Micah: Unmitigated


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Posts Tagged ‘Playa Grande’

Joy and Pain

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

I will admit it, I have been spoiled in many ways the past year:  The rooms that I have stayed in here have been too nice. My skin has generally been dark enough that sunscreen isn’t necessary. Thailand’s seas were too clear and the sand was too white. Thai food tastes too good and costs so little. Thai people spoke too much English. And Machu Picchu, last summer, was too spectacular. All of that is now having it’s effect on me in Santa Marta.

As I strolled onto a Caribbean beach, for the first time in my life, my eyes immediately checked the water’s clarity.  I can’t help but compare it to the other tropical beaches I have been to (all in Thailand) and be disappointed. I know it is not fair, especially since the city I am in is rather large, but it’s what I did. Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy swimming and laying out and burning myself, cause it was a blast. But my heart still yearns for more tranquility and beauty. I went looking for the later in Taganga.

Known as a “Gringo Paradise” and growing Caribbean party destination, I knew that Taganga would not meet all of my needs. My goals were to see the beaches nearby and get in a little socializing. The water was decent but the sand was not as soft as I like it (remember I already said I was spoiled). A few too many rocks, broken bottles, and peddlers on Playa Grande, a 20 minute hike north of Taganga. Though the deep cove and surrounding desert hills provide some nice scenery.

Gringos watching sunset

Gringos watching sunset

I cruised back into town to check out the sunset and get my grub on. I have sampled nearly all of the cheap cart offerings and am somewhat disappointed. It’s actually a little hard to find easily accessable empanadas and the ones I have found near the beach were below par. This is one area where Thailand has Colombia dominated. That night I opted for some breadstick thing with a little cheese inside and what I believe was a polenta paddy filled with chicken and salsa (lacked flavor).

My accommodations that night were in an American owned hostel. Run by a couple from San Francisco with a 20 week old son, the place had a great feel with scenic roof top bar. I met some fellow travelers and had some beers at the casa before we cruised down to the beach. An interesting scene, with random groups of gringos about, drinking/smoking/ or playing instruments. Loud music from nearby discos is heard and like us, it is possible to be frisked by a policeman while sitting in the sand.  Back at the crib, I unsuccessfully attempted my first night in a dorm hammock arrangement.

My room with AC

My room with AC

No sleep was had, due to loud strong winds and awkward positions. Many of you may know that I have trouble sleeping on things not called beds. Especially in transit like planes, trains, and automobiles.  I mostly chalk it up to physical pain when not lying flat and anxiety about travel, maybe there is something wrong with me, who knows. Anyways, I knew I couldn’t spend another sleepless night there and felt that I had seen all that this pueblo had to offer.

Thus, I am back in Santa Marta. I have my same, semi-comfortable room, at Hotel Titanic and am content here.  The beach has sand and is under the sun, which is helpful, and the street markets are the most vibrant I have seen. Today I purchased myself a pair of sandals ($5, left my beach ones at home), snorkel mask and tube ($8, should be useful), and sunglasses ($4, I broke the ones I had and tossed ’em, but they belonged to H4, so no worries).

Most tourists in this area go on a 6 day trek to Ciudad Perdida, or ¨The lost city¨. It would be fun, but with Machu Picchu under my belt, I feel like the $300 cost would not be worth it. Though it would fit in with my theme of journey over destination.  The current plan is to spend another 2 nights here before attempting to get to Cabo de la Vela. Should be a little tricky but rewarding. Hasta los confines de la tierra!

E = 18