Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Colombia: Beaching in Tayrona National Park

Day 3: 

"Queso! Chocolaaaaaate! Queso!! Chocolaaaate!! Queso!!! Chocolaaaaate!!! QUESO!!!"

At around 7 am, a woman shrieking those words with increasing volume slowly jogged me out of my hammock-sleep into a waking state of pure confusion. I like those things. Where am I? Who is yelling that? And why? In the words of Jessica, "I was happy because I love cheese. But then mad because I didn't want to be woken up. It was a confusing morning."

Luckily KatieHat had the wherewithal to unfold out of her hammock and explore the situation -- the woman was selling fresh bread/pastries filled with ham and cheese, tomatoes and cheese, or chocolate. Hello breakfast!

We were sleeping in hammocks near the beach in Tayrona National Park (here's the previous post about how we got there). I must say, though it sounds awesome and I'm glad we did it, sleeping in hammocks is the worst. You can't be flat! You can't turn on your side! Napping in hammocks is awesome, but sleeping sleeping? Nope. Just something to keep in mind...

But we were waking up to queso and beach sunrise and that pleasant early morning warmth you get in the summer before it's heat-of-the-day hot, so I was quickly over my uncomfortable night. We walked along the coast, exploring Tayrona's series of beaches: Arrecifes (no swimming) to La Piscina to El Cabo.

The day started overcast but by 11 am the sun was out in full force -- I napped on the beach while KatieHat and Jessica played in the water.

A man on the beach sold us egg arepas for lunch (us = never not eating fried corn things) before we headed back to Arrecifes to get our books. I read on the beach until the sun started to go down, then we headed back to our camp site to scrub off the layers of sweat and sunscreen before dinner.

Summer nights guys. They are the BEST. You know, when it's warm enough that you're comfortable in a dress but not sweaty at all and you can just sit outside forever? That's what I want all the time.

Day 4:

Queso lady woke us up again the next morning, as expected. The morning sunlight was beautiful, so I got up and meandered down to our beach to look at the waves (uhoh am I my dad???).

We went on an abbreviated beach walk before packing up our stuff to leave. Hiking out to the main road took about two hours and was difficult! Mostly because it's hilly and hot, but in a good way -- it was nice to get some exercise and hiking through the jungle, though sweaty, is pretty unique.

We collapsed into chairs at a roadside restaurant, downed a Coke, and then hopped on the local bus to Santa Marta, jamming to the sweet Colombian pop beats in the back seat (all Colombians think we're crazy all the time).

The bus dropped us off in the middle of somewhere but nowhere (i.e. in the town of Santa Marta, but just on some random street, not the bus station). We got in a cab and asked him to take us to the tourist direct bus to Cartegena (we had taken the local non-direct bus to get there), and luckily he knew where that office was!

They told us the bus was leaving in 40 minutes, so perfect! Time to find some lunch before we go! But then, even though it was just us, the bus was about to leave NOW! But comida? Banyo? The bus people looked at us blankly. Uno momento! KatieHat went next door to a "restaurant" that was essentially two guys with a box of fried chicken legs and whole potatoes. As she was pointing to the ones she wanted, I rushed in Banyo? One of the guys led me to their back room to use the bathroom, and I came out to KatieHat frantically counting out Colombian change -- one, two, three -- the amused, if not confused, guys joined us in counting out loud in English -- four, five, six! Ok go! 

Needs handled, we ran out to board the bus (which was more of a shared van), which soon filled up with fancy Colombians. We sat in the front row of seats, eating chicken out of a bag like the classy ladies we are, and then promptly passed out for the 4-hour ride back to Cartegena.