Saturday, May 22, 2010

MIA Taganga, Colombia

Beach front at Tanganga
Roberto atop his GS1200

I was warned about kite strings hanging down from powerlines that could potentially slice your neck off, hence Brasillians ride with kite cutters attached to their bikes. Here, however, there were kite strings caught up in the high tension power transmission lines. I wonder how many fried carcasses there were below the lines?

Just before Tanganga there was a hint of the ocean and the beaches ahead. The road from the Venezuela / Colombia border was the most beautiful road. I liked the ocean vistas and riding along the ocean cliffs. Occasionally the road veered inland a bit and I rode through a tunnel like canopy with huge trees towering over the roadway.

As some may have speculated I have been missing in action and enjoying the atmosphere and beach town life of a small Colombian destination named Taganga. I rolled out of Adicora and began to make my way to Maracaibo just 170km from the Colombian border. I decided to spend the night in a hotel that was suggested by the guide book called "Hotel Nuevo Montevideo". Despite its catchy name I believe that it was a love motel that the guide book advertized as an "Old rambling mansion, a tranquil place with high celings and AC" As usual I arrived just before dark and had little option but to check in and accept the dank stale cigarette smoke tinted air and the more than adequate ventilation provided by the multiple cigarette burns present in the bed sheets.
Before this point I had only heard about scheduled power black-outs in Venezuela. I had to wait until 700pm until the power was turned on in this region before I could turn on any lights and log onto the internet to determine currency exchange etc. To find internet on a sunday night I had to go to a five star hotel located on the waterfront. It was here while waiting in a dark lobby for the power to come on that I heard the english accent of a woman say "Grassyas" instead of gracias. I piped up and said hello in english and the woman in her late 40's turned her attention to me. Straight away she introduced herself. When I asked what had brought her to this part of the world she replied she was simpliy following God's orders as she was the chosen one. She began to explain to me that she was a messiah and that she was sent her by God to save the people. She was all over the map and it was very difficult to follow the conversation. At one point she mentioned that her feeling's about human Pride and Ego were self served indulgences and very evil. I decided to add that they were'nt evil but most likely an evolutionary behaviorial trait that somewhere in our ancestorial lineage had been a beneficial mechanism for sucessful reproduction and survial and when used as a tool, pride and ego can be beneficial.
At this remark the woman stood up and began pointing in my face and explaining that she was a doctor and that I was making no sense. I asked "what kind of doctor"? and she replied she was a doctor of everything and that she had a PhD..... in "Computers, Science, "N'other stuff" . The topic took a swing immediately to sexual exploitation of women across the world and how men made all the decisions and have exploited women all across the world. She explained that her own family had turned her back on her and had admitted her to a psychiatric hostital for treatment. She told me that she had spent 3 weeks strapped to a chair with nurses coming in and jabbing needles and drugs into her. Her emotions began to flare and she was beginning to go through cycles of extreme happiness immediately followed by rage.
All of a sudden it tured 700pm and the lights came on in the lobby and I saw that the woman was decked out in jewelery and dressed very finely. Her eyes were wide and scanning me and the room. She was obviously a nut case and I was getting kind of nervous and I was calmly talking this woman down so she didn't explode. As it was mothers day I asked if she had any kids, this bought me the precious time to say that I needed to be excused to call my mom and end the conversation all together. To make a long dramatic story short I did what I needed to do and returned to my flea bag hotel to the freezing air conditioned room in anticipation of crossing into Colombia the next morning.
I was up at the crack of dawn and pulled my cigarette burned sheets away from my body and sat on the edge of my bed. For a minute I began to read the names of all the people that have apparently felt it was of utmost importance to etch their names in the head board of the bed. For a second I thought about photographing the bed graffiti but decided against it as I really didn't want to remember this place.
I rolled up to the border between Venezuela and Colombia and within 18km of Colombia I used my last coins to fill my tank, costing no more than 16 cents. I was really nervous about crossing out of Venezuela but it was the easiest of all crossings thus far. Also I was worried about getting into Columbia, but, this too proved to be a slice of pie. In total I believe that the entire process took no more than 45 minutes ...the fastest border crossing yet!
The road into Columbia quicky entered the mountains and with the change in topography the landscape morphed into lush green fields and canopy covered roads I finally arrived in Santa Marta where I grabbed a bite to eat. I decided that I'd spend the night in Taganga and headed in that direction toward a small fishing village that has become a tourist haven that offers great SCUBA diving and a relaxing atmosphere...erik sweezy sent me here!!

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