Dazed and Confused

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Not entirely sure what just happened, but I seem to have gotten one of the best massages in my life for about $10.

Very pretty pink flowers carpeting the sidewalk on the way home, still no camera.

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Heading back to bucaramanga

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Decided to go back and get some more flying in. A local dealer has a wing to show me this weekend, so hopefully I’ll be set up pretty soon. Will be tripling the amount of luggage I carry, but I say it’s worth it.


Back from Cliff Jumping, still alive

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Still waiting on the photos, but I guess I can write about it a little.

We took a bus to a little town called Curiti, which, incidentally, is where we did the caving the other day. I wanted to just take a cab again, but in the interest of saving $3, we all piled onto a local bus and had a pretty pleasant ride to the edge of town, then a good hour walk. The problem with this, and where the cabs would have come in nicely, is that that hour walk was in driving rain.

After a lot of jokes about how it’s wet underwater anyway and lamentations about how we should have taken the bus, should have brought rum, should have worn wool so I wouldn’t be freezing in a normally incredibly hot town (a buddy got heat stroke in a mildly disastrous 3-day hike, which we learned when we were wondering where he could be and discovered him passed out behind the hostel bar [from heat stroke]), the rain started to let up, and we saw some pretty beautiful sights, and I again lamented the fact that my waterproof camera from Sony was not, in fact, waterproof. This is just an incredibly pretty country.

Upon our arrival there ensued a great deal of cliff diving in highly picturesque venues. I had brought my goggles, so I scouted under water for rocks, subaqueous zombies, river sharks, whatever. For the most part the coast was clear, but what I did see was a surprising number of fish. Very cool and for some reason unexpected.

We took a bunch of photos of us jumping off the cliffs together in truly irresponsible numbers. I’m laying even odds on whether I ever get those, the way things go when you’re using someone else’s camera who has their own life and own travel plans, but I’ll be sure and post them if I do.

What really struck me about this place was how similar it was to Caño Cristales (which I do have photos of and I will upload), with the exception of the bright red plants, of course. Given that those are the only two Colombian rivers I’ve seen, I have to say that I am extremely impressed.

On the way back, I decided I wanted to jog for a bit, and so ended up spending a lot of time alone on the road framing fantasy shots for myself, since I had no way of capturing them. These included: Two inky black bulls with shorn horns butting heads against each other with a background of the deep and lush green of every pasture in Colombia. Those same bulls, shot through a barbed wire fence, against a backdrop of a flowering tree both of great size and orangeness. A real-life pig farm (my first ever) that would have fit into the flatbed of many trucks I’ve seen in Texas. This I spied through some bamboo slats on the side of the road and located by the smell. A pack of seven dogs sunbathing in the middle of the country asphalt, almost completely oblivious to passing motorcycles. Some shots of rolling hillsides that I can’t describe, so I won’t try. It’s amazing how many valleys you can see here and still be amazed.

 


Horseshoes and Handgrenades

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The target.Well, almost. So, Tejo. As a Texan, the easiest way for me to describe Tejo is horseshoes with explosives. Essentially, you and your fellow teammates (we played 3 on 3) choose a well-battered half cannonball (to be precise it has the cross section of a trapezoid and from above is around) and toss/hurl it a good fifty feet at a large clay square target. Like in horseshoes, there is a central bullseye, here a metal ring mostly buried in the clay. Whoever is closest after everyone has thrown gets one point. Bounces don’t count and unlike the French boules, it doesn’t count to knock your opponent’s tejo out of the way. Not that you could anyway, because it’s most likely embedded deep in the clay.

Now here’s the kicker, placed carefully on the ring are two triangular paper packets of gunpowder. If you hit them just right, so that the tejo strikes them from one side against the metal ring on the other, you get a nice loud explosion, followed by a small fire. Pretty badass. Also extremely loud, even from six courts away.

Also like horseshoes, there is a great deal of beer available, and many people’s techniques developed assuming a beer in one hand and the tejo in the other.

I’m not going to comment here on my own personal tejo skills, but we had a great time.


Crawling Through Muck and Luxuriating in Massage Oil

Posted on by Brandon Green in Colombia, San GIl, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Yesterday we went caving at Cueva la Vaca, which involved a lot of swimming underwater and crawling for unreasonable distances on hands and knees in order to fit through very small spaces. My previous caving companions would have hated this place, but I thought it was pretty fun.

Once back, we had lunch and then spent some time relaxing, then a local on a motorcycle showed up and I hopped on the back to be whisked through San Gil to have a pretty impressive hour long massage. Apparently caving requires a lot of muscles I don’t normally use, and combined with the squats and deadlifts I had done the day before, I was pretty sore, because I ended up nearly screaming a few times.

Altogether, the massage and motorcycle ride cost 40k pesos, or about $24, plus tip. Apparently there’s another place in town that’ll give you 90 minutes for the same price, so I’m hoping to check that out before I leave.

After riding back to town, now completely relaxed, I played some board games with the other people in the hostel, then we all hopped in taxis to go play Tejo, which I’ll explain in my next post.