This past few weeks I’ve been busy travelling, trying to pack in as many end of the year trips as possible, on top of completing all my final projects and exams for MY FINAL SEMESTER OF UNDERGRAD EVER, so my little blog here has definitely suffered (more than usual). So clean your reading glasses and charge your laptop, because I’m about to do some major updates.
A couple weeks ago (Nov 11-13), I travelled up to La Guajira, a department in the very North of Colombia, right next to Venezuela. My friend Felipe and I, along with his Australian friend Emily, flew from Bogotá to Santa Marta where we met our friend Enya at the airport. We rented an SUV in the city, picked up some groceries, beer and candy, and began our 5-hour drive that Saturday morning. Overall, the drive from Santa Marta to Riohacha (the capital city of La Guajira) was easy and straight forward as we were driving on roads, similar to smaller highways back home. We only got stopped once at a construction spot for a few minutes, but just enough time for some local kids to sell us some snacks. I bought a platano covered in cheese, which has easily become my favourite snack on the coast.
In Riohacha, we met up with a guide from the kite-surfing school we were headed to, as apparently its quite difficult to get to Cabo de La Vela from Riohacha if you don’t know where you’re going. This is 100% accurate because to travel between the two towns, we were literally driving through the desert, dodging goats ‘chivos’ and paying the candy tax over and over again. Candy tax? La Guajira is known for its Indigenous group, the Wayuu people. These people are indestructible as no explorer has been able to ‘conquer’ this part of Colombia and even to date, these people still hold most of the control within the area. Unfortunately, they are quite poor so anyone passing through the desert will be stopped by kids, none older than 10, holding up a rope across the path and the only way to get by is to give them candy. It’s cute but also quite sad.
We reached our final destination, Cabo de la Vela in the later part of the afternoon, just in time to see the sunset. We explored the area a bit, but in all honesty, there is not much to see come night fall and we were in bed fairly early that night. We slept on the top floor of the kite-school, in chinchurros which are pretty much hammocks, just bigger and softer. Throughout the night, we had little kittens climbing into our chinchurros to cuddle, one actually slept with Emily the entire night.
Sunday morning was the big kite-surfing today. After breakfast we each had our individuals lessons and mine was in Spanish. I can tell you right now, my Spanish skills were definitely challenged here as it was an entirely different and specific vocabulary that I’ll most likely never use again. I learned all the different parts of the harness, the kite, what they did, etc. After that while the wind was low, we took a quick drive to El Peñón de Acúzar which had an incredible view of the sea, before returning to Cabo for the high winds that afternoon.
Kite-surfing is VERY hard! I was not even allowed to see the board! Learning how to control the wind in your harness, which basically is opposite of everything you would imagine it to be, was complicated. Also, the wind was so strong, that I literally got dragged across the water with my guide trying to pull me back using the handlebar on my back. I’m definitely glad I tried it and I am open to trying it again in the future, but I think next time, I’ll take my lesson in English. It’s just so cool to see so many young kids there, mastering the sport and making jumps of 20ft in the air. It’s incredible!
That night we met Griffin. Griffin wound up at our kite-school and joined our group quite naturally. He is from the States, driving a motorcycle all the way to Argentina. Pretty badass! He is travelling with a friend, but due to difference in priorities, he was in Cabo alone, so obviously we’d rope him into our nonsense. He was very funny and easy to get along with, we even met up this past weekend in Bogotá with his buddy. I’m looking forward to reading his blog throughout the remainder of his travels.
On Monday, we had to leave early as Felipe and I had flights back to Bogotá that night at 9:15PM. But Felipe, being Colombian, runs on Colombian time. So our planned 12PM departure turned into a 2PM departure, which was followed by about an hour and a half period of being lost in the desert, before turning into Fast and the Furious as we ripped through Riohacha all the way to Santa Marta. We reached the airport at 8:30PM. Now while I played it calm, not to distract the driver, my stress levels were through the roof! Fortunately, we made our flight and back to Bogotá safe and sound.
This was my last trip with Enya until we meet again, sometime, somewhere, as we really don’t know when or where we will see each other again! I am so thankful that our friend Pete was able to link us up, because she has by far been one of my favourite travel buddies this past year and it is very special to not only find a friend, but to find a friend you can travel with.