Medellin is one of those infectious places that if you miss your flight, whether on purpose or not, you run the risk of staying forever.
And it was tempting. Another ‘hot havana night’ in the salsa club and I might have fallen pray to the Medellin drug. No, not cocaine, but something much more irresistable – the passion of the city and the people who inhabit it.
But in the grand scheme of my travel itinerary, Medellin was just the jumping off point for a much more elaborate adventure.
So off to Santa Marta we went. We opted for the $40 USD plane ride (over the 9 hour similarly priced bus ride) to the Caribbean Coast.
The air was excruciatingly heavy with humidity as we waited by the luggage belt. Backpacks in tow, we stepped into the blazing heat and flagged down taxis. We hugged the crystal blue coastline during the majority of our hour drive before veering inland through some rather impoverished neighborhoods and arriving at the Dreamers Hostel. The locals seemed to be moving in slow motion, the heat so thick that one couldn’t be bothered by hurrying.
Correction. No one was hurrying besides the crazed drivers in cars and mopeds zooming in out of traffic at erratic speeds. And our taxi driver was no exception; accelerating around corners, nearly clipping motorists, I felt like I was on a ride at Disney. I noticed the crew and cast snoozing behind me, letting the dead weight of their bodies drift with the sharp turns… and I smiled. I never could sleep on car rides if we were venturing to some place I had never visited. The journey, more times than not, provides a real life observation into the lives of locals and the true landscape of a country; something you just don’t experience from the globalized destination cities catering to tourists. Often I find that the rides are my favorite points of reflection. To recount the joys of the first destination, marveling over the sense of familiarity and assimilation that occurs, and to anticipate the second destination while an unfamiliar landscape drifts by your window.