January 21, 2013

To Santa Marta, Colombia

Hard Traveling

We flew to Cartagena on Spirit Airlines. There were two flights. The first was to Fort Lauderdale. Spirit is a budget carrier, which has cut back comfort to maximize passenger count. The seats were very close together and designed in such a way as to make them fairly uncomfortable. The flight was scheduled to leave at 1:15 in the morning, but it did not depart until 3:00 AM. The seats we so uncomfortable we could not sleep. By the time we got to Florida we had been up almost 24-hours. Our second flight was 45 minutes late leaving, but the seats were a bit more comfortable and still we could not sleep. Our plane arrived before 3:00 PM.

Immigration and Customs were easy.
Getting the 130 miles (210 km.) to Santa Marta was difficult and expensive. With the help of a friend of Andreas Reyes, we found transport to Santa Marta. By 4:00 PM the van was full of passengers going to Barranquilla. After the last passenger was dropped off it was after 6:00 and our chauffer passed us off to another transport. Sometime after 8:00 PM we were in El Rodadero, the suburb of Santa Marta where we had arranged accommodations. We had been awake with no sleep almost 36 hours. We paid $75 for transport. Our housing did not match the vision we had formed after talking to Andreas. There are some things that make it impossible for us to stay here all winter. The mattress is nearly as hard as the floor. There is no hot water. Our neighbor tells me that there is no hot water even in the nicest flats in Santa Marta. Perhaps this is true for the whole of Columbia. We will let you know more about the hot water situation as we travel. For us the worst was the initial lack of an Internet connection to the apartment. Andreas has a mobile phone connection for the Internet, but it has not worked as of yet on my mac.
Sorry, but if we invited you to join us in Santa Marta, consider that invitation withdrawn.

Press HERE to see a slideshow
from Rodadero.

On the Beach
IMG_4007: On the beach
A Mile of Beach Shelters
IMG_4008: A Mile of Beach Shelters
Just Enjoying the Beach
IMG_4005: Enjoying the Beach
Sand Castle
IMG_4010: Sand Castle
Giant Colombian Avocados
IMG_4011: Giant Colombian Avocados

We are in El Rodadero, a suburb of Santa Marta. Originally we had planned to stay here for one to three months. But the apartment is not how we imagined it. We are getting use to the lack of hot water. I have never slept on a harder bed in my life. I paid the neighbor $20 to use his Internet for the next couple of weeks. So at last, there is a bit normalcy in our apartment. We will stay here until the end of January, and then move on to Barranquilla.

The beach is very nice. The sand is very fine but a bit gray. We think the color is from volcanic activity. The beach is just 200 meters away. There were literally thousands of people on the mile-long beach each day on the weekend. Some of the beach goers were Colombian tourists others came from around Santa Marta. During the day, most folks pay about $12 to rent a kind of an open tent that provides shade along with beach chairs. During the night, many people return to the beach. Some eat from the offerings of the street vendors. Entertainers provide shows for the visitors. And they party to extremely loud music into the early morning hours. There are many, many restaurants both on the beachfront and in the surrounding streets. Restaurant prices are reasonable but higher that we expected, no doubt, because of the popularity of this seaside area. El Rodadero is strictly a tourist center, and not the old city that we expected to find. We are a bus ride from the center where we can find a normal Columbian life.

Nearby is Santa Marta, a city of a-half-million people. It is a typical South American City with a full-range of things to do and see. We did go into old Santa Marta and explored the historic part of the city. We liked it a lot and may go back again soon.

On the El Rodadero Beach
IMG_4006: : On the beach

Posted by bill at 02:17 PM | Comments (2)