August 14, 2004

Back home Eh.

Sarah and I have been back home for over 3 weeks now, but it feels like longer than that. I am still working on my thesis and Sarah is back at work and it is almost like we never left except the weather is way nicer and our apartment is a huge mess still. After our last log posting we spent some time on Colombian beaches and with the family of Sarah's Colombian co-worker before heading home on July 21st. More to read by clicking on the link below:

We took a nice airconditioned bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta. I think that the half hour cab ride from Cartagena to the bus terminal in Cartagena was scarier than the bus ride from the bus terminal to Santa Marta. We had tried to a reserve a room in a recommend hostel in a small fishing village called Tanaga next to Santa Marta but it was full so we stayed in Santa Marta itself. Santa Marta isn't quite as nice as Cartagena, OK, it isn't anywhere nearly as nice as Cartagena but we weren't there for the city. We were there to go to Tayrona National Park an hour or so out of Santa Marta.

We stayed at a recommended hostel that didn't have airconditioning. It made sleeping kind of difficult in the sweltering heat, but it was almost bearable with the fan turned up all the way. We spent one night there and then headed to Tayrona. A bus runs frequently to the park and takes about an hour. At the park you have to pay a park fee and we decided to walk to do the 45 minute walk to the coast where all the tourist facilites are in the park.

After this first 45 minute we came to the first little village but the hammock place we wanted to stay at was another 30 minute walk away. After the advertised half hour walk along a nicely shaded trail that smelled like horse poop we came to the coast. Here there was crashing surf, palm trees and plenty of hammocks to stay in. We walked down the beach a bit to the hammock camping place that Sarah stayed at 5 years ago and got ourselves a couple of hammock and a couple of palm trees to hang them between. Total cost: approx. $ 5 night. For the next 4 days we hung out on the beach and slept in our hammocks. A nice relaxing end to our trip.

We spent another night in Santa Marta before flying to Bogota and meeting Josť's family. Sarah works with Josť, who is originally from Colombia, at MDA and some of his family lives in Bogota. His sister Claudia and cousin met us at the airport and took us to his parent's place. Here, we met his parents and admired their garden and ate some of their Uchuva's. Then we were taken out to the fancy shopping distric of Bogota that has some incredibly posh shopping malls, much fancier than most malls in Vancouver. It was a rushed visit because we were flying out the next morning early which was unfortunate, we would have enjoyed spending more time in Bogota with Josť's family. But we had to go to bed early to get up at 5am to get to the airport for our 8:30am flight.

The airport in Bogota was really busy for some reason and Continental (the airline we were flying with) had their own secondary security at every check point. They even had guys checking every peice of luggage as it was loaded onto the plane. Had no problems and had a nice flight to the George Bush Airport in Houston. We had about 8 hours to kill in Houston and mostly walked around and read books. It is a huge airport and has a very nice new wing that we spent most of our time in. It also has a super tacky statue of G. Bush Sr. with a jacket slung over his shoulder flying in the wind. Then it was another trouble free flight to Vancouver, well there were some annoying kids returning from Costa Rica that kept reclining into my knees but I was getting used to this by now. We made it through Canadian customs quickly, only glitch was a stamp in our passports that the customs guy had never seen before and we didn't know what it was. We eventually figured out that it was a stamp from the Bogota airport confirming that we were tourists. But you should make sure that you know what all the stamps are in your passport before you go through customs. Our luggage made it through no problem and we actually had to wait around a few mintues before our friend showed up to pick us up. In that time we enjoyed a cold pint of Molson Canadian.

And thats all folks! We had an excellent trip and met lots of new friends that we are trying to keep in touch with. And now we need to save up some money before heading out on another trip (and finish a thesis :)

Posted by bforsyth at August 14, 2004 09:37 PM