I'm back after a week of detox from my life and from all technology! My travels don't always (ever) go smoothly. After Bogota I was supposed to leave on Tuesday for Santa Marta and Palomino, since it was Semana Santa and I had many days off from work. This time I didn't even have airline companies to fight with because Santa Marta is easily accessible by bus, but somehow it still got complicated. On Monday evening I got suddenly very sick and vomited non stop the whole night. On Tuesday I could barely move, it was horrible. I don't know if it was a stomach flu or a food poisoning but I haven't been that sick in a very long time (I swear this was even worse than after my accident when I was high on morphine and other medicines and threw up everything I tried to swallow). So no way I could have taken the bus for five hours. I stayed in bed the whole day and then on Wednesday, with high medication, I finally made it to Santa Marta. I had absolutely no energy left when I got there so all I could do was to enjoy the rooftop pool at my hostel, Masaya. I'll have to go back another time to really see the city. S joined me later in the evening (she wasn't sick but her bus left some three hours late and at her hostel they gave her a bed without a mattress, no smooth start for her either) and the next day we traveled to a nearby beach destination, Palomino. Four days away from the city, with no cars to be seen, and staying literally 24/7 on the beach was exactly what we both needed. Now I am back in Cartagena, tanned and feeling a lot better already, except that I still can't eat much.
Here's some pics from our trip. Credits to S, my dear photographer, for most of them.
As you can see, sick or not, life could be a lot worse. :)
Day 85, Bogota: A visit to a salt cathedral in Zipaquirá, photo-shooting with cows, and some more food-tasting.
Early yesterday morning T came to pick me up from my hostel in Bogota and we drove an hour or so, to a nearby town called Zipaquirà. A friend of his, J, joined us on the way and we then spent the day exploring what Zipaquirá is famous for, a Salt Cathedral. It is an underground Catholic church, built in the tunnels of an old salt mine. Although the Zipaquirá Salt Mine is one of countless salt mines in the world, the Salt Cathedral is one of only two, the other being in Poland, and thus a must-to-see when traveling to Bogota. It was an interesting visit, here's some pics we took on our way:
My trip to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, on Thursday afternoon did not start as smoothly as I would have wanted. I was boarding the plane at Cartagena airport, we were already walking from the gate to the plane, when suddenly everyone turned around and started walking back to the airport building. Déjà Vu, that was almost like what happened to me and J in New York although back then it was only us two who were kicked out from the plane and also we had already traveled for quite a while so we were tired and angry. This time I was only curious to know what was happening and soon enough I got a new reason to add on my list “Flights are delayed because...”: They had closed one of the runways in Bogota so there was nowhere we could land and thus, we could not take off. Some 5 hours later, when we were finally ready to go I was getting tired and angry and feeling sick after a free hamburger I had eaten. I had finished the book I was reading, discovered every corner of each shop there was (it is a very small airport I can tell you) and spent my money on a perfume. Vive Viva Colombia! Not the best first experience with this airline company.
When I arrived to Bogota airport it was almost midnight and I just wanted to get to my hostel. There were two taxi lines, one with at least 50 people queuing and another one with, well no one. An officer from then non-existing line spotted me immediately and asked if I wanted to take a taxi. I asked what the difference was in letting him take me to a taxi or standing in the line as everyone else. He told me that his taxi was a “special service taxi” and that I would not have to wait, and that the price would of course be the same. I didn’t believe that for a second but I was so eager to get out from there that I decided to pay rather than wait and hopped in the car with him. We arrived to the city and soon after I realized that we were driving in a very scary-looking neighborhood, with narrow streets, run-down houses and no people to be seen. For a moment a panicked a bit, I had heard various persons telling me how dangerous Bogota is and suddenly I was sure that this guy was not taking me to my hostel but somewhere else where he would rob me or rape me or god knows what. Of course this was not the case, a moment later we came to my hostel and he let me go. However, I didn’t feel much better when he asked me why I had chosen that hostel in Chapinero instead of a nicer place in the historical old town, Candelaria. Looking around, I was wondering exactly the same thing...
Day 81, Cartagena: Some things don't change... Like my love for sports, chocolate and afternoon chats with a girlfriend.
I realised some time ago that I was trying too much to live like I lived in Paris: a big circle of friends, going out for dinner or drinks almost every night, running around like crazy in order to do as much as possible. These past years I had gotten used to a busy life: between school, work, sports, friends, dates and so on I rarely had time to just be on my own and relax, and if I wanted to do that I had to book a time for it in my agenda. I love the big city life and I miss it, at least some parts of it. I miss the feeling of never being bored, never being lonely and never having to plan my weekends much in advance because my best friends would always be available and we would do something together. When I decided to leave everything and move to the Caribbean I knew that my life would change, and that was exactly what I wanted. In December when I started this blog I promised that I would take it easy, relax and enjoy simple life. Sometimes I forget about that but luckily there is J, who reminds me when I do. But hey, it's not easy changing your life-style all of a sudden!
I don’t usually work on Fridays but yesterday I did because we had some visitors coming to the foundation and I had to receive them since N is in the Netherlands. I didn’t mind though, it turned out to be a very nice and relaxing day. What we usually do with visitors is that we make a presentation about Fundación La Vecina and show them around in the school buildings. Then, if they want to spend more time discovering the Boquilla neighborhood, they can go on a canoe tour in the mangroves and have lunch in a traditional restaurant far away on a deserted beach. I had already seen some visitors come and go but this time, as it was Friday and I was not really even supposed to be at work, I decided to go with them and try out the tour so next time I know what I’m talking about.
I am at work so just writing a short post to say how much I enjoy spending my days amongst these adorable kids. This morning, right when I had started working, one of the youngest and cutest boys came to our office, together with our secretary, to wish me a felíz día de la mujer. He gave me a card and hugged me so hard that I almost started to cry. That was really the best way to start my day.
Or more like new climat, new style. One month in Cartagena and I had enough. Heat, humidity, wind and salt water were slowly but surely killing my beautiful, long hair. Besides, I had to have it tied up anyway because during the day it’s very hot and in the evening very windy. So I finally decided to have it cut. And because 1) I don’t like doing things half way through and 2) my hair grows super fast, I went a bit crazy and my hair is now some 25 cm shorter than what it was. You can imagine how I held my breath when the hairdresser took the scissors, held on my ponytail and started to cut.
I did it I did it I did it! Almost five months after the accident I went running again! I think physically I’ve been ok for a while now but mentally not quite. These past weeks I was really trying hard but I just couldn’t. Every time I planned to go for a run, I would panic last minute and go do something else. But this week I decided that I just can’t live with this fear anymore, that at some point I have to stop being afraid of cars and crossing the street. So I went for a run on Thursday night and again this morning. Even better, this morning I did what I swore I would do in Cartagena: I went running on top of the wall that circles the old town!
There is not much that could be more rewarding. I stand in the sun, on the patio of Fundación La Vecina’s side building and observe the cheerful chaos. Children run around, from classroom to another, or just for the sake of running. Once in a while one or two of them will come to me and give me a hug. They talk fast and unclearly so I never understand everything and they have to repeat thousand times, but I love the fact that they want to tell me how they are and what they are doing in classes. When I ask them if they are having fun or if they like coming to school they always say yes. This week one little boy told me that I am his favorite teacher. And I’m not even a teacher really. Aww, they are so cute. A clase de danza is going on in the middle of the patio, a group of 15 children is learning to dance to traditional Colombian rhymes. As Cubans and Jamaicans, these kids were also born with the moves and I admire them with envy. This is an ordinary afternoon amongst the children of Centro Educativo de la Fundación La Vecina. We are in La Boquilla, a very poor neighborhood of Cartagena, but somehow the kids still look happy.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!