When I left Cartagena I felt a bit “insecure” because of my limited Spanish skills. It was almost impossible to find people who speak English. That kind of helped me with the decision to sign up for Spanish lessons soon.
Several taxi rides and a long night bus ride were on my schedule to make it from Cartagena to Bucaramanga. My destination Bucaramanga is a city away from the “Gringo route”. When I woke up in the bus in the morning I was lucky to witness a beautiful sunset in the green mountains close to Bucaramanga. After the arrival in the transit station I took a big breath: No humidity and sweating all day long anymore. The air was fresh and the temperature was around 24 degrees Celsius. People at the station, the taxi driver and the staff at the hostel were very warm and friendly. A vibe which is present in the whole country. It seems like people know how to treat each other well, friendly and welcoming. And this was exactly what I appreciated with Jacobo, a guy from Venezuela I met at Fike Hostel. He and other people I know from Venezuela have this positive, life embracing attitude as well. We walked around Bucaramanga and talked about the problems in Venezuela, a country with wonderful people which is completely falling apart these days. You can say Jacobo is a refugee from the country he loves, with his family at home in an insecure and unstable environment. Meeting him as someone who has altruistic visions, who loves poetry and the arts was inspiring to me.
Bucaramanga isn’t the most spectacular city, but it felt real, authentic and has many city parks to enjoy. A couple of days later I was on the move again.
After two short flights and a bus ride I was in Salento. It is located in a juicy green mountain region with rainforests and the highest palm trees in the world. I met Joshue from Mexico and his girlfriend Daniela from Greece at the bus station. They live in Germany and as their common language they speak German together. We went on a tour in the rain forest at a property called Kasa Guadua (http://kasaguaduanaturalreserve.org). The cool thing about the tour was that Kasa Guadua is the life project of the owner and founder. He spoke with a lot of passion for it and you could feel that it is his creation, his mission and his heart which is in it. His aim is to show how the special ecosystem there functions and they try to restore and preserve it in a sustainable way. The project provides an example of contemporary lifestyle with minimum negative impact on the natural environment.
I was pretty impressed and decided to go back to Kasa Guadua a couple of days later to stay a night in a cabin in the rainforest. The cabins are called bio domes and parts of them are made of recycled plastic. I learned about the analogy of forests in different parts of the world and the societies living there. For example a forest in Europe is much more structured than a forest in Colombia which is wild and plants there communicate a lot. It’s a really interesting topic as it seems that our forests also shape our societies. It was really inspirational evening as I heard stories about people who changed their lives completely in order to pursue their visions to make their part of the world a better place.
On the other days I did a lot with the great people I met in Salento. We played a typical Colombian sports game together every evening. It’s called “El Tejo” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tejo_(sport)). We hiked in the Valle de Cocora and visited a coffee farm. A big thank you to Daniela, Joshue, Johan, Cheuk, Ruud, Anne, Nadia, Beth, Lee and Anna for a wonderful time in and around Salento.
I noticed that in my little diary I have with me, I concentrate more and more on the people I meet, the conversations we have and the moments we live together than on numbers like dates and times. Only when something of quality happens, I write it down.
I want to close this blog entry with a sentence from my host Carlos at Kasa Guadua. We talked about the difficulties of getting around well in a country with a different language. He brought it to the point and said in the western societies we quiet often concentrate on information too much. Everything is about information. But we tend to forget about the language of the heart and of feelings. To connect in kindness and emotionally with other people as the most important experience and the core of any interaction.
À la prochaine heure pile (2h, heure de Paris), MyAtlas sera coupé pour une durée de 15 minutes pour une maintenance.
Toute l'équipe vous remercie pour votre patience.