After a day of doing mostly nothing yesterday, I thought I better do at least one exciting thing today. Woke up super early (like always because nowhere has proper curtains and the light pours in from about 6am) but decided no to get up until an “appropriate” breakfast time so I could maximise the potential to make new friends over morning food.
There’s a non-included buffet breakfast on offer here for the equivalent of $5 (which I’ve decided is too expensive – lower price standards now) so I had the free coffee with the soy milk I bought yesterday…wasn’t too bad. While I was discussing what to do with the girl I met yesterday, 2 American girls came to ask if we wanted to go on the Minca coffee tour with them cos they needed at least 1 extra person for the tour to run. Worked out perfectly as that was just what I was considering doing and probably wouldn’t have worked it out until after the tour left.
So my new friends for the day were Mary and Kristina (from the US) and Anna (German). One of the girls recently had surgery to fix a broken neck and had asked before we left whether the road was bumpy or not. The response was that there’d be a few minutes of rough road, but not too much. Remember how I said you should ask multiple people the same question if you want the right answer? Well she didn’t take her neck brace and the car ride ended up being about 75mins of really bumpy road. Ask more questions.
At the beginning of the car ride we suddenly stopped beside a house and our driver/tour guide, Jesus, got out. No idea why. A few minutes later I turn around and see him using a screw driver to open the petrol tank. Then a lady comes out of the house with a large funnel and large container and starts filling up the truck’s petrol tank. Now I think I’ve travelled enough to know that sometimes things get done differently in other places and standards are often lower than at home. But I thought that turning off the car engine while filling up with petrol would have been something done globally. Apparently not. I thought the truck was going to explode.
Santa Marta is super hot and humid so being up in the mountains again was a welcomed change. It was so green and lush! Our first stop was a waterfall on the way that we could swim in. To get to the top part of the waterfall we had to do a sort of hillside climb through damn rainforest, in thongs. Safety is really not a huge issue here. Had to take my time making sure I didn’t slip and fall…a very high possibility. The water was about 12 degrees and we had a great time chilling there while trying not to get swept away by the strong current down the waterfall.
Next stop was the coffee plantation. We had a tour around the factory which was ok – learnt that they were still using the same machinery as when it first started over 100 years ago. It was actually way more sophisticated than the other coffee places I’d had tours of before – they weren’t just drying coffee beans on mats in the sun. At the end of the tour we walked out to find Jesus lying under the car trying to fix something – not confident about getting home. He assured us he’d only take 15 minutes…an hour later we were still waiting; cold, wet, hungry and getting cranky. I hadn’t had breakfast and by this time it was already 3pm.
We stopped in the main town of Minca on the way back to have some delicious pasta. They took their sweet time making it though – I could swear they were making the pasta from scratch they took so long. I decided to film Jesus starting the car when we got going again. Turns out rather than car keys, he was using the screw driver to start the engine. A screw driver. WTF. Haha AND because the truck is so close to the end of it’s life, it took him 3 tries to start up. I think I’m yet to be in a vehicle that I’d consider safe and roadworthy here.
Like the truck from the other day, one of the front windows wasn’t there so we assumed it just didn’t exist. It rained the entire time we were eating lunch so the seat was soaking by the time we got back in the truck. Half way back to the hostel, Mary complained she was getting wet so Jesus literally took the shirt off his own back as gave it to her to cover her legs from the rain! How lovely! Only then did he decide to up the window – ah! So it does exist! But then she was still getting wet from the leaking windscreen…
It didn’t actually take that long to get back to the hostel – possibly because we just rolled the whole way back. I have no faith at all that the truck could climb another mountain without first getting fixed. Back at the hostel I had hoped that going for a swim in the pool would warm me up. Nope: cold water, cold air – still cold. And even worse than that, only cold showers. Sigh, now I’m complaining it’s not warm enough. Can’t win.