Friday, March 21, 2008
Perlas of Wisdom
"You know how you can tell if a tourist is going to Taganga instead of Santa Marta?" Our driver was chattering speedily along in Spanish. C was keeping up, and filling me in every few minutes.
"By their luggage! If a tourist has a backpack, they are going to Taganga."
He also told us that there were no more guerrillas along the trail to Ciudad Perdida, the lost city that was a six-day roundtrip trek in the mountains. Backpacker lore holds that since the 2003 kidnappings of tourists along the route, the tour companies had paid off guerrillas to keep visitors safe, but our driver laughed at the notion of errant paramilitaries.
"They are all in the south!"
"One tourist tried to pay my guide to introduce him to a guerrilla! The guide said there were no more guerrillas. The tourist said 'how much?' Ha ha ha ha, as if we could just go and visit a guerrilla."
We were riding in a hired car from our luxurious hut at Tayrona National Park to Santa Marta, where we would catch a plane to Bogota later that night. After leaving our bags at the airport, we caught a taxi into the town center and took a look around. Highlights included pink porta-pottys decked out in tampon ads, and a man building a Jesus-on-the-cross scene on the sand, complete with evil Roman looking on.