Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
I got up this morning at 7am, called Melissa and her mom and sister to make sure they were all awake, and then met up with them to play tennis. The only problem was that the two tennis courts were already taken. Fail. We asked if they knew how long they’d be playing for, and they said they had it reserved until 8am. We had been told at reception that you don’t have to book the tennis courts, you just show up whenever you want to play. Apparently the bookings go through the swimming pool bar, and they told us it was booked out until 10am, when it was going to be too hot to play without risking death.
We decided to just get changed into our bathing suits, head down to breakfast, and then go enjoy the beach for one last time before leaving Baru. We had a nice swim in the perfectly clear waters and soaked up some rays (well everyone except me. I had my factor 70 sunblock on). We headed back to the rooms around 11:30am to get showered and packed up so we could check out at noon. Of course, as usual, we were late. It seems to be a typical Colombian thing where no one is ever on time for anything.
We finally got checked out around 1pm and then headed to the restaurant for lunch. We enjoyed our last meal at this resort before heading out to the next resort in Santa Marta. This time in Baru was absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t be more thankful to Luz Mery for inviting me to come along to spend this holiday with Melissa and the rest of her family. It’s been excellent!
We got the cars all packed up and headed out of Baru at 2:30pm. It was supposed to be a four hour drive to get to Santa Marta, but it ended up taking us six hours. Melissa’s car still isn’t working correctly, so it’s really difficult to pass anyone. This means you get stuck behind a truck and you are screwed for the next hour until the truck goes a different way. We also hit a major traffic jam at a couple of different spots, so that held us up as well. Juan Carlos drove Paola, Melissa, and myself in Melissa’s car, and he was definitely ready to give up driving in Colombia forever after that drive. I’m glad he did it, because I wouldn’t have been able to, especially without killing someone from all the road rage I would have had.
We got pulled over by the police at one point, both of our cars, in what looked to me like a routine traffic stop. Apparently, the police were just trying to get money out of the drivers in order to not give them a ticket for some made up offense. This is the first real bit of corruption I’ve seen in Colombia, and it wasn’t totally evident to me. Melissa said it’s more common than you think, but we ended up not having to pay. I guess we lucked out because Juan Carlos was driving and he has a British driver’s license. The police are very wary of taking money from foreigners, so they ended up letting both of our cars go and just said “drive safely.” Melissa’s mom saw the people in the cars stopped ahead of us and behind us both pay the officers so they could leave. It seems crazy that this still happens here, but maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
We finally got to the Decameron resort in Santa Marta at 8:30pm and we were all exhausted. We checked into our rooms, and then headed straight to dinner, which had finished at 9pm, but we were still able to grab some of the scraps that were left behind. This resort doesn’t look quite as nice as the Royal Decameron in Baru, but it is still amazing. Beautiful resort, air conditioned, free food and drink all the time, and a beach to swim at. You’re not going to hear complaints from this guy.
We finished dinner and then headed straight out again to the town of Santa Marta. Some other siblings of Luz Mery are spending the new year holiday in Santa Marta, but not at this resort, so we went to meet them in town. It was really nice to meet some more of Melissa’s family, including two aunts, two uncles, and a cousin. We all sat and had a couple of beers at this massive beachside party until about 1am.
We got back to the resort around 1:30am and I’m ready to head to bed now. It’s been an exhausting day and I can’t wait for a good night’s sleep. With tomorrow night being New Year’s Eve, I know it’s going to be a late one, so I want to make sure I’m well rested now. The only thing I feel bad about is that we have had to switch up the room situation so instead of three rooms we have two. This means that Juan Carlos, Paola, Leo and Grandma are in one room, and I’m in another room with Melissa, Vanessa and Luz Mery. Our room has two bedrooms, one with a big queen size bed, and another with two twin beds. Since Melissa and I aren’t married we can’t stay in the same room, and it isn’t any more comfortable for Vanessa or Luz Mery to stay here, they are all sharing a queen bed while I have a big room with two beds to myself. I know it’s part of their culture, but I just wish it didn’t affect people’s comforts along the way.