I´m in Colombia and I am lovin every second of it BABAY.
After a terrible 35 hour total (stopping in between) bus journey to Lima, I stayed the night and bought a plane ticket to Medellin for the next morning, at 5:50. As always, I thought to myself that 550 ain´t too bad a time to wake my lil self up, and ignored the fact that a 550 plane yields a 230 wake up time. So I cursed my ignorance and stayed up the whole night watching Benjamin Button, which was an amazing movie. This trip has been so good to me- lately I have been fascinated by death and life and everything that I´ve read and a lot of the movies I´ve seen confront those questions.

by the way, I´m nearly finished with For Whom the Bell Tolls (such a score in the book exchange) and it´s excellent.

SO, I got my little self to Medellin and immediately slapped my self across the head because I forgot my tent at my Lima hostel, cleverly hid under the bed, too cleverly hid for my poor forgetful self to remember. After 3 months of trekking around with this great burden of a tent, JUST to camp on the beach, and then to FORGET it right as I´m going to the beach? lame.

How are the people in Colombia, you say? THE BEST i´ve met in South America! So amazingly loving and friendly and trustworthy. More trustworthy than any other South Americans I´ve encountered. And that is a big deal when you´re a little lady going around solo. When I arrived in Bogotá, a kind man, a father of 5, bought me food and coffee as a surprise and sat down and talked to me about his wife and kids and politics and witchery for an hour. When I got in to Medellin, there were so many guys who went out of their ways to help me stay safe in the night time. It´s great! not to mention that everybody, strangers and family alike, calls one another ´mi amor.´ That is a healthy amount of love for a country.

But there are also some scary things about Medellin- bastánte gente loca. I was literally the only traveller I saw all day, a rare rare thing. Everyone looked at me surprised that I wasn´t scared to come here by myself. There are more homeless than I´ve seen in all my travels in Medellín, and not the kinds that you can be friends with. Lots of tarted-up junkie guys sell their bodies on the main roads at night, which is too bad, I don´t want to know what happens to them. There is also a huge population of roaming homeless, parentless children under the age of 12, their feet tarred with months of city barefootness, their mouths blistery, their faces sad. I talked to a man at my hotel about them, and he said that nobody helps them, not the government, nor the church, nor any non profit organization. I have to return and help them. They are a scary bunch, and they run in packs down the streets at night.

I left the next morning after eating a delicious bunuelo (try this if you are in a Latin neighborhood, the best fried thing you can eat for breakfast, ever). The bus to Santa Marta was 16 hours of rolling green, fluffy, voluptuous colombian mountains sprinkled with cows. Lots of men dressed in suits of ammo and automatic guns roam the streets.

I´m going to miss South American bus rides. There´s always one old lady and one little kid that I become best friends with, without fail. At the end, when we part, the most we can give to each other is saying that we love the other and telling them to take care of themselves mucho.

SO, I got to Santa Marta in the middle of the night, and me and this funny little lady of 60 years searched near and far for a hotel, except –>I<– knew where it was all the while, and she kept on insisting no, no, and ringing the doorbells of poor families at 2 am. It was a laugh. We shared a bed in the hotel to save money, this stranger lady and I. She was a great character in her shiny black heels.

THEN I immediately went to Taganga, 45 minutes outside the city of Santa Marta. It´s a tiny fishing village where the waves roll slowly and the donkeys pull carts along the dirt roads. Every day I engorge my belly with cup after cup of all varieties of fruit juice. Ones to note: Tomates del Arból, tree tomatoes, that taste unlike anything I´ve ever tried, very delicious. Also, Zapote, Carambola, Maracujá (passion fruit). It´s the lamest thing about where I live, the lack of fruit. Our variety of native fruits is no good.

I WENT SCUBA DIVING TODAY! It was completely amazing! So exhausting! I freaked out when I got to the bottom, because my brain was telling me that I shouldn´t be able to breathe under water. This messed with my heart rate and my breathing was stressed. After that it was all smooooth sailing. The fish are SO COOL, they don´t give a crap that you are swimming right up in to their business, they just carry on. They are so graceful and beautiful. My dive instructor was hitting on me SO HARD in such a smooth latino way- he kept on holding my hand under the water, which I at first thought was regular dive procedure, but came to find that it was just part of his strategy. Distracting to have a colombian man caressing my hand exessively while I´m trying to soak in the wonders of life under water!

I spent the whole night yesterday drinking 75 cent beers and pulling ticks off of this cute little dog with cocked ears. I think he´s sick because for hours he sits in one place and looks out smiling, tilting his head, looking at the goings on about town. He doesn´t even flinch for the girl dog who´s in heat, who has literally 20 or so boy dogs chasing her around in triangular formation, head mate dog in front, dog who´s not gon´tap that at the back. He´s a cute dog. I wish I could take him home with me, but instead I just slip him my leftovers. We have some sort of understanding.

apologies for making this so long, but I must tell you this hilarious thing. There are two black sheep wandering around the beach, seemingly following me everywhere I go! What are they doing here?! None of the locals know what brought them here. There´s DEFINITELY no grass to munch on. They are probably spying on us humans and plotting a revolt.

That´s all for now. I head to Parque Nacional Tayrona Friday, after I get certified for diving.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/travel/11Explorer.html?scp=1&sq=tayrona%20park&st=cse

Love, blessings to all.

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