Thursday, October 7, 2010

La Guajira: The Land of Death and Dreams

After a few days relaxing in Santa Marta we moved on to Riohacha, a new city for Miles. Riohacha is the capital of the northernmost state of Colombia, La Guajira: Land of Death and Dreams. How could we not visit an area with such an enticing moniker! Our plan was to rent motorcycles and head into this “most mysterious place in Colombia” with nothing but the bags on our backs. Ah, how na├»ve we were.

As our Jeep was expertly steered by our local driver through a cacti forest between the paved road and our coastal destination of Cabo de la Vela, we were exceedingly grateful that motorcycles had not been available in Riohacha. It had been raining all night and the mud and water had collected to the point that we were fording rivers, fishtailing across muddy flats, and gripping the seats to keep from slamming our heads into the ceiling as the Jeep bumped along.

Disappointed by our inability to rent a vehicle and drive ourselves, I was at least mollified by the excitement of this drive. The coast itself was quiet, fairly deserted, and beautiful despite the storms. We finally got to swim, ate delicious fresh seafood, slept in hammocks, and cemented the plan to return at a time of year when the weather is more conducive to exploring the interior. Our time in Guajira was completed with the purchase of traditional hats from the Wayuu people who inhabit the area and with their different dress, features and language make it feel as if you really have entered another land.

Note: La Guajira will have to remain mysterious as I forgot my camera battery . . . but please, admire my Wayuu hat :)

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