The Lost City is so 2009!
So, it's all done with now. The verdict on our final trek: the jury is still out. There were parts I enjoyed, and other parts I didn't enjoy, and actually found annoying.
I'll start with the parts I enjoyed. Firstly, I loved the physical exercise - the challenge of walking uphill in temperatures exceeding 30 degrees centigrade at a fast pace was excellent. I've definitely discovered that the bigger the challenge, the more I enjoy it. I couldn't imagine anything more boring than a life without challenges and variety - if it hurts it is doing you good! Secondly, the scenery was beautiful - jungle and pristine waterfalls and rivers to cannonball into and then swim in. Made some nice friends too - Roddy, a nice chap from Northern Ireland was good banter and Julian from Adelaide was a laugh - the highlight of our exchanges was helping to locate the tics on his body and smothering them with Vaseline (not because they had dry lips, but because it suffocated them).
Now onto the things I didn't enjoy. For the first time, I think we got a sh*t group. There were two Swiss girls who made scant attempt to befriend others, with the exception of Julian whom they fancied, and spent the majority of their time just mumbling to each other in Cherman and letting out a constant fake laugh which was the audio equivalent of someone scraping a cheese grater on my face by the end of the 5 days. Also, I attempted general chit-chatter with them (which I am averse to) a couple of times, which was greeted by silence and a look on their faces which would normally result if I'd just farted and wafted it in their direction. There was a British guy who tried to make a joke out of literally EVERYTHING which got very tiring and a miserable git from Ireland who became irritable if anyone dared complain about anything, e.g. 'it's only a feckin' hammock, just pick one and feckin' get on with it'. In summary, I felt like the atmosphere sucked for about 60% of the time. For an unknown reason, I suffered my highest count of tumbleweed moments EVER in 5 days - I may not consider myself to be of Jonathan Ross' calibre (well, actually...) but I am 9/10 content with my level of banter. It's like they'd been paid to shut up when I said anything. To quote Eddy Murphy in Coming to America ("taste the soup!") 'aah, wha'd ya know about funny?'
By the end of the 5 days, I was happy to see the back of the majority of them and looking forward to having fun again, and most importantly HAVING MY EXCELLENT JOKES LAUGHED AT.
Following our return to Santa Marta, I returned to my modus operandi i.e. laying next to a pool and sunbathing. On occasion, for variety, I would get into the pool, then get out to dry off. If I was feeling wild I would leave the hostel premises and buy an ice cream. It's as energetic as I got.
Cressy and I met a lovely Colombian guy in our hostel called John Freddy, who had travelled all the way from from Medellin (the double 'L' in Medellin is pronounced like a soft 'J') on his Vespa moped. We are talking in excess of 800 km - in short, he is a complete legend. He walked and talked with a Caribbean-esque pace and oozed friendliness. We spent a day with him visiting a waterfall and he helped me to practise my Spanish and in return I helped him with his English. He bought us beer and food and told us a lot of interesting information about the surrounding nature and Colombian history. It's his dream to come to England and I intend to help him do so. The poor chap's Dad died only a few months ago and it was very evident how close to him he was. My favourite moment was when he told me a phrase his Dad had often told him when growing up, 'es mas importante para tener amigos que dinero', i.e. it's more important to have friends than money. Right on!
Now to Cartagena. I won't mention the bus journey where our driver crashed into the front of a taxi (albeit at only a few MPHs), neglected to stop, then got chased by the driver of the taxi, who promptly boarded the bus when it next stopped and started punching the driver of the bus and looked like he was trying to pull a gun out of his - to say I nearly cacked myself would not be far wrong - it would take too long.
Playa Blanca - what an experience! It's an idyllic beach approx 45 minutes from Cartagena and most easily reachable by boat. More or less, it is heaven on earth. As we approached I noted the white sand beach, clear turquoise sea (forgive the oxymoron), hammocks to sleep in and the bars selling beer. I was contented. We duly spent the next couple of days doing virtually nothing except sunbathing, relaxing, eating, swimming in the sea and tanning. And oh yes, I have a tan! Photos to follow. Several times I said out loud, "this is a hard life".
Now we're in Cartagena, following a one hour flight which cost less than $50! Perfic. On the plane a good looking Colombian girl stopped me as I was going to toilet and asked if I wanted to sit next to her. I politely declined, so she settled for two photos with me. She obviously has very good taste.
3 days until Canada. WEIRD!!