Raise Your Hands If You Think Colombia Is One Big Cube Of Cocaine
January 12, 2009 by rtwsenior
…And if you have tuned into my blogsite today, you´ll think that it is under the influence too. It suddenly looks and acts very strange. I don´t know why it says Revolution at the top and is now spread out all over Kingdom Come, but I have written to my blogmaster for rescue. And no, I didn´t get kidnapped by revolutionaries who are now using my site. All will be restored to normal soon… A little bit later: Sorry to sound the alarm. My blogsite looks just fine now. What could have been wrong with it? I have no idea, but it was spread all over the place and was titled “Revolution.” Probably, just Juan toying with cyberspace. He´s a handy scapegoat and might be blamed for every sort of glitch. To continue:
…Also, no final word on our hostel ghost, Juan, but I don´t think anyone has seen or heard him recently.
Now, to the theme of the day: To address our common perception of this country as being a hotbed of the drug world, I have to say that if I didn´t already know something about that, I never would have picked up the perception here. There is literally no clue as to that parallel world….or underworld….here on the streets of the second-largest city in Colombia. Nor was there in Bogota.
Both cities are clean, progressive places to be and higher on the desirable scale than many, many of the world cities that I have been in. Only the merest smattering of beggars; actually, not even that really, as statistically, the number is too small to even count. People all look healthy and happy and they love family life. Sure, there are poor, but from what I´ve seen, they have a place in the scale of things and are not outcasts. I have not seen any homelessness here and that´s more than I could ever say about the U.S. and surely, now that would be more true than ever, given our drastic foreclosure rate.
I see no drug scene, whatsoever, though I´m not going to the clubs at night. I mean the sort that causes wastrels to hang around doorways or city parks. The only zoned person I have spotted was an Irish guy right here in the hostel and he was a lone exception. Yes, it is accepted that the wild jungle areas on either side of this highly-trafficed corridor of tourism and trade, are dangerous to travel in. The local people speak matter-of-factly about that. But, as long as folks don´t wander off into the rebel strongholds and cocaine areas, then there is peace and safety.
It´s very clear that there is a well-worn backpacker´s circuit here and we all make figure eights on the map, passing each other on our routes from Bogota north to the Caribbean towns of Santa Marta, Taganga, and Cartegena and the great Tyrona National Park with its highest-mountain-near-a-seacoast-in-the-world. Then, we whirl down south to Cali and out to Ecuador. The greatest dangers to all of us foreigners is freezing on the cold AC buses or lingering at the rest stop and getting left behind because we wanted to finish the plate of food we had just scored from the cafeteria line.
My plans are shaping up now. I will be in Medellin until 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, January 14, when I take a 14-hour overnight bus to Santa Marta and then a local bus to Taganga where I already have hostel reservations for Thursday. Tomorrow, I will take in the local zoo. Yesterday, I visited the Botanical Gardens. But, today I stayed home in the hostel as it was a national holiday about the Maji- called the Three Kings, and nothing was open. Woops! It just occurred to me that this would have been a significant day to get Juan a ride to the Next World. Maybe it´s not too late. If I give a loud whistle from down here in this hostel, perhaps I can get a royal camel to come and pick him up.
More soon on that unfolding story and others.