Sunday, May 6, 2007

Entonces Que?

Now that it's been almost two weeks since returning, a lot of my trip feels a bit like a dream. I'm trying to find ways of connecting that part of my life and this part. So far I have been quite unsuccessful. Did the trip change me? Yes. How? I don't know. It wasn't as specific as i thought it would be. What I mean is, I suppose, is that it was just life I was living. I don't have tons of stories becasue I settled in and got used to the life that it took something extremely unique for me to deem it a "story". One thing's for sure, I have this strange feeling that I'll always travel... I think I caught the virus.

Ben's Comments on South America:
South America was such a wonderful place, however, sadly, it has such a negative light shed on it. Since it gave me so much, I feel compelled to give something back to it. Latin America is a very misunderstood place. It is rich with culture, wonderful people, and breath-taking beauty. It has it's share of problems, many countries are struggling quite a lot to stay organized, however there is so much potential. I was also constantly blown away at how safe the place was. I realize I only had 4 months there, but I did experience many different places and explored many parts of many cities. I am also aware of the invisible gringo-shield I had, but that also made me a target. It is such an amazing part of the world and I know I'll be back.

To all who followed my footsteps through South America at this amazing time of my life, thank you. It was always nice to read new posted comments. I hope you were all able to vicariously enjoy my crazy life.

To end.

I made a bit of a commitment to myself that I would make myself a resource to other travelers. Once I got going it all became so natural that I completely forgot how daunting a trip like this seems before departure. I don't have a single regret about taking this trip, and I think if you took a tour as well, you'd feel the same way. Entonces, if anyone ever wants help, hints, secrets, or even just a chat about travel, you are more than welcome to contact me:


El Ultimo Semana

I'm Home.

I got home April 24th, the day before my 19th birthday. However before I comment on the strangeness of being home, I'll elabourate on what I was up to for the last week of my trip.

Parque Tyrona was a blast. I just wish I had more time to spend there; lying on the beach doing nothing at all. I met a cool English girl there, Tara, and we headed to Cartagena.

Cartagena is a major port city in Colombia and was once the most important port as all of the plundered gold would be transported there by land then shipped to Spain. This made Cartagena a hot target for both Pirates and the English. The old city is completely walled in. The final defence set up, constructed in the early 1500's made Cartagena impregnable. All of the hostels are a few blocks from the city walls. The neighbourhood is swimming with prostitutes, coke dealers, and drug addicts; it's a ton of fun.

I spent most of my time in Cartagena just wandering the old city, enjoying the atmosphere. However, one day Tara and I took a day-trip to a mud volcano. We walked up the stairs on the side of the 15m volcano then hopped into the crater which was completely filled with mud. Once in, assorted Colombians laid us on our backs and stomachs and massaged us. When we got out, completely covered in mud, we headed down to the lake beside the volcano and Colombian women washed us.

Returning to Costa Rica ended up being somewhat of a mission. I had begun feeling a little ill when I was in Tyrona. By the time I left Cartagena, it was significantly worse. I arrived at the airport in Colombia at 5:00am on friday morning. A full 3 hours of dealing with customs, baggage check, departure tax, and the airline desk had exhausted me by the time I got on my plane. Once in Panama City, I immediately went to the bus station and barely made the 14 hr direct bus to San Jose. I arrived in the middle of the night and was then screwed by a cab driver. I could hardly believe the relief I felt when I finally got back to Chris and Luisa's house. I did end up puking twice, but I got a lot of good sleep.

On my final day in South America, Chris, his family, Melissa, and her mother, took me to a beautiful park with this amazing waterfall. I was still a hurtin' unit, but it was nice to be outside with the friends that gave me so much over the course of the trip.

I ended up spending the night in Miami due to complications with my connection flight. I stepped off the plane in Detroit at about 11am. It felt so good to be home.