medellin

A taste of Colombia

Finally, I’ve found decent food in Colombia! In a Mexican restaurant. I was warned about the Colombian food before I came here, its lack of variety, lack of taste, lot’s of friend foods. And after the culinary delights of Peru, definitely the best food of South America, it was the one thing I was not looking forward to. But it seems much like Buenos Aires, once you get past the steaks the only way to find good food is to visit restaurants of other nationalities.

And one other thing that’s been a real disappointment? The women. I had heard Colombian women more than once described as the mot beautiful women in the world. And while they aren’t unattractive, they certainly are not generally any better looking than elsewhere in South America. But the way they had been built up… in Medellin I was expecting to run into Jennifer Lopez look-a-likes on every corner, and that they would be wetting their little puppies to spend quality time with a gringo from Australia. But then the real world slapped me in the face, and I discovered that while there are certainly some beautiful women in Medellin, there’s no over abundance as it had been hyped by many gringo men I had met elsewhere in South America.

But I am enjoying the greenery of Colombia. After the more sparse vegetation of the Cusco area it’s a nice change. And am really loving the heat and feel of sun on the Caribbean coast. As a transplanted Aussie who has spent the majority of his life within 30 minutes of the beach, I’ve missed that feeling…

Tayrona National Park isn’t all that however. Nice enough beach at the end of the two hour trek from the park gates, but far more infrastructure than I expected. I expected no electricity, a small campground and restaurant, and golden beaches. Instead the coastline is full of many campgrounds and restaurants, one after the other, including one large resort style complex, and the beaches are not as nice as any of the Sydney beaches, with the majority too dangerous (ocean currents) to swim in. It’s been a common occurrence in South America, hearing about a “beautiful” or “stunning” beach, reaching it, and finding out it’s no more – usually less – beautiful than many I would find at home. The cross we Aussie have to bare…

So instead of sitting by candelight, enjoying the sounds of the ocean and nature as I contemplate the universe, I’m in a crowded, noisy, brightly lit restaurant surrounded by dozens of other campers “roughing it” with their hot meals and cold beers, and closest thing to nature I can here is a large fart from the fat guy on the table behind me.

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Later: And do much for the romance of sleeping in a gently swaying hammock to the sound of the surf breaking on the beach. I find myself sleepless and with no other option than to sit in the darkened restaurant, head torch on, reading a book.

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