Hello (again belated)! I apologize, yet again, for my inability to be responsible with this blog at the moment. I will correct this behavior starting this week, I promise. The good news is that the family that normally gets worried about our posting deadlines knows that we have been here in Cali, largely because G was with us only a few weeks ago!
G joined us in Colombia, which had been dangerously close to being on the list of countries she hadn’t been able to visit while we are on this trip. Good news is since we have been spending the majority of our trip thus far in this country, she had ample opportunity to correct this slight blemish on her travel dedication record.
G arrived after a seriously long plane ride (purchased nearly entirely using airline miles… so amazing!) and she immediately informed me that she was up for whatever we wanted to do, since I had required her to have no plans except celebrating my 29th birthday on the 29th of April with me. This was fantastic news, as conveniently H and I had just spent the previous evening at a dance party at my boyfriend‘s house, and were operating on very little sleep (and still in our salsa dresses when we arrived at the airport to collect G). We rested and ate pizza.
We also introduced our sister (and her fantastic treats that she had brought all the way from the States with her… cheese, epic chocolates, jalapeno cheetos, and fake meat!!!) to our fantastic roommates and decided to take a trip to the nearby hostel pool that we had been unable to locate before.
But since we only had a week to work with, we packed up our bags and headed to the Caribbean coast. Flights with VivaColombia had been silly cheap so we paid only 160,000 pesos a piece round trip, both less time and less money than the busing option. We arrived in Santa Marta, and returned to the hostel where we tended the bar in October. We found that things have gotten more expensive across the entire Caribbean since we were there only 6 months ago… our hostel went from 17,000 a night to 25,000! Colombia is becoming less and less of a backpackers’ location, even in the short time that we have been here!
But it is still worth it all, even according to our stowaway, Ernesto! F had craftily sent the fun-loving Ernesto in G’s carry-on when they met up at LAX for her layover. You see, Ernesto has been sneaking into my luggage (and then back into F’s possession) since my first trip abroad. And he was the perfect stand-in for celebrating my golden birthday!
So not only did he join us in relaxing by the pool, but on our unexpected long hike into Parque Tayrona via Pueblito,
Since this was our second trip to our favorite park, we knew all the secret inexpensive camping spots, amazing chocolate bread, the most beautiful beaches, and the slightly dangerous bouldering path down into the park from Pueblito. What I didn’t know was how long all of this was going to take… because in general we have an abundance of time and no real concept of it passing. So… the hiking in and out was a bit more than expected.
But I am going to speak for all of us and say it was absolutely worth it! Hands down, Parque Tayrona is the best place I have visited in Colombia! Even if I was having such a severe skin reaction (to something, but we still have no idea) that I was covered in fairly horrific red welts from my hairline to my toes. We left the park earlier than I had planned to deal with this rather awkward monster-looking situation only to find that the doctors were closed because it was a national holiday.
So we moved on to Cartagena, possibly the most romantic city I have ever come across. We survived the sweltering heat and rambled through the colonial city and along the walls, taking breaks in the shade to enjoy the breeze.
We swam, explored, and visited friends from our first visit here in September. My skin cleared up, and all the locals we asked were quite sure I had eaten some bad shellfish, even though I assured them I am vegetarian. So maybe the horror was all just a bad allergic reaction…
Then all too soon we had a flight back to Cali where we had to take G out for adventures with salsa, running around a local water park with slides and a wave pool, and enjoying the flowers.
I am older, possibly wiser, and definitely getting to the point in our trip when I am seriously considering what it is we are doing, what I want and don’t want in my life, and how much I absolutely love to bake! We all miss our family and friend time, and we are actually setting a date to have everyone come meet up with us in Peru now. So please know that we do think of you all, even if I am not blogging; that I do want to have direction and a plan; and that I would love to see anyone who can take time to come down to visit when we have dates (looking towards October-ish time).