.. go BOOM!
A 3.5 hour bus ride eastward took me to the beautiful city of Santa Marta. On our way, we passed quite a bit of poverty and a whole heck of a lot of trash. It was really sad to see all of the rivers polluted with trash, and people walking on roads that were covered in trash.. makes me seriously want to start an environmental/recycling program in the area to teach awareness. But, anywho.. I believe I saw my first mountain of cacti.. looked quite legit, can't say I would want to hike up it though! On the bus, I met two guys from Malta, Mike & Luke, and an Aussie, Sean. They're great guys and we've been having a lovely time! The bus was insane, first they showed a movie about the war in Iraq, then they showed a movie called 'Splice'. O M G, I have never seen such a mentally disturbing movie, it was just WEIRD.. I'd never heard of it before, but it was kind of hard not to watch a bit of it since it was so insanely strange!
Santa Marta is at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains and also on the caribbean. However, if you're looking to go there for a gorgeous beach.. don't expect one to be at the city center! The beach by the center was covered in trash and it is also a major port, so the panoramic view is not so nice! (However, just short rides away away, you will find paradise after paradise!)
If you want an amazing hostel, try La Brisa Loca.. I am IN LOVE! I couldn't stop telling the guys how much more I liked this city (until I saw the beach) and how fabulous the hostel was! They renovated an old mansion in the city and it is spectacular. It has a pool, bar, rooftop terrace, restaurant, lots of color, great staff, a complimentary beer at arrival, wifi, EVERYTHING. This place just oozes with character!
Last night, we met up with two of Luke and Mike's friends, Jorge & Henry. They met in Malta while getting their Masters. Jorge lives in El Rodadero, a small beach town right outside of Santa Marta & Henry flew in from Bogota. They were great guys, a bit older, but great company! We first went to an overly priced (err..) chain sortof restaurant in El Rodadero.. I was none to happy about that, and bought the cheapest thing on the menu.. I still paid about 3 times what I would have been normally spending on meals.. but they were great company so it was worth it! Then, we rented some chairs on the beach. A man came by and plopped a cooler in front of us of beer, Gorge paid him for a set amount.. and he just leaves his cooler there and collects it when everyone is finished. This beach was great, no debris, and lots of musicians everywhere. There was a band, mariachi-esque, that played for a group of people for about an hour (I think they had to pay about 3 dollars for each song) and danced the night away. It was so great to watch. People here just adore music and dancing, and it is just so natural to them. There is something so innocent about dancing life away on a beach, great! The police came and kicked everyone off of the beach at midnight (obviously Colombia isn't as laid back as I had imagined! But it's great they are promoting a safe environment!!)
Oh yea, and I learned something. I HATE HATE HATE HAAATTEEE accordions. Hate. I'll leave it at that, I believe I have a fear of them now!
The best part of the night was going to a night club and dancing salsa/meringue/vallenato. The Colombian guys helped to teach me, and it was ace. Best time I've had in a long time going out!! It's just so rhythmic and hot and sweaty and intense... sigh... uh, I believe I'm addicted, I cannot WAIT to go back tonight!!