February 15, 2013

Moving to the Center of Santa Marta

In the Rodadero Sitting Area
IMG_4038: Betty in the Sitting Area
Great View in Rodadero, Eh?
IMG_4040: Great View
New Living Room
IMG_4048: The Living Room
Even A Little Patio
IMG_4043: A Little Patio

Well, as we last reported, we were not very happy with the apartment we had arranged to rent. We had expected a cozy but comfortable place. What we found did not approach what our imaginations had conjured. As I said in my last report, there is no hot water, not even a heated showerhead. We have heard that no homes have hot water along the coast. We have light and a breeze that comes in through the windows, but the view is of another ugly building, some 20 feet away. There is a bench and two chairs abound coffee table. Other than the cushions they are made of plastic. None are very comfortable to sit on. The mattress on the bed was nearly as hard as the floor. We had been promised an Internet connection, but what we were provided was a cellular modem, that could not be made to work with our Macs. We tried to make the place work for us. We would have felt very bad not stay for at least a couple of weeks and when we were lucky enough to get a neighbor to provide us a link to his Wi-Fi for two weeks, we thought that we would stay two weeks and look for another apartment. For various reasons, including a landlord that had been counting on us to stay at least one month, we finally decided to stay one month. Unfortunately, the neighbor cut us off from the Internet after two weeks. We really miss having an Internet connection.

The apartment is in the Rodadero neighborhood of Santa Marta. Rodadero is almost like a separate little city next to Santa Marta. Santa Marta is about 20 minutes away, just over a little costal mountain. Rodadero is a tourist center for Colombians. They come from all over the country to sun and swim on the beach. Our apartment is only 300 meters from the beach. The beach is busy most everyday with THOUSANDS of people enjoying the mile-long beach. There are many restaurants, all geared to the tourist trade. We have a supermarket some 600 meters away. If you get the daily special, the prices in most of the restaurants are OK. We eat out a couple of days each week. We cook at home most days. Supermarket prices seem a bit high to us. Many commodities cost more than in the USA; and only a few items cost less. At night there are a lot of people on the street making lots of noise. Some times the music blasts until 3 AM, especially on the weekends. Rodadero is a fairly new area, with many of the buildings less than 20 years old. Many of the buildings are more than 10 stories tall. We are on the forth floor of a six-story building. There is little to nothing to do here. There are no interesting places to walk. Rodadero is not at an area where we have been able to enjoy ourselves.

We have been so UNHAPPY with our situation, that we considered doing something that we have NEVER done before during our winter travels. We were thinking about returning to the USA months earlier than planned.

We have gone to the old town in Santa Marta many times. We liked it enough to look for an apartment there. If we could find an apartment, then we would stay in Santa Marta. If we did not, then we would go to Barranquilla for a week and then go onto Cartagena for a couple of weeks and try to change our flight home. Based on cost, staying in Cartagena for any length of time seemed to out of the question.
We spent more than one week looking for an apartment in Santa Marta. Two places that we looked at were so outrageously priced that we thought managers to be out of their minds. They asked $900 to $1700(US) per month; both without Internet but one did have hot water. The others we checked out were $350 to $410 per month plus electricity and both had Internet. The problem with those two was availability. We needed to move on or before February 16th, and both were not available until March 2nd. Finally, we found an old house in the old city center of Santa Marta. We will pay $406 per month for everything; still, no hot water and probably no Internet. The only problem with the place was that it is amidst renovation. The manager assured us it would be ready. And sure enough it was ready. It is much bigger and much nicer. Still, there is no Internet. The manager claims that he is waiting for it to be installed. But I am sure it never will. Look at the couple of pics to see how nice it will be.

The other day, we visited the village of Taganga. It is a fishing village five kilometers north of Santa Marta. Many foreign tourists visit this village. It is very rustic. There are dirt streets. The beach is not as nice as the one in Rodadero. But the restaurants were all on the beach and more reasonable in price than Rodadero. We liked the feel of the village enough to promise to return there often. One last thing, our friend Matt Richardson, had told us of a hostel that had a first-class chef. So, we went to Casa Felipe and had the sea bass. It was marvelous only $12 for the plate.

The climate here has had an interesting effect on my skin. As I have gotten older, I have begun to acquire dense patches of skin here and there on my body. They are usually less than one inch long. I have forgotten what the doctor calls them, but the docs have been assured me that the patches are a sign of aging. The climate effect has been on these skin patches. They all disappeared in our first two weeks in Colombia. My skin has not felt so good in a long time.

Posted by bill at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)