Discover more from Vic Koopmans
I flew in to Cartagena to drive out of it as fast as possible. Overly pushy street vendors, rappers shouting their lyrics at everyone and a temperature melting you slowly. I disliked the place upon arrival.
After a bus ride during which luggage was stolen, fights broke out and the bus driver stopped for a thirty minute barbecue break, I arrive in a mountain town nearby the Caribbean coast.
The scenery is beautiful. A mountainous landscape with never ending greenery. Once I walk up the path out of the main town not a single sound is to be heard. The omens appear to be promising.
I was planning to spend a few days on a secluded farm to refuel and apologise to my tormented head, but the omens turn out to be a facade.
I walk into a rather peculiar welcome committee. I am greeted by a group of Venezuelan employees filling up their noses and a man half undressed pouring rum into all throats available - the owner.
A smirk appears on my face. My depressive thoughts don’t take over and my sarcasm doesn’t arise. I decide to embrace the randomness of it all and take part without the drugs and alcohol.
A girl sits next to me and the standard backpacker conversation commences: “Where are you from? How long have you been travelling for? Until when? Dutch people are tall. What’s the book about?”
“What book?” I ask.
“Oh, my novel that’s for sale on https://asmjournal.gumroad.com/l/headfirst?”
“That’s some shameless marketing you did there,” she says.
“I know. But I’m writing this, so I can do whatever.”
Okay, sorry about that.
After a few minutes the girl introduces me to her boyfriend. He thinks I’m hitting on his significant other. I think he’s insecure and shouldn’t flatter himself that much. He gets up and leaves, his tipsy girlfriend offers me some late night fellatio - her boyfriend’s a visionary. At this point I’m starting to feel like a detoxed Hank Moody.
I decline, since it might upset her boyfriend.
“He’s really open minded,” she replies.
“The look of pure hate he’s giving me from the other side of the terrace makes me beg to differ, amiga.”
She takes off her beer goggles and sees my point.
I deject myself from the conversation and speak to a less unsettling couple that is sailing across the world. Their boat is docked in a harbour a few hundred miles down the coast and they offer me to swing by if I’m ever around. A thank you, a hot meal and my head hitting the pillow - finally I get to rest.
Two more days on the farm go by during which relaxation and recovery are only somewhat present. Afterwards I don’t feel reborn, more as if I have just given birth. I decide to leave and hop on a bus to the nearby city of Santa Marta in hopes of finding tranquility.
I get out at a crowded market place, look around and search for a street sign that’ll tell me which direction I have to take. All of a sudden I feel how someone tries to pull my backpack from my back.
There is a standard advice for when they try to rob you in Colombia: hand over what it is they want and stay safe. Obviously I turn around, smack him on his ear and punch my disoriented opponent in his face. I’m a law abiding citizen.
“What did you think was going to happen, 5’4” man?” I inquire.
I find this rude.
“Lying on the ground, knocked out, is not an excuse to lose your manners,” I say.
He gets up and trudges through the crowds. He is fleeing from a man that’s not chasing him.
As per usual I shrug my shoulders. Then I head out to my hostel.
In the hostel I get sick, very sick. My head goes all Dutch nazi and starts collaborating with the enemy. This results into a symphony of cerebral bombardments. This is far from being the man flu.
My toilet and I spend quality time and become best friends overnight. The combination of my usual companion and his new friend make life a miserable concept. Not even able to see straight I gather that I need to leave this twelve bed dormitory, where people constantly walk in and hear and experience my temporary misery. I remember the offer of my sailing acquaintances on the farm and decide to take them up on it.
Heavily drugged I take a bus to a nearby city. Due to the lack of clear communication and me not having internet I end up waiting three hours at the wrong bus terminal. Eventually we sort it out and drive out to the harbour.
I thank my saviours, embrace the mattress in my private cabin and let the sea rock me to sleep.
I dream about unknown places, I dream about crossing borders. Colombia starts fading away and I wake up in a new country.
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