26-11-10

075 / City Lost, Favorite country Found

075 / City Lost, Favorite country Found

After a week city tripping (Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena), we realized quickly that urban tourism in this country missed one of Colombia’s vital dimensions, composed of impenetrable jungles, cocaine labs, unpredictable rivers and unknown bites of all sorts. We needed our fix of outdoor adventure, we needed to get our backs sweaty, we needed our boots dirty… There was only one place to go...

We set of for Santa Marta, on the Caribbean coast, to get into one of South America’s most notorious treks, the 5 day hike to Cuidad Perdida (Lost City), deep in the tropical rainforest. Only discovered in the 70’s, this place can actually still give you the impression that YOU are the one who discovered it.

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After a bumpy ride in an old Toyota (who was produced before the Lost City was discovered) of about 2 hours, we arrived at the start of the trip. Our troop looked a bit like the first episode of a Big Brother reality TV show. The stereotypical Irish dude with a big smile, and no equipment. A Mexican couple that was afraid to go over 1km/h. A young Dutch couple in love with being in love. The British lawyer who was surviving the financial crisis pushing his limits. Y. The lot.

During the first hour of the 5 day track, we were naively eager to keep our shoes dry during the numerous river crossings. The one after the other, we realized the uselessness of the risks we were taking when we jumped from rock to rock. Full time wet boots & shoes would be our part for as long as we were submitted to nature’s law in the Colombian jungle.

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At night, we were fighting mosquitoes with all things imaginable: candles, socks, DEET, special soap, randomly slapping around. Exhausted, we fell in a deep sleep in surprisingly comfortable hammocks. I discovered that in a world without electricity, people do tend to adopt the chicken biorhythm fast: waking up at 5.30AM and going to bed at 8PM. In the morning, our Irish buddy traditionally spent 20 minutes getting the ants out of his shoes before we took off for the day.

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We crossed everybody’s girlfriend favorite animals (mainly spiders and some snakes), every family favorite neighbor (indigenous people) and every Red Bull fish favorite hangout (white water rivers). The main constant was the pack of mud that sticked with the determination gladiators at our boots.

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During a little side expedition, we were (illegally) taken to a former cocaine laboratory that employed about a 100 families in its hay days. 450kg of coca leaves processed with petrol, potassium, baked soda, dirty water and a dozen of other disgusting chemicals end up in a 90% pure pasta. It’s a crime that something so filthy can look so bright and innocently white in the end. All sniffers, come and have a look… 

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After 3 days walking, we reached the lost city. It was beautiful, however dwarfed by the beauty of the hike towards it. We bargained with our guides to accelerate and do the trip in 4 days, because we wanted to feel some aching muscles, and after a day of speeding, we got what we signed up for, sour feet.

The last days of our Colombia adventure, we spend in a lazy fishing village with the danceable name of Taganga. Getting up in the morning was the challenge, eating fresh grilled fish on the beach the reward. Life here consists of drinking beer, perfecting the art of polygamy, and drinking beer while talking about this love multitasking activity. In the cities, in the jungle or at the beach, I think Colombia is a cool as its ice vendors or senior basketball players. Dunkin'.

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04:37 Gepost door Wouter* | Permalink | Commentaren (1) |  Facebook |

Commentaren

I love to go to the country side and have been planning such trip for years but could hardly spare time to do so.

Gepost door: RTV Silicone Adhesive | 10-02-11

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