So yesterday we left Santa Marta to begin our journey to Panama. It was sad to leave Santa Marta as the place really had everything and it was a shame we were only there for a few days and in fact probably only scratched the surface.
Our bus arrived to pick us up just as we were halfway through a riveting conversation with Fernando, our host, about his opinion on the peace talks. (He only got so far as to explain both sides of the story not his opinion). Shame to leave at the juicy part but on we went.
We had a fair bit to sort out in Cartagena when we arrived, all the mundane things like trying to get our hands on some US dollars and other bits and bobs on our list. Speaking of bobs, Sarah finally got sick of growing out her hair so decided to go for a haircut. I will only presume that something was lost in translation!! (Picture below)
Anyway the first stage of our trip to Panama involved us getting from Cartagena to Necocli by bus. We couldn’t find out much information about the trip and a couple of checks on the Australian and British foreign advice websites have some conflicting info. Aussie said red (no go) and the British said Orange!! Anyway we had to do it so after writing Mum & Dad to say where we were going off we went.
We got up early to get to the bus station as quickly as possible. The taxi ride was an ominous start to the journey as we spent 15mins with him trying to fill up with gas, then he proceeded to try and make up time by cutting through the back streets of Cartagena!! Well the poverty on show there was a stark contrast to what we were shown as tourists. It was pretty alarming to see such squalor and certainly got us thinking.
Anyway the rest of the trip wasn’t exactly the adventure we were expecting. Arrived at bus station to find a direct bus to our destination leaving in 45 mins. Toilet, Air con, comfy seats,tv and WIFI!!! So we just laid back and watched the world go by (whilst fiddling on our phones)
We passed a few places on the way that looked as though they might have been worth staying at. All of them Colombian seaside resorts. Not exactly modern but certainly different to what we are used to!
The same could certainly be said for Necocli. It was certainly an authentic Colombian town full of hustle and bustle and the locals certainly weren’t used to many gringos as we were stared at everywhere. Not in a menacing way though because as soon as we said hello they all smiled and greeted us back. We were jut a bit of a novelty I guess.
We went for a wander around town and then sat at a crossroads for a beer and tried to work out who had right of way! Two beers later and we still had no idea. But it was great being in such a place, hardly any cars, everyone on motorbikes. The markets here were real markets and we must have been here during quiet season because all of the bars on the seafront were shut.
Still there was enough going on to keep us entertained and we were certainly getting more and more excited about our upcoming trip to Panama!! Speedboats and desert islands here we come!! T
Me still having to use my hands to communicate, this is the international symbol for “I want to buy a ticket for the boat tomorrow, please”
The sea front was closed for business.
We were visiting half the places on this sign.
A typical street in Necocli.