Boiling alive in Santa Marta and an Extended Plan

Santa Marta is the kind of place where air conditioned is necessary, though a complete and rare luxury.

It’s the kind of place where you are guaranteed to wake up in a pool of sweat. Its the kind of place where your brain feels as if its boiling. Where productivity is made difficult due to fear of heat stroke.

Where no cold shower is cold enough. Where you sweat in the pool, and the moment you get out of the shower. Where no amount of ice water and ice cold beer can soothe you.

Santa Marta is home to La Brisa Loca Hostel. A mansion transformed into a backpackers paradise. With two levels of balconies and breezy rooftop terrace surrounding a swimming pool courtyard, movie room, a large fully stocked bar, a restaurant serving burgers and french fries, amazing breakfast burritos and much more.

A steaming hot black hole of sorts–a Hotel California. Many good backpackers have checked in only to overstay their expected visit by days or weeks and overspend, thanks to the hostel’s convienant tab system, and plentiful happy hours serving strong drinks.

La Brisa Loca, is the very spot I find myself happily stuck in for a few weeks. Being in the right place at the right time, I accepted a job as a bartender in exchange for a bed and 3 meals a day.

Four days a week, at around 30 hours, I serve up Club Colombia and Cuba Libres to thirsty travelers- of the Irish, English, Aussie, German, American, Chilean, Argentine, Colombian variety and more.

A notorious party hostel, La Brisa Loca attracts young people looking to have some fun in Santa Marta before or after departing for a Lost City trek or heading to Tayrona Park.

My life has somehow found a routine in the midst of this sweaty, rum soaked spot. Each day, I sleep as long as the morning heat will allow, grab my gratis breakfast, read, study Spanish, FaceTime with my family, before venturing out into the hot day for my daily smoothie fix from the street vender. Sometimes I stop at the ocean for a dip, sometimes I wander up and down Santa Marta’s gritty streets, in search of a good air-conditioned internet cafe, or a new ice cream place, or the perfect cheap dress–I have yet to find. And then on the weekends, which I was lucky enough to have off, I run away from the heat and party atmosphere to the nearby, and much cooler, quieter mountain towns… I think I may actually feel like I’m getting too old for the constant party scene (wait for my post on how extended travel is a lot like college).

Today I start volunteering with a local organization that gives kids from poor barrios a safe place to hang out after school. By the end of the week, I hope to have private Spanish lessons arranged.

I suppose things are almost starting to feel normal.

This will be my life until August 14, when I head southwest first to Bucaramanga/San Gill and then further southwest to Bogota. I intend to spend a couple weeks in Bogota (Spanish classes), before heading back to the coast where I’ll need to find a sail boat heading to Panama by early September- and be in San Jose, Costa Rica by Sept 20- so I can catch flight to visit home until Oct. 8…. And after that on the 9th of Oct- I’m off to Puerto Rico for 3 weeks before tackling the rest of Central America!

How’s that for an extended plan?

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