Archive for category: RtWp02
To write: Frustrating burocracy: Spain vs USA (2009.07.01)
Cartagena ain’t worth it (this does rhyme in Spanish). From the bus terminal to the center, you can see a progression: from chaos and filth, to snob and rich. And in the middle, the historic-colonial part. That part is incredibly beautiful, that’s for sure… but, overall, it’s like an incredibly hot chick with some huge mental disorders and an unbearable attitude: you cannot endure much time there.
In this case, the disorder of Cartagena was caused by an excess of tourism. In some guides they say that the prices are similar to the rest of Colombia… that’s not true. Fortunately, I will get rid of the shitty Lonely Planet soon. Everything was overpriced, and everyone was trying to jump over and suck all the blood from the naive tourist. In a way, it was the only place in ‘Locombia’ that somewhat reminded me of other country: Perú.
After looking deeply, I found a relatively cheap hostel, nicely located. It was a terrible hostel, though. The worst I’ve been into: really unclean, nothing worked, et cetera. But the owner was a nice lady, and we talked about interesting things.
I went out at night to get stressed by locals, and I strolled around. Next day, without a shower (broken) and with my intestines full (toilet broken also), I fled from Cartagena. Swiftly.
I considered going to Mompox in my way south, but ended up going back to Santa Marta. I had in mind a visit to Tayrona… but I was tired of it all… and I ended up going back to Bogotá.
And after randomly wandering Santa Marta, I ended up in Taganga.
In Taganga I had one day to relax and analyze the options the future brang. After a colossal breakfast, I decided to do a diving course: after diving at Easter Island, I felt some interest on that. Supposedly, Taganga is one of the places with the cheapest prices. So I looked for dive center and chose Poseidón, and got the PADI Open Water certification.
After finishing the course with the excellent Nena [co], y needed some more. Then I made the Advanced Open Water. Unfortunately, they assigned me a instructor that I hardly could bear. That was slightly uninspiring. But well, there were only 5 inmersions. And some of them were very interesting: like the one at night.
Other than that, heat, sunflies?/sandflies?, a hate and love relationship with Kate [uk] and Gregor [uk], and an opulent dinner with the owners (Max and Nena) and the passive Jonas [dk] (in which I combined ‘tortilla española’, meat and ‘pisto’). And Taganga seemed a place infested with unbearable, coke-addicted israelis. Well, every nationality seemsed to consume a lot there.
I know that the submarine photos are not very good, but be condescendent: it was my first attempt underwater.
That’s not a mix of films with Johnny Depp: simply, the trip from Bucaramanga was hell on earth. The 9 hours became 13 as some truck drivers were blocking the highway (political issues, as always). Also, I was next to an odorous bath with no space for my anything, ¡and screaming children!. One of the worse bus trips than I could remember (at least the puke family wasn’t there).
When I arrived at Santa Marta, I was so tired and used to the situation that -ironically- I wouldn’t had had any problems staying in that bus for two more hours.
After Barichara-Saint Gil-Bucaramanga -where I skipped some possible visits (like that cross that crowned San Gil)- I was at the Bucaramanga’s sophisticated bus terminal. I lacked motivation to stay in B/manga.
I had two options: one, to go to Venezuela (then I had to sleep in B/manga and go to Pamplona on the next day). Two, to go to Santa Marta (then I could take the night bus and be there on the next day’s morning).
I flipped the coin, and Venezuela won. But well, I never really trusted the coin. So I betrayed it: to Santa Marta!
Perhaps, this could be an incredible town for a ‘gringo’: there are lots of elements from the colonial period- but they’re not overwhelming. It’s humble, the layout reminding me of many towns from Spain.
It was also a good place to relax. But, for me, it wasn’t that majestic as some foreign guide books tell, nor able to keep the interest for more than some hours.
Town and municipality of Santander, crossed by the state highway and a river. I arrived at night, and it wasn’t hard to find a decent lodging among the heaps of hotels there.
Except for some night delirium, nothing really happened there.