El Rodadero, Santa Marta | Oct 26-28
Santa Marta Travel Blog› entry 4 of 8 › view all entries
October 26th, 2009 – by: kiwicarol
Neither of us could remember exactly why we had chosen to stay two nights in Santa Marta, and when we arrived we were not enlightened! Even with our joint abundance of enthusiasm and determination to have fun, Santa Marta never had a chance compared with the charm of Cartagena. The beach was overrun with vendors and the sand seemed as if it was auditioning to be concrete, it was so tightly packed and uncomfortable to lie on! The streets reminded me of Bocagrande and our search for a bar with even a little bit of nightlife was fruitless. My good friend City Cynicism had no patience for the street vendors, and Language Barrier wrapped me in a comforting bubble of blissful ignorance while I let Fernando deal with the constant haggling and requests to help a brother out by buying something we didn't need.
However, despite the lack of inspiration in Santa Marta, I did learn my third lesson here. As I watched Fernando interacting with the vendors, in my state of incomprehension, I started realizing that my Language Barrier was preventing me from having those chance encounters that give you an insight into the local culture that I love best about traveling. It was turning me into someone I didn't recognize, the kind of person who stands to the side and stares rudely off in the distance while people are talking, ignoring the fact that they are trying to include me and instead choosing to feel isolated and sorry for myself. I admit, this is not something I'm proud of, but at that stage in the journey the lesson on overcoming your own insecurities and making the effort to interact over language barriers was still ahead of me.
As I would later be told the story of this guy with the nine kids, or the other guy who was actually trying to learn English so he could do a better business with tourists, and as I saw the humbly grateful looks in peoples' eyes as we agreed to buy whatever it was they were selling, I finally learned Lesson Number Three: yes the locals do see in you a chance to make money... but this is not something to begrudge, but rather something to embrace, as you take the time to talk with someone about their family and their life, you come away from the transaction feeling enriched.
After two seemingly uneventful days in Santa Marta, we were more than ready to move on to the Parque, and for me I was feeling just a little bit wiser and a lot humbler.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!