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March 17, 2005

Cartagena, Colombia

The tremendous heat of this city forces me inside of a supermarket that has internet on the second floor. ah, air conditioning.
So Tayrona park was exactly as i had predicted, we found a secluded hill at the end of the very last beach to 'guerilla camp' on, as aaron calls it. our days consisted of waking up, finding a coconut to crack open with aaron's machete, drinking it's milk and eating it's meat, then swimming, snorkeling, lounging in hammocks, reading, and cooking over an open fire for most of the day, before a little bit if rum and an amazing night's sleep beneath the stars. eventually the ranger caught us and we had to relocate to one of the campsites, but the joyous tranquility of the caribbean kept us enraptured and content just the same.
i left the beach a day early to go scuba diving in Taganga. the first dive in one year for me was straight down to 35 meters, it felt amazing to be in the water again. i had no nitrogen narcosis, just amazing views of neon electic fish and huge coral fans and outcroppings. the second dive was a drift dive at 15 meters, the underwater current pulled us along and we saw this opaque jellyfish big as a basketball, being orbited by little fish that seemed to be cleaning it or eating it's flesh.
aaron and kristy arrived in taganga, and we had a hot busride here to cartagena. this city is dirty, loud, hot, and dripping with sweat and life. so far i have really enjoyed it, we went for a walk around the old city, which has walls built 400 years ago to repulse attacking pirates sent by the english royalty to try and usurpe the spanish monopoly of the new world. today we went to the main fortress and the museum of torture, and had a guide explain for us in hilarious english the history of the inquisition in Cartagena. it wasn't funny business at all, mostly it was horrible senseless violence perpetrated by the church, but that doesn't seem to be anything new. today we ate at a hari krishna vege restaurant, but the employees all had cell phones, it was curious.
semana santa, the national holiday, is about to begin, which means the coast will flood with people. therefore i am leaving tomorrow night, ending the 2 and a half months i have traveled with aaron and kristy. in truth i am bummed to be parting ways, they have been amazing to travel with. the prospect of finding new traveling companions as good as them is daunting at best.
so the interesting part of what will happen next for me is this- i must be in suriname by midnight on the 7th of april. this will including traveling through all of venezuela, stopping in caracas to get my passport. from there, i will have to head south into brazil before crossing into guyana, where i will face an 18 hour pickup truck ride to georgetown, the dangerous capital city. then, i must fight my way onto a ferry for the ride across huge rivers to suriname. it will be tons of hours spent in bouncing moving vehicles, and i am hoarding books for the voyage. wish me luck, i begin tomorrow night.

Posted by bendan at March 17, 2005 12:30 PM

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