It’s lovely being disconnected from the internet. It makes you realize how distracting it is while also giving an appreciation of how incredible it is to tap into this huge mass of human brain potential.
At the moment I’m in a little jungle town called Minca. It’s a popular stop on the backpacker route, something which I’m actually enjoying after being mostly on my own for the last while. I’m staying in a hostel above town that has a view clear to the coast. At night the lights of Santa Marta twinkle like nobody’s business. Each morning I get up, eat my papaya and do some writing from my hammock over looking the valley.
I went jungle running the day I arrived, gaining about 1100m in elevation before the clouds set in and I was afraid I’d get lost as it was so dense I couldn’t see the tops of the trees let alone the town where I wanted to return to. I discovered that the point I turned around was just before a plateau that looks both north to the ocean and south through the Sierra Nevada. I’ll likely go back tomorrow morning and try the route again or run to one of the many coffee and cacao fincas in the neighbourhood.
For 15,000 pesos (~$6.50) I took a 2 hour moto taxi down the twisty, broken “road” into Santa Marta. The trip is exhilarating and reminds me how sometimes the journey to get somewhere is the best part. The road is constantly undergoing construction, with sections closed and huge gravel trucks barrelling towards you with questionable brakes. My moto driver was a champ and we overtook everyone else on the road, speeding down to town (then back up an hour later after visiting 6 different ATMs before finding one that finally worked) While in the city I figured I may as well look for a camera as well since mine is still somewhere between Colombia and Toronto and you guys are missing some incredible sites. Hilariously and frustratingly I looked into two stores, each time selecting a camera and both times was told that they actually don’t have any cameras in stock at the camera store.
So you’ll have to wait a while longer for pics, sorry.
Yesterday while hiking I met a British guy who runs survival schools in the Sierra Nevada and drank beers with him and his groupie (I’m serious – he literally has a groupie from New Zealand who lives with him and works for him in order to learn bushcraft). The Brit’s story is classified – no one knows where he came from or how he knows what he knows. His mission is to teach people “how to survive with nothing but a machete in any climate on earth.” He’s heading out for 4 days on Monday and I’m tempted to join. Yet also really not tempted. Sweaty, humid jungle trekking with pumas and caterpillars that can really mess you up for 4 days with a former-secret-service, drug-cartel-mercenary might make me second guess my judgement. (Or maybe he’s none of those things, but instead holds an Doctorate in Marketing and knows that nothing piques people’s interest more than having a big secret).
If you don’t hear from me for 5-6 days, I’m out in the jungle. If you haven’t heard from me in a week, then I’m still in the jungle.