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"I would rather ride my motorcycle through the impassable Darien Gap then take that boat with Michel again" by Brad Cougle
"If I go to a restaurant and order a $6 steak I'm happy if I can eat it, but if I order a $30 steak it better be a damn good steak!" by Brad Cougle
"My boat is a $6 steak" Captain Michel. "I know, but I paid $30..." by Brad Cougle
DAY 98-101, Jan. 16-19, 2012, Cartagena, Temp: 23-30C, (N/A, 12,460km)
Cartagena is a beautiful city for sure. Full of colonial historic builidings and a reasonable night life with a sizeable population of 500,000 the city is worth a visit. As we waited the first day to get our passports around 2pm and then the bikes the next day Guy, Dan and myself walking on sea legs in the heat eventually found Hotel Pedregal near the Fortress (A/C, private bath and all the spanish soap operas you can watch for $25). It was a pleasant surprise to see how modern Colombia is even though the traffic raced around faster and more chaotic than Central America. Oh, and yes there may be a few head turners here.
From my last post I think I have said enough about the boat. I will however conclude with the point that Customs boarded the boat looking for Michel as he did not contact them prior to unloading the bikes. Oops. They stopped us half way though unloading and Michel had to do some fancy foot work, but in the end it turned out to be minor. Oh, and Michel also set us up to pay an additional $35US to his importation consultant. Of course we told him to stuff it and completed the forms ourselves as it was easy enough (even though we waited 2 days likely because we had too many bikes all at once for the customs guy). See stats page... http://thelifeofbrad.blogspot.com/p/tlob-to-argentina-stats-page.html
In Cartagena we enjoyed; Cheap lunches that included soup, rice, beans, meat and a juice. Sunset at Cafe del Mar which you pay for via $6 drinks, but it's good. Some bike problems due to salt water exposure. Good dinners and drinks to complete everyday. In 4 days I had fun even though I didn't even make the beach.
|One of the protecting walls as you enter the harbour|
|Very nice sky line from the boat|
|In town, the fortress of San Felipe|
in the distance,
|Dan, Guy and me, dinner time.|
|Hotel El Pedregal|
On the second day we got our bikes back. Meeting the crew from the Stahlratte while on the dock we realized how experience pays off. Fast bike loading technique, see video (it's good)
|Those smart, efficient germans|
setting the lifting ropes before going
on the water. Much more stable.
|Some pretty sweet boats in the marina|
|Due to poor communication with the|
port authorities we found ourselves
in some hot water for a bit.
|3 hours in to it and the 7th of 9 bikes reaches the dock.|
|Light weight KLR 650 (400lbs)|
|We made it!|
|We really didn't make it that far.|
Bikes were stuck here for another
24 hours. Good thing Cartagena
is cool, plus we saved on parking.
|Dan and Sam enjoy a beautiful morning coffee|
|Super shiny for the first time in|
|Roof top view from El Pedregal|
|Fortress across the river|
|Washing the dog in a bucket|
Cartagena River View and Canon
Spanish Lessons with Larisa Paula
|At Henry Confectiones|
|Classic street vendor shot|
|The writing's on the wall|
|Two Colombian staples. I had no problem with the cake,|
but the sweet Malt extract was not drained.
|Streets of old town|
|Protective walls of the city|
|Cafe El Mar, I think it's famous|
|The expensive patio.|
DAY 102-107, Jan.20-25,
2012, Santa Marta / Taganga / Costeno Beach (330/12,690km)
Next up in Northern Colombia
was Santa Marta and the surrounding area which included a stop on the way at
the Mud Volcano (excellent). Santa Marta
area boosts a relaxed access to the carribean sea with more beach life than Cartagena. It’s possible to go for a dive here, get nice
fresh fruit juices, see Tayrona park and surf at Costeno if that's your thing.
Had a meat and egg arepa (corn flat beard) for breaky and then Aussie Dan and I hit the road to the mud baths near El
Tortumo, Volcano de Lodo. What an
experience which I can only liken to a rustic mud spa?
You pay a couple bucks and climb up to the top with your camera where one
guy relieves you of it and takes photos for you and then you are guided in to the mud. Once in the mud a dude massages the mud in and floats you across the pool where you chill for a bit. Going early gives you a lot more time in the
pool as it gets a bit crowded after 11am and people are simply processed. Apparently you are floating on about 2000m of mud and no matter how hard
you try in a standing position you can’t get your head under (Dan did his best
in an attempt to drown me). Once out of
the pool they guide you down to the lake where these very strong ladies similar to a
female weightlifters wash / drown you while scrubbing the mud off (least fun part
of the experience). In the end each group comes over to you for a tip anywhere between $1 and 3 USD. All up including bath entrance about $7 and it was so cool!
|Big port bound ships in the distance|
|C2R7T4V8, Love being next to|
|Very poor areas near Cienaga|
Very aggressive driving, which you get used to after a couple of days. How will I ever drive in Canada again.
Riding in to Taganga
|Happy to be here Dan?|
|Cops station in Taganga|
|Meat on a stick for $.50, Yes!|
|Whatever the hell this is...|
|Shot from the trail that crosses to Playa Grande|
|Check out the photo shoot behind|
Diving chat, why do I post these??? Check the camera in my glasses...
|Diving off the shores of |
|Lunch provided at this spot|
|Classic German Dive Buddy|
Also in the area and about a
45min ride away passed Tyrona park is Costeno Beach where a couple of La Cross
playing Canadian brothers, Calem and Brian, have set up a very nice place to
stay. I highly recommend heading out
there for a night or two. My first night
I stayed in a hammock under a shelter for $7 and then next I went under a Kiosk
for $15 which was outstanding waking to the ocean and beach right in front of
you. Nice work putting this place
together guys. Oh, and good meals too with seconds!
|Riding the dirt next to a plantation|
|I believe people are living here|
|This is Costena Surf School / Beach and it's nice|
|Vball and ocean|
|Bathrooms and shaving station|
|When you have a beard and shave|
this much it's bound to be tried
Beautiful Costeno Beach
|Inside the Kiosk|
Tire changing comedy with Mechanic Dan
|Check out the makeshift connection|
between the compressor and tire
Compressor 101 with Professor Brad
|The internals of my tire pump|
Our last night in the Santa
Marta area was in Santa Marta, which we had been in for a Saturday night at La
Puerta a gringo hunters bar and good fun previously.
We stayed at Hotel Intermar which is good for a private with TV, fan
($13) and entertaining hookers in the lobby.
I would recommend you try to find a room with a toilet seat like Dan
had. Thanks for the use of your facilities mate, haha. One side note
here is that hotels and food closest to the beach are well priced. Note this is not the main tourist beach in Santa Marta which is more expensive of course.
Dan and Sam two up with Surfboard
|Out of the sand and back to the|
No Toilet seat, Ok, where Dan's bathroom at...
|Hotel Intermar, 1 block to beach|
|On the water front of Santa Marta|
|Major port just to your right kind|
of takes away from the beach
|This is sweet to me|
Good video of a Ceviche master at work on the Santa Marta Boardwalk
|Tiendas with cheap drinks and|
tables to enjoy, why go to the bar?
|Why...did I do that?|
|Hookers in the lobby of the hotel|
RECOMMEND at least 3 days in
Cartagena, 2 in Taganga, 2 in Santa Marta and 3 in Costeno Beach.
|Dan trying to keep Guy proud refuses his Carbs|
|Hello? Who's there?|
|Eating chicken the hygienic way|
|Drinking at the local Tienda is|
even better when you have a pisser.
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