Jul 21, 2015 | | Say something

I was in Barranquilla for three days, all of which I will describe here:






I arrived at night, got into a taxi, the first one I didn’t book and got in alone. Except I wasn’t alone, it was a shared ride with strangers. Again the visions of kidnapping cropped into my fragile skull. I wasn’t kidnapped, although I do believe I was ripped off. 20,000 Colombian pesos for a 25 minute ride, in a shared taxi, is well beyond market rates anywhere in Colombia. The driver even looked surprised when I gave him the money. But it was late, I was tired, and my backpack was locked in the trunk.


The next day I went to the nearby town of Puerto Colombia. This is where you can surf. So I’d heard. Except there were no waves. It was the wrong time of year. And I’d talked to locals, telling them my surfing plans, they all said it was fine and I should come. When I arrived and told them the waves were too small, they all agreed and told me it was the wrong time of year. Bastardos.  I did get to ride a moto-taxi in Puerto Colombia. That was the highlight of my trip. Guys on motorbikes, often themselves without helmets, offer rides to anyone stupid enough to take them. They agree a set fee, and then race as fast as they can to the destination, never quite stopping the bike until they get there. As I sat on the back in my flip flops, shorts and t-shirt, it occurred to me that if we fell over I would be lucky to just lose a leg. I wish I could say it was the first time in my life on the back of a motorbike without a helmet…but as stupid as it is, it’s also exhilarating.


I visited the Caribbean museum, or Museo del Caribe. Interesting enough place. The great Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in the Caribbean, not too far from Barranquilla. So the museum had a lot dedicated to “Gabo”, as they like to call him.


I’m sure Barranquilla has something to offer, but I can’t tell you what. Not since Shakira and Sofia Vergara left. There’s a reason it’s not a tourist town. The heat was also unbearable.


I had such grand plans for the Caribbean, go to Cartagena, Santa Marta, Aracataca (the town that Gabo based his fictional, magical town of Macondo on, and where he was born). But instead I decided the beach wasn’t for me, back to the mountains. A flight from Barranquilla to Medellin costs only slightly more than the bus. That’s with Viva Colombia, the Colombian Ryanair. Three days and I left full of bitterness.


Other interesting fact – I was the only white person in Barranquilla. Most people were either black and or at least brown-skinned latinos. That meant that everywhere I went people would stare at me. More than they stare in the rest of the country. And Colombians like to stare.


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