Tag Archives: Carlos Vives

Santa Marta – Little Cartagena???

Receiving the news that friends are going to get married is always nice and when they decided to get married on the beach, it called for immediate purchase of tickets and booking of hotel to be sure we could participate in the party…

sundown-santa-marta

After months of looking out to this nice break from work and life in the city, finally we put on our masks and took place in the Avianca plane that was going to leave us right at the beach (not exaggerating, the landing strip really is right next to a beach, far from the city though). As we were not exactly sure where the wedding was going to take place and we did not find anyone that really knew a lot about Santa Marta, we made a gamble and booked hotel Betoma in Rodadero (the specially developed tourist neighborhood of Santa Marta). The hotel was ok, nothing special. We decided that all we needed was a clean bed and a cold shower in the morning as the rest of the time would be spend with (new) friends and hanging on the beaches.

For 90.000COP (40USD) you really just get a clean room, very basic but with a good bed and from a corner even a view of the beach. The Rodadero seemed an alive area with many small restaurants and close access to the beach from anyone of the hotels around.

After meeting the couples friends from Spain (they used to live there) and a pretty intense party at a beach bar overlooking the sea, we had made new friends for life and left the next day with them for Parque Tayrona. The Madrilenos kind of stole the show though. Some of them had not slept at all, just got into the bus as 8 in the morning, made us stop at the first liquor store and buy 3 liters of Rum and another one of Aguardiente (Firewater) and forced the driver to play nothing more than Reggaeton (sort of a latin version of Hiphop). The whole way to the park our bus was shaking as people were literally dancing in the aisle and even the Colombians were stunned by this much partying.

santa-marta-playa-7-olasInside the park we made a stop at the Playa Siete Olas (Seven Waves Beach), which was a really nice sight. After consuming some more rum while counting the waves we headed on to the final destination: Playa Christal or also known as Playa de la Muerta (Death beach). The beach was really great, the weather perfect, nice cool water and great food served by the few small restaurants there. After a few hours of burning, we went back to Santa Marta for the next party.

In the next few days we visited some other beaches and the historic center passed by in one of these trips. From the bus it seemed nice but we did not have time to stop unfortunately so I can not really give my opinion about it. If you do decide to go, Taganga is a nice little fishers town to visit. There is a beach only a boat ride away and again some nice seafood for lunch.

santa-marta-taganga

Santa Marta by itself is nice, but not as nice as Cartagena. It has potential but seems to miss a strong mayor that makes especially Rodadero a little safer late at night. We had the pleasure of meeting some messed up drunk young kids and on another occasion a semi-crazy dude that told us he was going to attack us at 4 in the morning in front of our hotel and the overall feeling at night there was not the greatest. Santa Marta used to be in or at least very close to a dangerous area in Colombia. Now things have changed, but really there should be some investment from the government, more police on the streets and to the Samarios (inhabitants of Santa Marta) I would like to say: DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND START PICKING UP THE GARBAGE THAT YOU HAVE LEFT BEHIND EVERYWHERE!!! MAN THAT CITY IS REALLY PILED UP WITH PLASTIC CRAP!!

santa-marta-playa-christal-2-parque-tayronaSo all in all, Santa Marta was a super trip, but more because of all the nice foreigners (Bogotanians and Spanish) than because of Santa Marta. Side note: strange that in a beach town, people are so grumpy and not really happy to see people spending money in the low season……

Btw, almost forgot, my good friend Carlos Vives is from Santa Marta.

Ah and he got robbed there walking on the beach, if I should believe the taxi driver.

But they also found his stuff back somehow…

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Happy Colombians

While reading this text, listen to this song please:

Have you already noticed that most Colombian music is very positive, happy, uplifting? After my teenage years were over I started to dislike all the dramatic music & movies and other drama in whatever art form. Life really is too short to add artificial drama to it! Maybe that is also what attracts me to the life and lifestyle here. Of course people are not 100% happy all the time, but they prefer to forget about their worries and live life to the max.

In various studies over the recent years it has shown that Colombians are amongst the most happiest people in the world.  Surrounded by far wealthier countries like Denmark, Canada and my own birthplace The Netherlands, Colombia took the bronze medal in a research done by Businessweek:

http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/aug2008/gb20080820_874593.htm

An outtake: “Today it’s the world’s third happiest country, but “cocaine” and “cartel” are traditionally more easily associated with Colombia than “carefree” and “contented.” The change: Surging tourism and economic growth have accompanied the South American country’s efforts in recent years to reassert control over its decades-old rebel violence and lucrative drug operations. Even though per capita income is far lower than in the top 10 countries, Colombia’s literacy rate is 94%, well above the world average. And the ethnically tolerant country supports thriving coastal communities of Arabs, Jews, Italians, Germans, French, Portuguese, and Roma descendants.

In daily life I notice that people do not look that far ahead as in the Netherlands, they take things more per day and enjoy as long as it lasts. I read this afternoon a nice phrase: put two Colombians together and you have a party!

Btw. the song played is “Quiero verte sonreir” from Carlos Vives and translates to: “I want to see you smile”…enough said!

Music: Carlos Vives – “La tierra del olvido”

Great song of Carlos Vives (100% Colombian). Unfortunately the original video does not work and this is the only one that I could find 😉 :

Concert: Peace without borders

As you might have seen in the news, a few months ago there was some “discussion” between Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. It seemed to be something mainly at governmental level and it got pushed so far that other countries were pulled into it and some threats of war were even made.

Juanes, besides Shakira probably the most famous artist from Colombian origin for non-Latins, wanted to send a message to our neighbors and unite the people of the three different countries. He invited Ricardo Montaner (Venezuela), Juan Fernando Velasco (Ecuador), Miguel Bosé and Alejandro Sanz (Spain), Juan Luis Guerra (Dominican Republic) and Carlos Vives (Colombia) and organized a free concert on the border of Colombia and Venezuela: “Paz sin fronteras” – Peace without borders.

Carlos Vives put on a great show with his typical Vallenato rhythms:

Pa’Mayte – Carlos Vives

Alejandro Sanz – “No es lo mismo”

While 400.000 people were present at this huge party, we watch at home with my wifes family. A really impresive time in many ways. By now things have calmed down again though, even though some “discussion” will probably continue for a while as politicians always need to have something to say 🙂