Here continues the chronicle of Tom and Sherm's visit. I started to tell these stories before, but stopped for some reason. Now I have my very own computer here, and can write as long as I like. Today is the 15th of July.
The second leg of the trip began when we heard Sherm leave for his flight early Tuesday morning. Tatiana brought us coffee before we could stand up, and we had a quiet morning of preparation. That afternoon Tom and I flew out of the rain in Bogota and landed in the mild swelter of Santa Marta. We had bandeja paisas on the boardwalk, playing Rummy and listening to costeña radio coming through on my phone.
As evening settled, we toured the North side of town, looking at three different rooms before finding a place we felt comfortable. We walked half a block in the wrong direction, and therefore passed the same whore twice. She'd heckled us in Spanish the first time, so she switched to English as we came shuffling back around the corner. It occurred to me to claim ignorance, como "no hablamos ingles", but I hesitated, instead simply laughing as we sauntered on.
We blasted the fans and lay in our beds watching futbol, lazily pounding beers only because if we didn't they quickly became warm. So the new heat plus some cervezas sent us to bed early. As such, we were up relatively early the next day, and able to stumble into a private shuttle into Tayrona National Park.
The almost-trusty Lonely Planet had told us all about the bus that left at 10 am, but at 9:30, we still had shopping to do. As it happened, we spoke with the driver-guy and he told us No, he'll wait for us, claro no hay problemo. So great, we went grocery shopping, bought a jug of rum, various fruits and even sundry items such as contact solution and a small, waterproof soccer ball.
That's Tom on the bus, on our way into the park. We had a liquid breakfast, starting with juice and continuing summarily back into beers. We bought one for the driver too. No reason why he shouldn't enjoy a cold beverage with us. Unfortunately, the speaker system had been shorted out by the rain of two nights ago, so we were not quite as festive as we might have otherwise been, but even still, this was a supremely fun bus ride.
Having reached the Eastern entrance of the park, we had a bit of a hike ahead of us. We'd picked up a sturdy English girl at the gate, and now the three of of us were traipsing through the jungle. I quickly lost a sandal in the mud, as did our British friend. Somehow Tom's shoes remained clean, while I took the drastic step of removing my footwear altogether. This seemed like a fine idea at the time.
I carried the tent and our bag of fruit. Tom trekked in with a 2-gallon jug of water in each hand. I believe he had the jug of rum as well.
We walked for maybe 40 minutes, tiptoeing past horse droppings, up muddy paths, negotiating skinny through-ways cut between the enormous boulders planted in that sea-side jungle.
The 'feel' of the coast comes first, inevitably setting in as you approach any ocean. You know how you just know it's there? That.
Smell is inevitably next. The negative ions and floating salt engage our most primal sense - that which shoots us straight in the brain - the sea a sensory pistol aimed at our precious pineal glands.
The excitement really begins to rise when your ears kick into gear. We stepped out of the jungle and into the first campground. Tom was there to testify to the newness of the computer perched behind the check-in desk, under the palm-thatched roof. We are told it definitely was not there 7 years ago.
We stopped for a sit-n-snack break. Then continued on, veering left through a group of cabinas, a dirt courtyard complete with donkey and sleeping dog. Then this happened:
Walking on, moving Southeast down the Caribbean beach:
Walking barefoot became far more comfortable once we found sand.
(To be continued...)