We continued our land tour of Colombia by bus to Mompox, a colonial town that remains little changed by time. We explored all over by walking and on a boat tour on the Rio Magdalena. It was very interesting to see how life was lived along the river. It very much reminded us of India on the Ganges and Aleppo Backwater.
First we explored by walking all around Mompox and beyond. Though, admittedly, we didn’t find much beyond. This cemetery was amazing with its beautiful chapel, stacked graves, and 55 cats. Yes, I said 55 cats. And some of them were just born the day we visited or the night before and didn’t even have their eyes open yet. One kitten took a liking to Dave and I and was just begging to become a boat cat. But we held strong and just said no. A kindly street vendor even offered me a box to put the kitten in to take it home. It was super sweet and we will have pets again someday, but not on the boat. Someone must feed all these cats for them to breed so prolifically.
We walked all through the town (pictures in the gallery below) and stopped into this jewelry store where they make all their jewelry by hand right where we could watch. I love this! When I buy gifts for people, it almost always is from an artisan making the stuff while they sell it.
This little bird tried and tried to get into the building. It was cute, but a bit mental. We attempted to walk to the next town. It was a long muddy walk, but we never found anything that equated to a town. We saw some interesting sights and some sadly intense poverty. Peter from Milly was disheartened at the state of the land and the living conditions. Colombia needs to push an education program about reducing litter. In some places the garbage was just heaped.
All kinds of traffic passed us on the roads: rickshaws and motorbikes with passenger trailers used for taxis, motorcycles with entire families on one, mule carts and horse drawn carts (in video above), cars, and all sorts of homemade canoes and row boats on the river. The picture at the top of the page is a carved out tree canoe with a guy wearing a homemade headlamp that cracked me up.
The heat and humidity required us to make a beverage stop. Beer is cheaper than soda and maybe even water, so it was the natural choice, of course. At least it was cold. It wasn’t the cold that made Dave from Ka’ Pai pucker. Honestly, I’m not sure what that was about, but he made the picture much more entertaining.
Next, we took a river tour on the Rio Magdalena. I absolutely loved this as it was a chance to see life on the river for people as well as wildlife. In Mompox, there are stairs that lead down to the river, which was running very high because we received a lot of heavy rain the night before and most of the day. These stairs reminded Dave and I of the ghats in India. Everything happened on the steps of the Ganges River. Here too, people hung out, fished, swam, bathed, washed various items… The river seemed central to their lifestyle.
Multiple times we saw evidence of just how high the river was. This hut was totally flooded up to the seat on the chair. I don’t know what the purpose of these open sided huts are, but we’ve seen a lot of them.
Iguanas were everywhere by the river. Our guide was pointing them out until Dave said, “If I have to see another iguana, I’m going to throw up.” Haha! I liked each and every one of them. Some of them were very colorful with bold markings. Other seemed faded like material left out in the sun too long. On the way down river there were as many iguanas on the ground as in the trees, but on the way back up all the iguanas took to the trees. The guide said that they sleep in the trees because there is a fox that comes to eat them.
We left the main river and came upon areas completely grown over with waterlilies and grass. It was too bad the waterlilies were not in full bloom. That would have been incredible to see. The plants would wreak havoc on the outboard, so when he’d come up on them, he would gun it full throttle and get as much momentum as possible.
When it didn’t carry us through, he asked us to rock the boat side to side to wiggle it free. It worked. We returned just after dark, so we saw the sunset over the Magdalena and it was spectacular! I included a few pictures below. I found Mompox to be interesting and picturesque. I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Since most of our time in Santa Marta Marina was just normal day to day living, this is the end of my Colombia blogs. Now we are heading to Panama where I can’t blog, so I’ll post on Facebook whenever I can. Be well.