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Lost City of Sierra Nevadas, Sexy Motels, In a band...

COLOMBIA | Thursday, 27 February 2014 | Views [535]

Wow Colombia is my favorite country in the world.

I  have been on a wild wild ride through Colombia and living so much in the moment I haven’t felt so empowered to step out to write about it. 

 

Cartagena:

I stay in the walled city in a Roof hostel with an amazing view above for people watching, which there is plenty of. People are jolly, stopping in the streets often to dance to any music which is heard from the store fronts, chat and share produce, or offer their fresh squeezed juices or coffee shots stored in their hand carts. The peoples personalities and looks are so colorful and welcoming. The city is built within walls of protection with cannons atop the wall of all the fortresses. The dirty looking antique walls cast shadows onto the Spaniard style bright buildings with overflowing flowery balconies. Every corner is subjected to constant artesinal culture with hippies selling their street goods and fruity venders pushing carts with juices and slices of fruity paradise. You know the Chiquita banana girl- they are real here. Fancy dressed ladies with fruit salad atop their head, yes, they are everywhere. Streets fill with horse drawn carriages and elderly tourist groups as they view the many strange statues in the city like the big naked fat ladie in Santa Domingo square. The tall clock towers and towering churches are consumed by the photographers at night who aim to capture a tourist free photo snap while the building glow with magical light.

Taganga, Santa Marta:

Well if I didn’t know Spanish before, I better get on it now! I work in a hostel in this cozy beachy mountain village. My hostel, Nirvana Hostel, for some reason brings in Argentinians and Chileans the most, with a rare gringo or two every few weeks. I never knew Argentinans were so light skinned and sort of german exotic looking. For some reason I am confused for being an Argentinian daily, I would say at least 3 times a day, even argentinians ask me if I am one of them. I am working in reception and am being forced to practice my Spanish constantly. At least for now I know how to recognize when someone needs toilet paper or a towel.  

Taganga is hot by day and the rocksand beach has crystal clear water, but is not so much a bright blue sea view more of a desserty style paradise with cacti nd a few walking trails. Sunset provides a full view of the red sun dipping into the sea while the moon hovers overhead. Within an hour of sundown the typical travelling band is found in the streets playing for cash by the resturants, or the amazing afro brazillion drum and dance group Chaque Cultural, is having their drum sesh in the town center. I was blessed enough to dance with the group a few times and we really rocked the town staying up til 3 am laying around in a large circle making tunes and laughing at the insanity of the constant activity of Tagangas night life.

One very cool part of the town is the dog life here. There are hundreds of stray dogs running amok however they all seemed well cared for. Most are well filled out, no skin and bones, no disease and they flock to the hippies in the square each night. When the typical annoying street man comes to bother the group with pleas of money, alcohol, or just weird behavior, the dogs sense the energy and immediately run to the men at least 10 dogs barking at his knees warnings of protection for us. The dogs are all like best friends and one night I looked up and down the long beach and found 5 pairs of dogs running to the sea, chasing one another, wrestling and rolling in the sand. Its so great to see the happiness and health of the animals of the village. One night a large pot of fish soup was brought out to share with the hippies at 2am.. The funny thing was, the first people that were served, were the dogs, out of large dixie cups they sipped their meals and then layed at our sides ready for protecting us again.

Santa Marta is my neighboring town where I buy all my produce each week. I go to the grimy market with fishheads and animal parts strewn atop tables, I make my way to my favorite vendors. In one purchase I can buy 15dollars worth of produce which can last at least 2.5-3 days. What a cheap and healthy lifestyle this fruity diet provides me. And the freshness of produce cannot be compared to anywhere else in the world. I have tried guanabana fruit whichhas a dragon like exterior with fluffy white seed filled mess internally. The plantains here are also my new favorite, I can cook slices of them and smash them into toasted potato chip like goodies, I cannot wait to make these at home! 

 

Lost City, Ciudad Perdida, Sierra Nevada Mountains:

The lost city or Ciudad Perdida is a city which is built into the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. Currently inhabited by the Kogi tribes and other nativos, the Sierra Mountains are at the highest elevation for the region. I embark on a 4 day trek to the top of the mountain ranges to view the lost city. Apparently the lost city was discovered by men looking for gold and other antiques in the 60s and was excavated and uncovered and restored through help by the government. 4 grewling days of walking climbing and jumping are well worth the hassle as we take our final walk up 1000 steps to the top of the city. See my photos below, looks like a fairy tale.

In 2005 I read the Kogi book and thought how amazing it would be to visit this land, who knew it would come true and I would be able to see into this hidden world. They may be the most protected and wild nativo culture in the world and it is believed that they are hidden in the mountains where no one knows where they exist. They are very quiet in nature and have a mysterious earthly expert like manner to their lives which makes me feel a bit naive and leaves me asking more questions than before I started. The men and women have long black hair and they wear white garments with colorful woven bags. Men constantly grind seashells to make lye which is for mixing with the coca leaves which they chew on all day for the use of staying awake and working through the bitter cold. Women and children constantly weave cloth and  bags. Their everyday life is only filled by the purpose of existance. A constant meditation of serving the land.

Our team extreme decided to run home on the final day so leaping from one rock to the next, flying over crevices, and skidding on the powdery sand in the blazing sun was only rewarded by our final hour when we all jumped into the large natural pool. Being dirty and wet for 3 days was rewarded by this crystal clean spring water. Our group had great energy and I ended up travelling with 5 of the people over the next few weeks and I cant wait for our next adventure. 

 

The Band, Clan Destino

With my great camera skills and dance moves, I have impressd a few bands while I have been travelling. One in particular I began working with along the sunny Taganga beaches. Recording video, making movies, and coordinating dance moves. My every day and weekend is taken over by street performances and planning our next shows, advertising and creating music. I am an official shaker girl with my homemade rice sounds and of course my acrobatic hula hoop dancing which blows the crowd away. I am also the manager and help their saving, they are horrible with money. I am making their website now and designing with them for tshirts and goodies for their first album.

One weekend we move to a new city for a night to try out the local culture and earn some cash, Barranquilla, the ugly industrial no beach town, but where the 2nd largest Carnival in the world takes place. Arriving late we are bombarded by Barranquillas carnival life which has started its annual celebration 3 weeks early. We are forced to find the cheapest accommodation and unfortunately land in a Sexy Motel. Our room has a very useful chair which has stirrups and handles, use your imagination, a large mirror on the wall, a vinyl mattress and a horrible case of bed bugs. Lets just say there is little rest and we cannot wait to leave this place by morning.

After my finals days in the northern coast, I begin my decent back to Cartagena where the band and I perform a few times a week in the streets, resturants, and bars. I even get the chance to dance in a Bourban Street bar which is like american mardi gras, with a large bar top where I put on my sexy moves atop the customersr. Rolling around, standing on my head and just being crazy and sharing good vibes. The performance was great, only that my foot kicked an american dudes drink to the floor. The night was outrageous and we were asked to return, the crowd loved it.

The two main boys of the band Tatino, singer and accoustic guitarist, Juancho, drummer (the cajon drum) are captivatingly cool and lovely humans. Their style ranges from a bit of reggae peppy beats, some accoustic like-rock, but mostly their lyrics fill the hearts of love seeking audiences. Their genre is based on the people they meet on their 5month colombian tour as they explore with various artists including an Argentinian trumpetest and a Mexican cellist...what a magical mix. Their sly smiles and grungy but chiq attire grab the audience as they serenade the heart. I am currently teaching them some english and pronunciation for more of a tourist crowd.

 

Please check below for links to my video dancing on the bar in Bourban street, and the album here of some wonderful photos of the past few weeks.

 video..

http://youtu.be/pZPJWHy6tFs

 

photo gallery

http://journals.worldnomads.com/kena/photos/45759/Colombia/colombia#axzz2vSvvzINW 

 

I hope you are all well.

 

Carnival is callin my name!

Tags: barranquilla, cartagena, ciudad perdida, colombia, kogi, lost city trek, santa marta, taganga

 

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