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A day of Contrasts

A day of contrasts

sunny 35 °C

Day 14 Monday, February 12, 2018

A mini-bus picked us up in Cartagena for our journey up to a small family run posada to the north east about 5 hours. We drove out of the walled city and quickly left the colonial architecture of Cartagena behind. The beaches are wide and long but there’s few people on them. There’s groupings of condo towers, probably for tourists but they don’t look too enticing. Gradually they run out and we’re into many miles of flat, straight highway.

Northern Colombia along the Caribbean coast, is flat. It’s actually a series of small islands, practically sandbars, joined together by a road. It’s also very dry and the landscape soon turned very brown and parched. (An annoyed gecko in our room is just giving me the what for). Srub and grass dominate the landscape. There’s a few skinny horses, goats, and cows about but not a lot. Occasionally there’s greener sections where there must be a bit more water.

Every once in a while we go through a small town with small shops and restaurants with the standard plastic chairs. Very different from the restaurants and lively atmosphere of Cartagena.

After about 2 hours we reach Barranquilla, it’s an industrial town, not a tourist town. Not that long ago, about 15 years, this area was threatened by rebels and then para-military. Once an agreement was made to stop the violence, the economy started to improve and people moved back into town looking for work. There were a lot of cranes building accommodation for the people. But…as we continued out of town it was apparent that poverty was still very much a factor. At a stop light 25-30 squeegy people offered their services. Housing was made from cement block and corrugated metal. Carts with skinny horses were at the side of the road. Dirt replaced pavement on the side streets. How do these people
earn enough money to squeeze out a meal? Subsistence farming was not an option here.


Out of Barranquilla, we returned to salt marsh interspersed with small islands for a while and then came to some small towns. We’re used to street vendors taking advantage of speed bumps but here the children, dressed in costume, stood in the centre of the road to stop traffic and put their hat out. People did not seem to stop for them and the children moved aside as we passed. It was a disturbing sight as it displayed the poverty in this area.

We drove past Santa Marta, a tourist town on the coast. We did not drive through but could see the high rise towers in the distance. Just past Santa Marta we turned inland. Quickly the fauna changed and became green and lush and the road became windy as we moved into the mountains. Again through small towns but with vegetable markets and even nurseries. We turned right and drove up the road to our accommodation. The family that runs the place has owned the property for 60 years. They built a small ‘villa’ with basic rooms for about 20. We do have a hammock, a mosquito net, and a gecko. Fortunately the moody cat did not decide upon our room. We are within a hearing distance and a 5 minute walk through the jungle to the beach where the surf is pounding…all the way from where?


Posted by Fredricgail2017 17:59 Archived in Colombia

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