Surprisingly City free. Lacking in general lostness, thankfully. Our group of seven valiantly climbed, slid, fell and squelched our way to the city and back, emerging as better men and women than before. Also, much, much smellier. A potent combination.
After a day lounging around a swimming pool in Santa Marta drinking Mojitos and marvelling at how awful we looked in all the photos, we set off to the beach. Rapidly realising the mosquitos didn’t give a shit about DEET and the sandflies seemed to actively enjoy it, we retreated to Taganga sharpish, another beachside town where I currently reside. We also snuck the latest Bond movie in there somewhere. It was excellent and made me a wee bit homesick for horrible, smoggy London, a feat not even The Clash had managed up to that point.
So here I am. Next stop is Cartegena, the “jewel of the Caribbean.” Even better, we arrive during the annual Miss Colombia pageant which apparently heralds a fortnight of partying and general revelry. Although the Lost City failed to kill me, this may finish the job.
Hasta la vista. No es acceptable para me asi.