After nearly a week with no guests I am more than ready for interaction with the outside world. I set off early, prepared to stay overnight but still unsure if its worth spending the taxi money getting up to the hostel with amazing views, only to have to leave first thing in the morning.
I question Paola persistently the night prior to give myself the best chance of a stress free day, she ensures me that people will be able to help me at Mama Toco, the bus stop from which I should take a motor taxi. After waiting in the wrong place for the bus (honestly Lucia, who is going to see you on a tight corner) I get soaked in the rain waiting for the next. Men in cars slow down with their mouths open to gawp out of the window, turning their heads back to the road just in time to clock the major collision warning sign on the bend.
Paola is right, people are more than ready to help me, snapping at my ankles like hungry dogs whilst I walk down the steps of the bus. A taxi drivers’ price drops by the second before he finally takes my word that I will only settle for a motor taxi and flags down any random guy on a bike, taking it upon himself to act as a third party to rip me off – talking over me whilst I attempt to bargain. I jump on and burn my leg on the engine.
My ability to make myself understood is small – perhaps it’s the high speed of which we are traveling on a motorbike, I don’t know. What I do understand has me questioning if I am headed to the right place, he asks why I am walking Porto Azul? Why alone? It is very very lejos. We stop somewhere random only thirty minutes later and he asks someone nearby, who looks at him puzzled. I try to argue with him that was not the one hour journey quoted for and I don’t want to pay him the overpriced 20 mill, but he doesn’t understand me so I just pay and start walking up hill.
It’s a road with high bushes either side so I can’t see any scenery…is this really the beautiful two hour walk I am supposed to be on? After too much time, with my bag drenched from the sweat of my back, I turn back and eventually find the path I should have taken. Fifteen minutes later I arrive at a waterfall, infested with local families so don’t stay long.
On route back I see a sign for a coffee farm and jungle trek 200 meters up the road. I ponder over the possibilities and then decide to take it as I actually haven’t been on any coffee visits in Colombia. The ridiculously steep incline has me turning back, before giving myself a pep talk and powering back uphill.
Once there I am told its 5 mill for the jungle and coffee farm trek, where you also might catch some birds. It’s extremely cheap but I question if I want to pay to walk. After practicing my Spanish with a local guy stitching up a bolsa de dormir, I pay the entrada and make my way up the jungle, mosquito haven path. After adding to my collection of lumps and bumps on my legs for some time, I pause as I hear a dog from above sussing me out. He crawls to get a better view and then begins barking territorially. I speak to him in a calm, friendly voice whilst frozen to my spot…it doesn’t win him around. A muscled torso comes into view, waving a blade through the overgrowth. He lowers to identify me and reveals some gorgeous eyes behind old frames which give him a Clark Kent sexiness.
‘He thinks you are a hunter’
I pretend that I wasn’t scared at all and climb up to his level for a better view; tanned skin, the perfect amount of stubble and low hanging fisherman pants that draw me straight to his v cuts.
We stand in the most beautiful setting chatting away and after a few puffs of a spliff it’s as if I have climbed outside of the world.
Have we been talking for ten minutes or five hours? It’s as if time had stopped. The mutual attraction is hanging in the fresh, green air of the jungle and eventually, he moves his body closer to mine so I can feel him.
I go all nervous and girly and he asks if he can kiss me. Our lips meet and I rub my hands over his impeccably toned body. His mouth makes his way down, my mind contemplates stopping him as anyone could walk by and I just met him – not to mention it’s not even 10.30 am. But then his mouth finds me, it feels wonderful. I find myself gripping onto a branch overhead…
I return to my shorts, just in time before another trekker greets us on his way past. We sit down amongst the trees, the earth and the bugs and wait for the Toucans. I have no idea how long we stayed there watching the colorful beaks hop from one tree to another. For most of it we were silent, with only the sounds of the inhabitants of the jungle going about their day. If bird watching was always like this, I might take it up.
I say I should go and Davide shows me out, pointing out armadillo caves and stones from the lost city on the way. He is a fascinating guy, who has once trained a monkey rescued from been tied up as a pet in a car dealership, how to survive in the wild before setting him free.
After some lunch I try contacting Aloha hostel, whilst a cute motor taxi guy works on persuading me to just take the risk and travel up there to ask. It’s one hour and will cost 25 mill to get there. They don’t have phone reception, so I get caught up in this young guys positive spirit (or sales technique) and hop on for a hilariously dangerous ride. We skid across thick mud and he invites me to wrap my arms tighter around his toned stomach (I know right!). I am shocked when he invites me to jump on the front and have a go, I let him do most of the twisting and control so we don’t end up face down in mud, but it was super fun.
CLOSED FOR PRIVATE EVENT
It is literally right there in black and white, but I go in to check anyway as the news will now cost me 50 mill. Michael takes me back, kindly offering me a discount (that’s not all he offers me). He tells me it has been his pleasure to take me, I am beautiful and funny and he would like to kiss me. I ask him his age and he tells me 23, when I tell him my years he assures me he doesn’t mind. I laugh it off and decline the offer to stay at his house and he drops me off for the collectivo – I might as well just head back to my hostel.
There are many people waiting and one guy asks me ‘Santa Marta?’ and gestures for me to sit down. Half an hour later people start loading into the mini van, so I follow. I see people handing over tickets and remark to the woman ‘no tengo’ who rudely tells me then I am not allowed on and it’s the last one. I follow her into the office telling her my last bus home from Mama Toca is in an hour, she tells me to wait for the guy. With my new spanish skills I then hear them conspiring to rip me off when I tell them my end destination. They offer to take me in a private taxi even though there was one space left on the bus. The driver of the combi spoils their plan, revealing that he has one seat on the bus so I jump on.
It feels like ages and I ask if Mama Toca is far, he tells me we have passed it (despite me clearly asking him to drop me there) and not to worry there will be a bus at the main stop. I am on the edge of my seat until we arrive and I see one of my white, blue and green buses in front of us. I run on and the driver tells me I missed the last one. I head back to the mini van angrily telling the driver who takes me back to Mama Toca gesturing to a big coach. I slam the door, gaining the attention of lots of taxi drivers who I abruptly tell I am in no way paying another taxi driver. The coach driver tells me he will take me for 15 mill (the bus that I have missed is just 6). Several drivers approach me in this time, I give them a stare of death and then completely avoid their attempts. With no choice, I go back to the driver and plead with him for a better price. I settle at 10 and board the bus at 7.20. No less than one hour and forty minutes and six vendor speeches later, the bus finally starts its engine for my fifteen minute journey home. Just in case I was starting to let go of my anger and allow myself to relax, an old man parks himself right next to me with an open bible and starts shouting verses, encouraging the others to clap and cheer in agreement. If I was a cartoon, you would see steam coming out of my ears. I then realize that not only will I have missed dinner but that the gate to the hostel will be locked. Five hours and 66 mill in transport just to get to my bed and I was now facing standing on the dark and dangerous street with a pack of angry dogs trying to shout the attention of Jose to come and let me in.
My day in Minca.