I flew into Cartagena late in the afternoon the day before yesterday and spent most of the rest of the day just wandering around the old city until I reached the point of hunger where I stopped at a random coffee shop to refeul on cheap empanadas and pastries before looking for a bar for a cocktail before an early bed (as I’d been up since like, 3am that morning).
I have a mobile phone service that works seamlessly in most countries and it’s been bizarre to travel with data reception. It causes a shift inhow I approach wandering – instead of just wandering until I find something that looks good, I deliberately googled a good cocktail bar in the area and wandered in that general direction. In hostels instead of people talking or reading books or playing cards, you’ll see a whole room full of people on their smart phones.
I’m not sure I like it.
I’ve certainly gotten too old for hostel dorms. Teenage girls are slobs and walking to my bed at the back of the room required a level of scrambling that is kind of unacceptable for a shared space. (Tip toe over the loaf of bread on the floor in the middle of the room, anyone?) Get off my lawn, whipper snappers.
When I (finally) got to Santa Marta, I splurged on a single room. Which I think I’m going to try and do for the rest of the trip because my tolerance for other people in my downtime space has decreased significantly in the last five years.
I purchased my MarSol ticket to Santa Marta from my hostel in Cartagena. My ticket said Santa Marta on it. I get picked up at my hotel by the bus and and the driver calls out “Santa Marta” at this time. We drive around a bit more, picking up more people. We stop briefly at a bus station. I think that at this point I was supposed to get off and get on a different bus. A guy came on and rattled off some towns and a few people got off, but none of those towns were Santa Marta. The same bus driver that picked me up takes my ticket right before we leave. My ticket that says Santa Marta.
My bus was not going to Santa Marta. By the time we figured all this out, we’d already passed the turn off for Santa Marta – not that they would have stopped anyway – and I got dropped off on the side of the highway to wait for the next MarSol going in the direction of Santa Marta. So I spent two hours chilling with my fantasy novel, hoping the alleged four o’clock bus would turn up. I was struggling to be zen about it all. There wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point, I would get there eventually, one way or another. To be honest, if I didn’t have an appointment this morning to leave on a trek I probably would have just gone wherever the original bus was taking me because I’m pretty sure it’s a town on my radar anyway. But the travel zen warred a bit withi irritation because I was pretty sure the miscommunication was not entirely at the hands of my shaky Spanish.
But – the bus did come, I did get on it without incident (and without paying for another trip), and forty-five minutes later, I was dropped off on the side of the highway again, but this time at a taxi stand. I took a taxi from the highway to my hostel and got in about eight hours from the time I left my last one.
In an hour, I leave for a four day Lost City trek which is the only thing on my schedule, especially as Tayrona National Park is closed (which is a big bummer as I was looking forward to that part of my trip).
I’ll figure out the rest of my trip when I get back. Mostly I just need to figure out what town I’ll spend a couple days hanging out in a hammock with my book(s) in.