The main talking points of the night bus journey from San Gil to Santa Marta involved discomfort and confusion. The discomfort was technically not even on the bus it was lugging my backpack to and from the terminal, the straps did not make for a pleasant feeling on my raw steak like burnt shoulders and to make matters worse when we got to the bus terminal Earl was the one complaining because of his so called burnt stomach? Had he not seen me? I was hard to miss I looked like a Dragon fruit. I swear if that melodramatic afro queen had the same second degree burns as me he would be claiming death, still he is probably far too sensible to be looking the colour of a white mouse's feet. When we were on the bus I was pleased we were sat next to a guy playing Colombian music as loud as he could from his phone and a baby behind us who went on to s*** their britches and every one should know that baby poop is the worse smell in the world. The confusion of thee trip lay in two parts, one time waking up in the middle of the night to find my flip flops missing, in a drunken like sleepy haze I tried to search my surroundings even lying down on the floor to try and access under the seats in pitch black, I managed to find one. When I woke up and the sun gave more light I found the other at the side of my feet. It wasn't long after gleefully finding my second flip-flop that the next bit of confusion occurred. The driver shouted Santa Marta so we got off and claimed our baggage before being ushered and bundled on another bus. One minute we thought we were there, then we found out we had another half hour or so to go. Still I'd take these stories any day long rather than other horror stories we here of journeys.
Once a Colombian Cartel Mansion and now renovated into a popular backpacker hostel - Drop Bear would be our home for the night. Things got off to a near perfect start when I noticed a Game of Thrones book in the midst of their book exchange, unfortunately it wasn't the third which I required but it was the fourth, so I acquired it for future reading. We then got taken to our ten bed dorm and what was noticeable immediately was the amount of space, even though it was a ten bed dorm you could have easy got more bunk beds in there and the shower you could have probably got a whole football team in there. The hostel went from strength to strength a good pool with volleyball and nets, it even had a pool cinema for use on a Monday night, a games room, a cinema, with a hard-drive full of movies (I managed to acquire a few for my own) and an alley full of hammocks for those who wanted to relax. It also had a bar, although if I'm being a bit picky it was a tad on the small side and a kitchen. It had everything. I've been travelling a fair time now and this is probably the best hostel I have ever stayed at, like I say it had everything, well not quite for some reason or another, the hostel was lacking in guests somewhat. I was just hoping they were all out on tours or arriving late so there would be a good Saturday night party. There are stories of people booking in for three days and ending up here for three weeks and it was a shame we couldn't stay at the hostel longer and do one of the many tours available such as Minca, the Quebrada Valencia waterfalls or The Lost City trek but Earl was leaving in just over a week and we needed to press on to see and do as much as possible.
With most of the exciting things to around Santa Marta taking days to do or hours away we decided to have a walk around town, we picked up a map which gave an indication of ten things to things to go and see and a route. It was really only 9 attractions as number one was the hostel itself. We did the walk in reverse order mainly because I needed a cash machine and number ten on the list was supermarket and cash machine. It also enabled us to dive in the supermarket and get some air con. I'm not sure if I've said this already but the person who invented air con should be knighted, they are a genius. The heat in Santa Marta was even hotter than San Gil. Earl;' phone claimed it was only 28 but I would have liked to have seen a temperature gage because I felt like I was in an oven with it on the highest gas mark. After getting some funds the next stop was a statue of Colombia's most famous footballer, on the map it said statue of Pibe so I had no idea if I would know the fella or not but it ended up being the moppy haired Carlos Valderama and as you can see from the blog cover I got my photo with the bronzed imitation. A local food market was next up, but unfortunately it looked like Saturday was not the day for it as there were only a handful of stalls open. We walked towards the next stop San Andresito, we didn't really know what it was or what we were looking for so assumed it must have been the more knick-knack market selling everything from bags to sunglasses to phone fake DVD's. Santa Marta Cathedral was next followed by the beach, this wasn't the most impressive beach as the coast was mainly used as a port and the better beaches are apparently in the surrounding areas around half an hour to an hour away. We then walked through Parque de los Novois to our penultimate destination the flower market and cemetery. Our last stop was the Indigenous barrio / area of Santa Marta before heading back to the cartel house turned backpacker shack to make use of their fine facilities.
After a chorizo sandwich I opted to send an hour or two by the pool, although I was pink there was still some white bits where I had been reading so at some angles it looked like I had a St Helen's rugby league top on. So I settled down reading my latest book Little Bee by Chris Cleave, as soon as the sun started to started to set I joined Earl up on hammock alley until it was time for a tuna pasta dinner and then happy hour. Unfortunately the numbers I had hoped for didn't arrive but there was a small gathering , this comprised of three English girls - Katherine, a Deborah Ward look alike, a bit mental, and with a military back ground. Then there was Amy - she allegedly produced blue movies, I'm not sure I believed her, but that would be a weird lie. The third of the group and by far the most attractive was Alex, I'm not sure what she did, at first I thought her laugh would annoy me but I ended up taking a shine to it. The bar maid - an Aussie called Elisha also joined us drinking as we went wild on the two for 25 jugs, cocktails and beers whilst we played jenga. It was an interesting night Earl And myself had a bit of a quarrel that threatened to over shadow the previous five months but luckily we were sober enough to sort things out before things properly escalated, Earl shacked up with the crazy military bird and I ended up passing out in the hammock on our veranda leaving myself as easy prey for the millions of mosquitos along the Caribbean Coast.
My hangover was helped a little by a dip in the pool and three homemade chorizo sandwiches, we didn't have much time to reflect on the chaos of the previous night as our bus was at the main gate and ready to take us to the home of Colombia's most famous musician Barranquilla.
So until next time stay safe and take care