A toe hold in south America

So I guess I’m a little behind here . Where to start ? I’m at the new marina in Santa Marta , Columbia . That sentence alone would have sounded ridiculous , like something out of a national lampoon spoof not too many years ago . But it’s friendly and beautiful here now where the Andes mountains meet the Caribbean . And yes this was the heart of the contrabandista /cocaine/ pirate coast of Columbia not so long ago . Columbias new tourism motto is : the only danger is you wont want to leave . Really . At least they have a sense of humor about it . A very wild and windy piece of coastline . Breathtakingly beautiful remote bays , now national park .The Sierra Santa Marta mountains are the highest in Columbia and rise to just under 19,000 feet not more than 25 miles from the ocean . That’s Alaska or Tibet tall . I can’t see the snow caps from the boat , the rows of jagged mountain ridges disappear into cloud looking south , inland towards the peaks . So , should I go on the 5day trek up into the mountains to see the lost city of the jungle ? I’m just trying to decide what footwear to bring . I walked and bouldered a little distance along shore yesterday trying to get to the aquarium /museum at rodadero the first town over the first ridge to the west , headed toward Cartagena , and I was pretty worn out at days end . I think it’ll be a lot cooler a little higher up , though . Next time I go to rodadero , only a few miles and minutes away ( bus costs about .75 cents ) I will take the water taxi to the aquarium . Rodadero is kind of like south beach Miami in contrast to the haight asbury backpacker ambiance of taganga the neighboring pueblo over the first ridge to the east . Next I will take a bus/taxi to minca the first pueblo headed into the mountains . Waterfalls , mountain streams , Eco hostels . Views of snow capped mountains one way , santa marta and the caribbean the other .I think its about 2000 feet up .If you think i have been a little slow to explore south America I agree . But in my defense I am trying to improve my Spanish , buses come and go from various parts of the city , I’m just getting comfortable figuring out how to conduct simple business in spanish in pesos by the thousands , use local atms and getting my email affairs in order ,most of the fruits and vegetables trees and birds I don’t even recognize , so just getting around Santa Marta on my bike has been a total information and sensory overload . Did you know Columbia has the greatest diversity of birds of any country ? Me neither . So heres a little glimpse of marina life : a few days ago a boat pulled in with 3 Norwegian guys in their 20’s . They came 22 days from cape verdes to Aruba . Like most cruisers here , they are headed to the pacific . I asked if it was hard just sailing past the islands of the eastern Caribbean after so long a passage and they just sort of shrugged , not really they said , even when they anchored in Aruba they didn’t really want to go ashore . They liked life underway . They had a lot of stuff on deck , the boat being only about 34 feet or so I’d guess . And just aft of the upturned inflatable on the foredeck / house is a box with chicken wire . So I ask , what is that for ? The hen , they tell me . They got a hen in Gambia ( they loved Gambia ) hoping for some fresh eggs on the way . No eggs . So they added a rooster to help things out . Still no eggs . So they ate the rooster , but the hen had become a pet so she stayed . They told me she would come aft to keep the night watch company in the cockpit . I forgot to ask what had become of her , so when I find out I’ll let you know . Now that I’m a little more settled I will try to keep adding new stuff . ….. I found out today what happened to the hen . When they got to Aruba they were told they couldn’t keep the chicken , so they traded her for a watermelon . I’d like to imagine that hen happily roosting in Aruba clucking away her story of crossing the Atlantic to her roost-mates

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