November 3 – 5, 2013
After a few days in Cartagena, we were ready to move onto to Santa Marta for a day before heading onto Palomino and the beach. The bus ride to Santa Marta was about 4 hours and we were entertained with a Hallmark movie. The movie was very cheesy, but it helped pass the time.
When we arrived in Santa Marta, we headed to a hostel someone recommended. We should have known something was wrong the moment we walked in. Our bunks were fine, but there were dirty dishes on several tables in the restaurant and the bartender told us the cook was being lazy and the kitchen was closed. Apparently, the dishwasher was busy too. We asked for directions to a restaurant but he told everywhere was closed because it was Sunday. So, we went to the market to pick up groceries and ended up passing three or four open restaurants on our walk back to the hostel. The final straw came when Kalyn and I tried to put the groceries in the fridge and about 20 bugs came crawling out and all over everything, including uncovered pieces of rotting meat. It was disgusting and time for us to leave.
We packed up our stuff and asked a cabbie to take us to the nicest hostel in town, The Drop Bear Hostel. It was clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. Plus, there were puppies!
The next day we headed for the small beach town of Palomino. We had only a few days left with Kalyn and we wanted them to be relaxing. The beach was just the thing. After a day of laying around, it was time for an activity. Our hostel offered inner tubes for a lazy day on a nearby river.
The excitement began with a ride on the back of a motorbike while gripping the inner tube and trying not to fall off the bike. Chandler’s driver went off the road and they almost rolled down an embankment, but Chan jumped off the back in time for the driver to regain control. We then carried our tubes for about 20 minutes up a big hill. We were covered in sweat and ready for the cool water when we reached the river.
When we started out, the three of us tried to stay together by holding hands or feet or whatever was available to grab onto. This lasted for a few minutes until our tubes headed through the trees on the bank of the river and Chandler detached himself.
The remainder of our float was relaxing, Kalyn and I stuck together but Chandler never caught back up.
The river ended in the ocean, so it was a little scary trying to land on the beach. I was sure I was going to get sucked out to sea, but managed to successfully bring myself and my inner tube onto land.
We had a short walk up the beach to our hostel before hiding ourselves from the sun for the rest of the day. Despite applying sunscreen, Kalyn and I got quite burned while Chandler got lucky. It might have helped that Chandler had shorts and a t-shirt to protect him.