San Gil. So the bus never stops at a bus station and I see people getting off and wonder where I should get off. I ask someone if this is San Gil and if there I a bus station. I didn't quite understand their answer but I did get that it was San Gil do I went up front and asked them where I need to get off to get a taxi to town. They pull over a block ahead and I find a taxi and make it to the hostel. The hostel is nice. Very quiet. People are relaxing watching tv. Cooking dinner. Downstairs people are laying in hammocks sitting by the hot tub and around a big picnic table reading. My room has 4 beds and is downstairs by the hammocks garden and spa. I set my stuff down and go to look at all the activities. Rafting, paragliding, caving, biking, parks, little towns and waterfalls. I decide to relax and read that night. Try to meet some people. At such a quiet hostel it is more difficult to meet people. I chat with a few but most have already done all the activities so I choose paragliding for my first full day. The van drove up this dirt road it keep going and going and going. There were lots of farms that had plants growing then a covered area that had plants drying, I didn't know what they were but was later told it was tobacco. There were at least 20 of these farms. Some small and some bigger. We kept goin up the hill more and more, I wondered how high up we could go. I would see a flat area and think we were there but then another hill came. Finally there was a big hill and when the driver tried to change gears, clunk pop and he stopped. Everyone knew the car was done and the worker immediately said ok, get out, we are walking. They got all the backpacks with the chutes and we started walking up the hill. It was Hot. But I just kept going. My roommate who is from NY was also there. We kept walking up and ended up walking through a farm and after about half a mile arrived. Tired. There was a shaded area with chairs and a shop, the views were amazing. We could see the valley with all the farms, the other direction was another valley and in the distance could see the canyon where the river was. The area where the paraglide took off was the top of the hill but sort of flattened. I was scarred at first. Kinda nervous. There was not enough wind to begin paragliding so we were told to wait 45 minutes. Anyways finally the first girl goes. She is the lightest of all of us and they had a hard time getting off the ground. They would get picked up 2 or 3 feet then the wind would die down and they would fall. After her a few guys went and the wind had picked up. Take off was easier and they were flying faster and doing better tricks. One Colombian older man returned from his ride and bought a bottle of rum. He got little plastic shot glasses and kept trying to get all the gringos to have some. Finally after him nagging us for 10 minutes we have a shot. It was so smooth. Mmmmmmm. I went to check who was in the air and who hadn't gone yet and returned to do another shot of rum before my ride. Finally it was
My turn. So I went. Takeoff was easy and it was so beautiful up there. A smooth ride. Then some tricks little spirals down which were fun then swinging back and forth I swear we almost went upside down because I definitely got a little bit of air. Anyways the can returned all fixed up who knows what went wrong. We drove back down the road with no problems. The now drunk old man sat next to me and wowzers he was plastered. By he kept taking shots and trying to get me to take shots. Jon who was my roommate was sleeping as he had denge fever and had just got out of the hospital the day before. The paragliding took the energy right out. The drunk guy kept trying to wake Jon up to ask him questions about English because sometimes I didn't know what a word was. He was trying to practice his English and also trying to get everyone in the bus to take shots. He decided we all were going out drinking together that night. Well that wasn't happening he tried really hard. Followed us all the way to the hostel and even and in. We all ran to our rooms to escape his drunkenness. That night I ate Mexican food with another roommate. She was boring as crap. Nothing interesting to say. She didn't keep conversations going so I just stopped talking and decided it was better to eat in silence than try to converse. Had a lay low night as rafting was early (9:30) the next day. The only seat left by the time I jumped in the van was the front next to the driver. So I jumped in he immediately began talking to me in Spanish. I am slow to start speakin Spanish thinking it is not good enough, but we had a 1 hour drive to the start of rafting and boy he sure could keep a
Conversation going. He have me his blackberry to translate words I didn't know and we chatted for the entire hour. And on the return trip too. Talked about his schooling my job, music, his lifestyle, the trip, my trip, wow I can't believe we talked for 2 hours. Some in English as he was trying to learn too, but it was Easier to just speak Spanish. Anyways rafting was fun no crazy stories. We first had to practice falling in and also practice flipping over. On the actual rapids no body fell out but we were close a few times. I always fell into the raft instead of outside it. You are suppose to stay on the outside ledge to be able to paddle. Once a guy fell back into the seat behind him. I have a video of that one, and once when we all were suppose to move to one side of the raft do it didn't flip the boys fell on each other. They said we did a level 5 rapid but I don't know how they rate them here. There was one rapid that was 5+ and we had to get out and walk along the rocks. We probably crawled the rocks for 40 minutes. It was a long long rapid and quite a few big holes and such. Anyways we get to the end and I'm so thirsty thank god they had fruits snacks and water for us there. We went back to the hostel and that was that. That night Jon and I went to get dinner at this recommended place. I had no idea what to expect. We get there, and no menus are to be found. Jon who speaks better and more confident Spanish asks for a menu and the man says we have chicken, beef, lasagna, or pasta. The man says it is 10,000 ( $5). So I order the chicken. He sais grilled fried or the type with ham and cheese inside. I say yum ham and cheese. Then he asks what type of sauce I want. I order plum. Try bring us appetizer of crackers and a salsa. Then bring us lemonade. Then bring plantains then brig us soup and re fill our dinks then bring another appetizer then we get our meals and then we get dessert o flan. And a mint with our bill. What an amazing meal for a dang good price. The rest of the night is quiet. I decide to stay an extra day to attend an event the hostel does every Tuesday. So I have to fill 2 days with activities , I decide to go to the waterfall with a group of people. We take the city bus about 30 minutes the the park and hike up. It's huge and where we swim in just under the bottom fall. It has a big swim hole and you can climb up the falls a bit too. We swim and lay in the sun to relax. After we decide instead of go back to town we should go the other direction and check out the little town the bus goes to so we do. We eat some meat. Ok it was more then some it was huge. So much beef pork and chicken. Yuka and potato too. I take. To go bag for dinner. We walk around its much bigger than I expected with a huge church a park and a market. The people all stare at us because I'm sure no tourists ever go there. Anyways we get on the bus back and the Irish dude begins joking with people. They are all staring at us so he just jokes with them. The whole bus is laughing and interacting with us it was a blast. I'm not going to lie about 50% of the people on the bus were not totally there. Not sure what goes on in that town but they were definitely weird. Un intelligible, drunk, or just weird. We had a little fun and laughed the whole way back. The boys even joked to one person i would come visit them at their house next year. What a blast.
Tejo was that night. It is like horse shoes but with steel disk ball things and instead of a stick a ring with explosives. Two teams closest to the ring gets a point. Hit explosive 3 points. You play to 11 or 23 or whatever. I was the best on my team, shocking, and I even blew up an explosive once. Only 4 or 5 people from the whole 24 people who went. That was really fun. It included a lot of beer too. Afterward I went with this brother and sister from Belgium, they spoke perfect Spanish and preferred to speak Spanish so it was good practice for me. We went to the town square bought some beers and say on the benches. This is what all the locals do in San Gil. Anyways we stayed there until about 1 am. We chatted with some local kids about music animals and whatever else I didn't understand. The next day I woke up as went to the beautiful town of barichoa. It has all white buildings and cobble stone roads. Very familiar for movies and tv shows to e made there. I wanted to go to this and farm and eat their famous steak with any sauce. So we hunted it down walked the streets asking locals for the shop, finally after walking through construction Zones and up a trail that looked as if it lead no where we arrived on the top of a hill. It coat 15$ to get appetizer drink the steal an dessert. Wow the steak taste amazing. It was a good cut. The ant sauce was tasty too but the fried ants on top were a bit creepy and too crunchy for my brain to be able to enjoy. I also had a fillet of fish and a yummy salad it was a good meal and felt good to have good food. Meat rice and potatoes are getting boring. Anyways after our meal we got a tour of the town and found they only eat the queen ants. Wow and every hill has 1 queen and they take it out once a year or something. The tour was in Spanish. We also saw their fish farm. For fish tanks in houses, their turtles and their little hotel place. It was very cute and had a beautiful view of the mountains in the distance. We returned by bus and relaxed in the Hott tub. I convinced Ina, the girl from the waterfall and the town to join me in santa Marta. So we left that night for the 13 hour bus. The only problem is we both had this idea that there was a bug going around the hostel, and starte to feel sick on the bus. Three people in her dorm had been vomiting and well that worried her which worried me. Eventually we both fell asleep and were in Santa Marta in no time.