Stop 33: Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona

We arrived in Santa Marta after a 4-hour bus ride. The city itself seemed quite ugly and fucked up. There were mostly chaos on the main street, nothing going on the side street. The walls have posters, or remaining of the posters, or some ugly letters. The Republica hostel is a courtyard hostel with pool in the middle. It did not feel personal to be honest. When we arrived, everyone was sort of doing something on their and not minding anything else. But maybe we were judging too quickly.

After checking some options for the Lost City trek, we decided that we will move on to the next spot for the next day, namely, Parque Tayrona. The trek itself is very expensive (roughly 900k pesos – 360$ at least) and after finding out that you actually hike to reach the top and just listen to the guide telling you the story of the indigenous, it did not seem worth it to go for the trek.

At night, there was a pool party. We shortly talked to a Chilenean girl who was traveling upwards from Chile all the way to Canada/US. Somehow, with her friends, they decided to stay in this hostel and help out a bit until they get some others things fixed. I was wondering what made her want to stay that long, but she was not able to come up with a convincing answer.

Once we arrived at the bus terminal of Santa Marta, we got onto a bus very quick, almost too quick. We got hailed over by some guys and promptly we got some bus tickets. Another guy hurried us to the main road since the bus just left the terminal. We got on and are squeezed into some seats with locals. At Parque Tayrona, we stayed in a rather hippie-ish hostel. It was 1 km away from the entrance of the park and we had to tell the bus driver where to let us off.

The hostel has got some open bungalows on the hill side. The view was really nice with the jungle in front of you. And it was still quite hot in the night and in the shower, there were beetles accompanying us and also on the mosquito nets, they were hanging out there when you go to bed. Some Swedish guys made jokes about having to hold your butt tight when you go shower.

There were some people “volunteering” at the hostel. They help out to construct a new part of the hostel and get a place to stay and get food for free. At this point I was wondering whether this is volunteering or just exploitation of free work force. But if there are people willing to do that, then well, good for them.

So at the hostel, we met an Australian guy travelling with 2 UK girls. I was not able to tell whether he is with one of them or not, or even with both of them together? At night, we played some cards against humanity together with another Canadian couple. Even though we got along well, I can’t say that we feel connected in any ways. So, very naturally, we parted ways the next day without wanting to stay in contact. Also the UK girls had the same converstaional pattern I mentioned in the Myanmar trip, with the “I” perspective.

There were also some Swedish guys. You really do feel that they were really young looking at them. The conversation never went further than the Dutch team not participating in the World Cup and some other jokes. But in the end, they were considerate in the rooms and are trying to be quiet even though I did not expect them to be the considerate types.

The park itself is quite nice with a rocky climb, a bit jungle feeling with monkeys and a tiny snake. On the way, I got to know Wout a bit better as well. On the topic of regret, we have actually the same view that regret is a stupid thing. It does not help at all and you should rather focus on further solutions to get yourself out of the situation. He mentioned that one thing that he actually regrets is that he did not say anything when a friend of him mentioned some suicidal thoughts. But I told him (thanks to the books I read on the road and people I talked to) that you did not know better. For the next time you know that such signals are worth mentioning. Hence, back to the theory, regret is still not helpful. On the other hand, being 22, wout does not look like 22, and this somehow confirms my story of someone looking like who has got a story to tell.

I took also notes of the dogs and other people who worked there, but at this point in time, I really don’t feel like to write about them anymore.

Hence, some picture to conclude this chapter:

The view onto the sierra nevada

Ant highway in the park

And some beach side views

Me, drafted this in Arequipa, and finishing up in La paz

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