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Dear Gary

Riohacha, Colombia

Where I ended going was a small place called Casa Grande in between Palamino and Santa Marta. It's run by a Colombian guy named Jorge - or Jota as everyone including his 9 yr old son call him - who lived in Canada for some 7 odd years or so cause some of his family was kidnapped, so the safety issue warrented a move. The move had him working 3 jobs at a time in St. Catherines and eventually in Calgary doing catering for the Flames. As I left today he told me I'm an alight guy except that I cheer for the Oilers. Ya know, I really ought to send him some Oiler merchandise when I get back home.

Now everything has calmed down drug war wise and Jota is looking after some beach huts on the Carribean coast. He's living what we'd call the easy life, but he figures he's earned it after busting his butt in exile for over 9 yrs. Last year two Canadian brothers from Burlington entered his life and after falling in love with the place proposed setting up a surf school, which they officially did so this January by weasiling their way into a student visa.

In Santa Marta some sepos running a new hostal told me about the surf school, so I decided to check it out. I have only surfed once before, 9 yrs ago in Byron Bay on a longboard that you could safely take your family from Cuba to Miami on. With my lack of experience I chose to learn myself the ways of the board and after two days on the waves managed to catch many and wimpily stand up on one. Picture a kid first learning to walk - that's how cool I looked! ...except probably not as cute with my mullet. No worries though cause I caught the jist enough to want to try again when I get to Central America.

To be honest, I'm not sure what my Venezuelan experience will be like. There is one city which is supposed to be safe, so I'm gonna take 2 days to get there. Along the way I'll see if there are any cool places to stop off at. If it doesn't feel right then I'll probably leave within a week and jump back into Colombia.

As for jungle animals, I saw some big ass toads and tons of mozquitos n' sandflies. I can't imagine the correlation is coincidental. Now my feet are polk-a-dotted and puffy. Oh, there were also some beautiful butterflies and in the rivers there were fishies that liked to nibble on your sandfly bites. That was a little disturbing, yet oddly cute. Other then that there wasn't much fauna. The flora, however, was as abundant as it gets. Every tree was a host to 5 or so more species of plants, including vines, mosses and ferns. In the Lost City it really looked like a scene from Indiana Jones.

permalink written by  ryanmyers on September 9, 2009 from Riohacha, Colombia
from the travel blog: Ryan's First Sabbatical
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