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Of Pufferfish and Other Demons January 6, 2010

Posted by Jen Pappas in Bogota, Colombia Posts, San Gil, Santa Marta.
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Since Brett arrived in Bogota on the 19th of December, a lot has happened. So for the sake of playing catch up, the following is a brief synopsis of our exploits since then…

We celebrated Brett’s first night in Bogota by taking him to a heavy metal bar off a small, buzzing alleyway filled with hole-in-the-wall dives and sushi restaurants. Ordering rounds of cheap rum shots and glass-bottled Coca-Cola, watching teenagers dressed all in black head-bang and play air guitar until they nearly made themselves sick.

We went to the Botero Museum twice, where we walked slowly past each painting, sketch and bronze sculpture paying homage to the artist’s obsession with obesity. Colombia’s national artist, Botero reproductions can be found on everything from place mats to calendars.

 

We rode a gravity-defying cable car up to Cerro de Monserrate in the rain, watched Brett play blackjack in a Bogota casino, hugged a street vendor and watched a guinea pig race in the middle of the street at a Christmas Street Fair- all in one day.

We spent Christmas in the small, dusty town of San Gil, where one must throw some serious elbows just to make it one block down the hectic streets. People-watching in the plaza, horse-back riding on obedient steeds, and stumbling across a gallery of amazing local art in the white-washed town of Barichara: what cowboy films are made of.

We tugged at the silvery, ancient fronds dangling from the massive trees at Parque El Gallineral, learned how to say, “barbas de viejo” before playing cribbage near the natural swimming hole full of families lounging in inner tubes.

We befriended a Colombian family during the 11-hour bus ride from San Gil to Santa Marta, posing for photos with their beautiful, large-eyed daughters and sharing snacks before hugging farewell and going our separate ways.

We arrived in Santa Marta on the 26th of December and spent the next 5 days scaling cliffs and precarious trails over-looking turquoise waters, arriving at hidden coves where we spent an entire day playing with a local group of rambunctious kids: fishing, playing catch, playing shark, being chased down the beach by six-year-olds wielding long blades of grass to tickle us with. In short, getting caught up in the simple drama of a tiny fishing village where the men recline in hammocks and the women carry overloaded trays of sweets on their head.

We danced until 2 a.m. on an outdoor deck overlooking Taganga beach on the full moon. We hiked for two hours straight through horseshit and jungle only to emerge onto a paradisal beach right out of Hollywood, where we swam and taunted crabs for awhile before having to hike the two hours back before dark, exhausted, blistered and slightly bitter.

We have been bitten by pufferfish, (Steve) hunted down by the old man renting out scuba gear when we failed to return on time, (Brett) and eaten an excellent dinner together inside a liquor store.

And though it’s painfully obvious that Jen walks too fast, Brett walks too slow and Steve just wants everyone to be happy, we’re still having a great time in Colombia- whore houses and all, but more on that story next time.

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