After leaving the airport I found myself in the bustling outskirts of Barranquilla. That was a heck of a ride. It was as I imagined a marketplace in Ancient Egypt, but there were cars. It was a one lane road and every vehicle imaginable was cruising on it. Nobody was following any sort of road rules either. None minute I was being break-checked by a donkey drawn carriage. The next I was being passed by a semi truck. There where bikes, tiny three wheel cars, motorcycles, horses, you name it, it was there.
|First shady stop.|
Today I experienced the biggest culture shock of my life! This place is not even close to what I imagined. Before I go off on a tangent about how different it is let me just name some of the things that stood out to me:
Wild dogs are EVERYWHERE, naked kids roaming the slums, massive piles of garbage, groups of people roaming through the massive piles of garbage, unpleasant smells worse than my cycling body odor, animal poop in the road, street vendors every 10 feet.
|Poor area in next to a flood pool.|
*Deep breath* Tiny shops as far as the eye can see, no drinking water to be found, litter literally everywhere, people are in every inch of the towns and suburbs, no privacy, poor hygiene, kids playing in puddles, kids playing with sticks, property stricken areas living in 10x10 foot homes, even a guy on a bike with a parrot on his head.
|Just one of the many areas littered with litter.|
Despite everything I just mentioned the people here are super friendly, and for the most part they appear to be extremely happy. Tons of people stopped and attempted to talk to me. Let's just say we didn't get far beyond "Hola, buenas dias". It's also apparent that there is a strong sense of community all around. People helping eachother load their carriages, sitting watch at the little fish stands together and playing soccer.
I was stopped by a man with smile from ear to ear plastered on his face. He only had one hand and only a few teeth. It was obvious that he was dirt poor. It looked like he had 4 or five kids. He stopped me and asked where I was going. After I told him the first thing he did was offer me some of his water. There was no running water here. There were large blue barrels in the road filled with water that ran water to the house through a hose. That was probably the only thing he could offer me and he didn't hesitate. It was moving to see this kind of generosity.
|The generous man and his family.|
|On the the very poor areas. Note the water barrels and the 10×10 foot homes.|
This did not even seem like the same planet. Absolutely mind blowing. Even after one day it has been a major eye opener.
|Biggest cactus I've ever seen.|
Loving it here! Will continue to keep you guys updated. In Santa Marta now, heading to Tayrona Park for a few days!
|A great spot for a break.|
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