After we finished in Guarija, I took a bus to Santa Marta to wait for my flight to Leticia via Bogota. On the road, I needed to pick up my kindle that I forgot in the previous hostel. I had to explain to the bus driver to wait for me for 5 minutes on the side of the road until I had fetched my kindle. That went pretty smooth and I was really glad it worked out that way.
At Santa Marta, I just wanted to read a bit and catch up with blog posts as well. So mainly I did nothing touristic.
I met one American guy from California who mentioned a girl from shanghai that seemed to be pretty cool. But his only argument was that she liked to drink. If that is his only way to see whether someone is cool or not …
There was also Rebecca from NY who studied in Shanghai and was travelling. Most of the times she was very nervous about anything (even very small things) that she is gonna decide. Also she was not able to pay attention for long. In the end I feel like it was not too easy to communicate with her. We had dinner together once but I can’t remember what we all talked about, it was sort of jumping from topic to topic.
I also met some French dudes the last night. One guy was celebrating his birthday. They were easy to get to know and I had a beer with then on the rooftop. The bday boy was traveling for more than a year now and his 2 friends joined him here. One studies in Canada and the other one works in Paris. The bday boy was saying how he would like to get some girls for his bday, well good luck to him.
At the airport of Santa Marta, I also quickly saw the 2 hungover Alejandro and Jan and met a girl I saw on the square in Cartagena. She was easy to remember because of her short hair. We only had a chat and parted our ways.
At Leticia I stayed at a guesthouse / hostel with good reviews about the owner. That’s never a bad choice. Luisa is super nice. She is a 50-ish woman who you can feel is very kind from the inside. Just like Kate in Tainan. Her stories were quite interesting too. Apparently, the only reason she opened a hostel in the Amazonas was that one day her daughter asked her: “mommy, what is going on in the Amazonas in the night?” She replied: “I don’t know, let’s go find out.”
That night, I booked the 3 day Amazonas tour and got to know the Dutch couple who will be joining me as well. Dirven and Malinda, are both nurses. Dirven used to be fairly good football player (2nd league I believe) and is very easy to talk to. Malinda is half indonesian and seems very relaxed and easy going with the jokes that Dirven makes with her. In the jungle, we got to know each other a bit as well but I wouldn’t say that we got close. It was really fun doing things with them because they are relaxed and funny. They skipped the last day actually and went back earlier because Dirven is still feeling some pain from his middle ear infection from diving.
The first day, we met Lucho and Saoul who are from the community. Lucho was our jungle guide and he was roaming around the jungle since he was 13. He only spoke Spanish so mostly I was translating as much as I could to Dirven and Malinda. Lucho is very calm and going with him actually made us feel very safe. At the night Safari, he would always check very carefully for snakes on open spots and is very cautious and focused on the road.
Saoul was back at the house and took care of the lunch and dinner. After the night safari, we sat down and talked about just anything. Lucho showed us some different music on his phone. There were bachata, salsa and other kinds of music. Dirven got excited when we found some dutch dj music on Lucho Huawei phone. Jokes were also made with cachaca, a brazilian alcohol. Apparently, Lucho did not like the life in Leticia even though he likes to dance a lot. In the end, I just can’t describe the details of the conversations but it was fun talking to both of the guys.
Saoul’s family lives in the community as well. We very briefly visited his house before heading to the next spot the second day. Lucho is separated with his wife and they live now somewhere else.
The second stop was Puerto Nariño, where Miguel picked us up. Compare to Lucho and Saoul, he doesn’t smile a lot. He is somewhere around 22 and has a one year old baby already.
At the lake side of Tarapoto, he was building his own hostel. He got the land from his father but has been working on this project since almost a year now. He would save money and buy the materials needed for the house. The wood is expensive and he has to dry the 1500 banana leaves that are required for the roof himself. I have to say, this is quite impressive for his age, taking care of the family, and trying to establish his business.
Overall, Miguel is a very kind guy. When we were kayaking the third day, he would also pick up all the plastic trashes he sees on the way. I also quickly met his wife and her dad. She is working every 2 day and on her free day, she would hang around the port and stay there with people she knows.
When I got back to Leticia, I met a few more people. Short encounters but interesting stories.
There was Martial, who is travelling to Cusco where he will be working with a trekking company.
Arnold, is French as well and studied in Bogota. He went to Venezuela with his dad on a private tour. This tour was led by a French guy who lived there for more than 10 years. Apparently, you need to get picked up in Caracas at the terminal because if you wanted to switch terminals, there are already high chances that you will get robbed. They stayed in their car for the whole trip and never stepped out when there are a lot people around. The tourist sides are empty and you can only stay in the best 5 star hotels (others are all out of business already). In the street, people are waiting for food to arrived to the stores and one there are food, the lines are huge. With the hyper inflation, something would cost doubled the second day. I really can’t imagine how people survive there. Arnold said that rumors are around for something will happen soon there.
There was Alejandro, a bit older, who is born in Mexico, but currently lives in Texas and is teaching Spanish at a community college in Forth Worth. He has been travelling to all the spanish speaking countires to document different festivals. He is a lucky one who got funding from the school. All he needs to do is to publish a book in the end. He also plays underwater hockey and apparently played for the Swiss team as well (even the national teams are allowed to have certain number of foreign players)
There were 2 French guys. Martial, who studied tourism, was travelling onto his working destination Cusco where he will be working in a trekking office.
Arnold is studying in bogota and is just spending some days in the jungle before going back. Interesting story he told was that he went to Venezuela with his dad for 10 days. They found some French guy who was living there for more than 10 years. They got picked up at the terminal (Apparently chances are very high that you got robbed between terminal) and drove around. Some rules are: never leave the car, stay only at the best hotels (Actually only good ones were able to stay in business). There arr apparently short food supplies. Hyperinflation where things cost double the next day. Local people say, soon, something will happen.
David was a 21 year old young Dutch guy who tried the ayaguasca (a halluscinating substance from some tree). retreat thingy in Iquitos. People usually react bad to that and have to puke for a few days after. There were 3 trials and he did not feel a thing in the first two so he went all out on the 3rd. He was not really able to describe anything and even though other people were sharing stories, he can’t say much. I would interested to listen to other stories too. But all he says was it was awesome… And he got bitten by a dog in a jungle area where he was not supposed to be and lost wallet 2 times when drunk. Sometimes brave and stupid are just one step apart.
There was also an australian girl moving to london coz all friends are moving out of brisbane. This is aplarently a thing there.
Parrots. They are crazy at santander park. Google it. Youtube it. I am too lazy too describe coz I am athe airport typing on cellphone :p.
Some pictures again for the last.
The small boat ride when we were entering the jungle
The Santa Sofia community from far:
Lake Tarapoto where we swam and saw some dolphins
Me, in La Paz again after the Uyuni trip, now it is winding down and prepare for the real life.
Finishing up at el dorado airport in bogota before heading home