I’m so excited to move in to a place with a kitchen and a key!!!! No more sausages and snails for me 😀 no more waking people in at 3 in the morning to let me in. No more barking dog at 05.:30. But finding this magical place I speak of was no easy task… We’ve spent the last two weeks being moody, wound-up-too-tight bitches – and that is no way to live in the Caribbean! I don’t think we would have made it if it weren’t for the cheap rum! But at least the experience was culturally educational
This is what I have learned about flat hunting in Santa Marta, Colombia:
- The internet is overrated
- Pounding the pavement is the only strategy that works
- If you go flat hunting with a friend of the same sex, you must specify that you’re not gay, so you’re not looking to share a queen bed for three months
- Anyone can rent out a flat, so you might want to ask your hairdresser, the guy at the juice stand, the guy at the electrical supply store or the guy that sleeps on your doorstep
- Homeless people are to Santa Marta what the Yellow Pages are to the western world
- Real-estate agencies and rental contracts are for squares
- In Santa Marta “amoblado” means furnished, but also not furnished
- There is a general misconception that white people come to Colombia with a truckload of furniture
- You say “I’m looking for an apartment in Santa Marta”; They hear “I want to move to Rodadero
- Don’t give out your number! Your phone will never stop ringing
- In the context of wanting an apartment, ‘Yes’ means yes, ‘maybe’ means yes, ‘no’ means yes and ‘definitely not, not in a million years’ means maybe…
- That the apartment has a shower is not to say that it has a working shower
- In Colombia, a working shower is not a necessity…
Today was Columbus Day and for some twisted reason the Colombians enjoy celebrating the colonisation of the Americas…anyway, for us it meant a long weekend and after all the hopeless attempts of finding an apartment, we were ready for a break! Saturday was spent with the Sin Fronteras girls in Costeño. The weather was pretty bad, but Costeño is a great place in any weather. Its an hour bus ride and a 30min walk away, but the beach is practically deserted. There’s a nice little hostel with some surfers chilling in their hammocks and a couple of dogs, but that’s about it really! Unfortunately for us we missed both lunch and dinner, but we caught the sunset before heading home and left Costeño pretty pleased! Photos
Saturday we took our first trip to Tayrona National Park. I love hiking, but 2,5 hours (each way!) in this horrific combo of heat and humidity was almost too much to bear… Turns out we could have cut the trip short by one hour as there are minibuses inside the park, but except for sports day we don’t get a lot of exercise here, so it probably did us good!! And when we FINALLY arrived at “El Cabo” the third beach and the front page of Lonely Planet Colombia, it was all worth it!! envy away!
After Tyrona, Pippa was Pretty in Pink, so we only spent a few hours at Playa Blanca on Monday. We had some issues with the boat driver that took us over, but the day was still pretty nice:) Here are some photos!
We watched the game at this local tavern, Terraza Latina, with what originally seemed like a low-key bunch of Colombians. Everyone was drinking beer or rum, and there were balloons in the ceiling, but part from that there seemed to be an average amount of enthusiasm between them. That ended at half time though!! When the first Colombian goal was scored the whole tavern jumped out of their seats and started dancing, popping balloons and soaking each other (and us) in beer. They won the game and thereby placed second in the first round of qualifying games. You could have easily thought they just won the cup! There were people dancing in the streets and motorcycle parades with Colombian flags for an hour after the match finished. Any excuse for a party I guess:) More pictures
They are everywhere!!! Haven’t found a bug repellent that works yet, but I keep trying..The Colombians claim vitamin B is the solution, but the jury’s still out!
Now I’m going to distract myself with some apartment hunting. Only problem is, I’m not too keen to live here:
Today FMA and CSF joined forces and arranged sports day together for about 70 kids! It may sound like the perfect recipe for total madness, but with two directors and 15 volunteers it was all pretty much smooth sailing J Busses brought the kids from the barrios to a fenced off park right outside the city. The CSF bus had some trouble, but the FMA kids waited patiently and played soccer in the parking lot for half an hour. But for them it was pretty exciting just to be out of the barrio. The minute we got into the park the kids ran off and changed from jeans to their soccer uniforms (previously given to them by the foundations) and the day could kick off, one hour behind schedule. We are definitely in the Caribbean 😉
We started off with some simple warm-up exercises and split the kids into groups. We played football, basketball and volleyball with the older kids and played tag and duck, duck, goose with the little onesJ All goals and … were celebrated with high fives and hugs. The kids don’t get a lot of physical affection at home, so whenever the volunteers are around it’s like they try to “fill up” on it! It got pretty intense being under the Colombian sun all day, but we had breaks with water, bananas and sandwiches
The rest of the photos are here
I also got to meet my new house mate, an English girl volunteering with Sin Fronteras. Since she speaks both English and Spanish, I’m hoping she’ll help bridge the gap between me and the homestay family. I think the girls are beginning to suspect I have some sort of serious mental illness
So when I get back to Europe I need to go on a veggie diet. Check out a typical Colombian meal and pretty much what I eat 5 days a week..Luckily I can usually get fish the other two days, but veggies are kind of hard to come by and boy do they love to fry their food over here!!
Tonight was InterCambio at Punta Betin and Trivia Night at La Brisa Loca. Its hard to feel guilty about going out on a “school night” when you’re raising money for two great foundations!! We drank beer and rum while we learned nifty little fun-facts like
- In the state of Georgia it’s against the law to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp
- In Singapore it’s considered pornographic to walk around naked in your living room
- In Japan they have a soft drink made from cheese (apparently it also makes a great salad dressing)
- and finally: Turtles can breath through their bums…
This morning I went to the FMA school in Fundadores, but I guess I was a little tired when I got up at 6:30 this morning – and left my camera at home..Kind of defeated the original purpose of going, but I had a good day with the youngest kids! Ivana learned all about the letter E and Juliana learned to write her name:) Afterwards we all made animal masks! I also met a couple of the guys who attend english classes for adults in the afternoons. The volunteer currently in charge is about to leave and I’m hoping to take over soon. I just need a little more progress with my spanish first 😉
Today two of our volunteers are leaving, so last night FMA got together to play a game of Tejo, Colombias national sport.
Lonely Planet describes Tejo as: “lawn bowls on steroids, or badminton with hand grenades – a refreshing mix of adrenaline, testosterone and gunpowder. And the proper way of playing, it’s said, involves consuming ludicrous amounts of beer as you go. What could possibly go wrong?”
It is based on a game played by indigenous warriors over 450 years ago, often with the aim of earning the right to marry some spicy maiden from a rival tribe. Today it’s played by throwing dense steel discs into a 1m2 box at the end of the 20m Tejo lane. The box is filled with clay and in the centre are two small triangle paper packets filled with gunpowder. Points are given to the team with the disc closest to the centre of the box and extra points are given if the gunpowder explodes. It is kind of difficult to concentrate on your aim with all the explosions in the other lanes. Personally I’d say it’s like playing bowling, only you can’t roll the ball and you’re in a shooting range without noise cancelling headphones
On the Lonely Planet website they also mention: “But mind your digits when you fish your tejo disc from the clay. Sometimes the gunpowder goes off without warning”
Let’s just say no one told us that last night..! But all fourteen of us kept our fingers intact, so I guess thats what they call a successful game of Tejo!