I thought I’d share pics from my trip to Colombia. I flew into Barranquilla (found a super cheap RT flight out of Miami), then took a bus to Palomino to stay at La Sirena Eco Hotel for a couple of days.
The bus ride was an adventure in itself. There was no announcements for each stop, so I had no idea when we reached Palomino. I tried to look for signs along the way. But as it got darker, that became more difficult. With my limited Spanish skills, I asked the man sitting next to me where we were and if the city was antes de o después de Palomino. He replied that the city we were driving through was after Palomino. By this time, it was pitch black outside…and I was scared.
I resisted the urge to cry, took a deep breath, and made my way up front to speak with the bus driver. Of course, he didn’t speak any English. In my best Spanglish, I told him that I missed my stop. I was worried that he didn’t understand me, but he told me to grab my bag and come sit up front.
I noticed that he began flashing his headlights at buses passing in the opposite direction. He was trying to get their attention. Finally, one of the other buses stopped. He grabbed my bag and escorted me across the road to the other bus. Yes, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, I was holding up traffic while I switched buses! I heard the him tell the other bus driver about my situation. And in about 45 minutes, I was back at the stop I was supposed to get off of in the first place.
But then I had to figure out how to get to the hotel…ugh! There were small crowds of people sitting outside of a few little stores and restaurants in the area–all staring at this strange woman. I went into one of the stores to ask the clerk if she knew where the La Sirena Hotel was located (in my Spanglish, of course). She shrugged, but alerted a guy to help me. He was a taxi driver. But not just any taxi driver. Apparently, they use dirt bikes as taxis here. I’ve never even been on a motorcycle before. I took another deep breath, said a prayer, and hopped on the bike.
My “taxi” driver took us down a dark and winding road. He was speeding, and I noticed the road was bumpy due to the sand. That let me know that the beach had to be nearby, so we should be arriving at the hotel soon. He dropped me off outside of the gate of the hotel, and I was met with complete darkness. Fortunately, I have a flashlight app on my phone. I made use of it as I navigated through the palm tress and avoided tripping over coconuts on the ground. Finally, I saw a building with lights and people standing outside of it. It was the hotel’s reception area, and I made it with just 5 minutes left before they closed for the evening. Exhausted, I went to my cabana–happy to have made it through the craziness of the day.
The food at the hotel was amazing. All of the ingredients were fresh and played well off of each other. I was excited and ready to devour each meal. And the views I got to enjoy while dining outside were breathtaking. It was totally worth the trip.
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