Thursday, February 28, 2013

Santa Marta

Last month in Colombia I spent a long, lovely weekend on the Caribbean coast in a city called Santa Marta and the coast-hugging national park adjacent to it, called Tayrona. This was all thanks to the people over at Colombia travel, which was pretty cool because I doubt I would have dragged my lazy butt out of Cali otherwise. I love Cali, I really do, but it's not the Caribbean, and it's never so green and breezy and chill that you just want to lay naked in a hammock watching the water as the afternoon turns to evening (ok, I didn't actually do this, but I really really would have liked to).

I forget how much my version of "Colombia" is really very specific to Cali-- in Santa Marta people look different, talk different, they even move different. There's something about living on the coast that seems to make everything move a bit slower, that makes everybody a bit more relaxed-- and at the same time makes life a bit more chaotic as nothing runs exactly the way you expect it to. Between the crazy drivers and the chill locals lounging around in flip flops and shorts, it really kind of reminded me of Rio.

This will only really be funny to Argentine readers, but this map of Tayrona shows the Bahia Concha, a.k.a. Vagina Bay in Argentinean Spanish (you can click on the picture if you need greater detail or, you know, actually want useful information). 

Between lazing around, we ate loads of fish and coconut rice at every opportunity. An American lady staying at the same hotel as us told me she was really enjoying the food "other than that weird mayonnaise that they serve with everything," which made me crack up-- she meant the suero, or homemade sour cream, which is extremely common all over the Atlantic coast (as a completely unrelated aside, suero also means saline solution, wtf?) Suero is served with boiled yuca, with vegetables, with fish. I like it on yuca but avoid it with vegetables (or avocado, like in the "salad" in the picture above...Felipe was happy to take care of it, though). I was thrilled at the amount of fresh juice stands on the street, lined up next to the booths selling what's called fritanga in Cali (fried deliciousness)-- which incidentally is not called fritanga in Santa Marta, but fritos, which, ok, makes a lot more sense than fritanga.

Santa Marta is where Simon Bolivar, that revered dude that liberated South America from the Spanish, died, and the quinta (ranch) where he died was (unsurprisingly) preserved as a museum, a must-see for all visiting dignitaries. There were huge iguanas running around everywhere, I was totally fascinated by them and nobody else seemed to care at all. Kind of like when Felipe and I were at the National Mall in D.C. and all he wanted to do was take pictures of the squirrels. On second thought, maybe our lazy butts don't deserve to travel...

1 comment:

  1. Ah... I LOVED my time in this part of Colombia. Tayrona is beautiful - did you see any of the Kogi people? Man, there were absolutely fascinating and seemed so shy and elusive.

    An hour or so to the east of Santa Marta is a small town called Palomino, placed where a long, winding river meets the sea. It's a beautiful spot.