Monday, August 16, 2010

Colombian Coast - The Clint Eastwood Breakdown

The Good

We just returned from Tayrona National Park, which offered the type of unspoiled and seemingly endless coastline that I have only previously seen pictures of or read about in my lifetime. The lightly-coloured sand, crystal Caribbean waters and surrounding vegetation would easily rank as the nicest beach setting I have ever visited (though Kristin would still give the edge to some of her Australian beaches) and for those that were willing to walk for a little ways or start a bit earlier, there were literally hundred of metres of beach that could be had all to one's self. Getting there and away required slogging through mud and staying there meant more hammocks and nasty tents, both of which were probably a little too soon for us after our Lost City trek, but I would like to think those sacrifices were totally worth it and that we would definitely have done it again. Probably.

The Bad

In Taganga, a small, sleepy, hippyish beach town where we chose to unwind after The Lost City, Kristin was stung by a small jellyfish about 45 seconds into our first dip in the Caribbean Sea. Seeing her in that kind of discomfort was a totally helpless feeling, and my first instinct was to pee all over her in the hopes that it might take away some of the pain. Luckily for her, I didn't, and eventually the pain subsided in a more naturual and less intrusive manner.

The Ugly*

About an hour and half after the jellyfish sting, as we returned from the beach to the main part of Taganga, we were mugged by two men, one carrying a gun and one carrying a knife. I again felt totally helpless, but my initial instinct in this instance was to pee all over myself. No, that's not true, as for me the experience proved to be more shocking and surreal than terrifying, but we remain somewhat unsettled and it certainly has taken some of the wind out of our sails. In the end, they took our camera, my inexpensive travel watch and the money we had on our persons (which was about $20 more than we would normally take to the beach since we were on our way to buy Kristin some new flip-flops). Luckily, if you can call it that, they missed my Ipod and didn't take our sunglasses. Also reassuring is the fact that the Colombian police are on the case and are searching for the culprits..... even though they had no real interest in obtaining a physical description of the two men from us .... so we should be getting our camera back any moment now.

As for impact on the blog, I remain determined to convey the beauty of this coast to our many loyal readers, but we are currently without a camera to assist in doing so (editor's note: I think you really would have loved a picture of the Unicorn I was riding along the beach at sunset, but you'll just have to take my word for it...). Since I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I typically like to post 25-30 pictures of each place/region we visit, simple deduction and multiplication tells me that this post is going to have to be around 30,000 words to accomplish my goal, so perhaps you should clear a couple of hours from your calendars and get settled in. Nah, I'm just kidding, I'll keep this post short and sour. Thankfully, we are heading to Cartagena in the next day or two. I'm sure that one of the most touristy cities we'll visit on our trip and a city which forms part of the Carribean cruise circuit will have very reasonable prices for cameras...

Our pictures from the Caribbean coast are .... somewhere. If you know where that somewhere is, you are aiding and abetting in armed robbery and that is a crime. Shame on you.

*Honourable mention for "Ugly" goes to the parade of fully-naked men that slowly began invading our once nearly-private strip of beach in Tayrona and turned it into a walking, running, swimming and, yes, even jumping wang-fest. This horrific display was not offset by an equal number of walking, running, swimming or jumping naked women. Even if it had been, it still wouldn't have been okay.


  1. SAD!!!
    But glad you kept your sunglasses!
    The next trip to the beach will be way way better!
    hearts to both of you

  2. getting robbed sucks big time! it has only happened to me once before and it left a bitter taste i my mouth for weeks. don't let it get to you.

    I highly recommend the Olympus underwater cameras for a $250CND they are a steal... i guess i shouldn't say steal...

  3. Yeah, it wasn't good. It also sucked because it shattered the illusion I had that, if confronted with a weapon, I would deftly kick it out of the attacker's hands and then administer a savage beatdown before they could run away. It turns out I have more Chuck Norris facts in me than actual Chuck Norris. But I'm with you, Keltie, the next beach trip will be better!

  4. So sorry about the mugging, so glad you are both ok and really glad they didn't get your sense of humor or your credit cards or passports. Your best move was giving them everything and then getting outta there. We are looking forward to the return of happy travels and more pictures from a new camera.

  5. Thanks, Joann. While I'm glad they didn't get our sense our humour, I'm cognisant of the fact it would have been cheaper to replace than our camera. In any event, we bought a new camera yesterday and hopefully things can now return to normal. Say hello to everybody for us.

  6. Looking forward to the new Camera and your next blog. Hopefully there will be no more encounters like that and you continue to have a great time exploring South America. Love to you both.

  7. That's our hope as well. The camera seems to work pretty good and possibly has more megapixels than the old one. I'll try to throw up a post sometime later today or tomorrow.

  8. Brave brave souls.... Sounds like an adventure on your post but I gotta say it must have been more terrifying in the actual moment. Keep on trekking and keep those wonderful outlooks... love the updates.

  9. KLongs! That's really crappy - I'm so sorry to hear about the robbery (and less traumatic, the stingray sting, Kristin). Delighted to hear both of you are OK now and your sense of humour remains in tact. Looking forward to all of the wonderful Peruvian blogs and pics to follow!

  10. Thanks for the comments. We're feeling better about it now, especially after hearing stories from other travellers we have met since and thinking that we could have had it a lot worse. The most recent example that sticks out was the couple we met who took a sailboat from the San Blas Islands in Panama to Cartagena, had their boat sink in the middle of the first night and then, after spending several hours in a life raft, had the drunk captain of the rescue sailboat pull a gun on one of the passengers. It's all relative, I guess.