I wasn’t kidding earlier when I mentioned that I felt like the universe was reading my mind and treating me very kindly. I’ve been passing the days exactly as I’ve wanted – eating delicious meals and enjoying good entertainment. There was also a very nice coincidence in my future plans that left me feeling overjoyed and confident that I was making the right decisions.
Fruits of the Sea
First there was lunch. It’s rather obvious that one would be able to eat a really good fish in a fishing village so I won’t get too carried away with this one. As my first order of business I sat down for lunch at one of the kiosks on the main street in Taganga. What made me so happy about this instance though was the ease with which everything occurred. Normally I have to troll around a town for at least an hour before finally committing to a restaurant. It’s that big of a deal to me. But in Taganga, I hadn’t even begun my search when I heard, “Mami, a la orden” and saw a plump Colombian woman beckoning me over to her restaurant. I caved quite easily today and sat down without even asking what she was serving. She presented me with a slab of freshly caught fish for the day, named her prices and I chose the snapper. This turned out to be the best fried fish I’ve tasted in quite some time. I think it could have been the best yet. I was hooked and decided to return again…and again.
After my third lunch of fried fish, I asked her about the arroz con camarones (rice with shrimp) that she had listed on her board. She explained that she rarely had shrimp but if I wanted it the next day for lunch, she would go buy some for me. Sweet! Now I felt like royalty, having lunches specially prepared for me. Sadly though, my happy food streak ended as the arroz con camarones was not up to par with the pescado frito. She mixed tomato sauce in with the rice which I found to be less than appetizing. I went back to pescado frito for the duration of my stay in Taganga, but it was still nice to experience the “regular” treatment.
Jammin’ With The Frenchies
After the sun set and I had thoroughly enjoyed my sunshine for the day, I spent the majority of my time in the terrace of my hostel. There I met a Cumbia band made up of French, Greek and Colombian people though all of them currently live in Paris. They were traveling around Colombia for a music festival and loved playing so much that they continued the jam sessions at the hostel. As fast as the rum was flowing there were woodwinds and percussion instruments passed about as one by one, the band members joined each other in playing. One of the guys even passed me a maraca at one point so I could join in as well. I got a kick out of this because I had also been idly thinking the other day about how I wish I could continue the piano lessons I started in Amsterdam while traveling around the road. I was even more tickled, when the Greek guy passed me the flute, the instrument I played as a child, to help me unlock any talent that may have been lying dormant all of these years. After five minutes, I realized that all talent had been gone for good with the only skill I had left was reading music and holding the instrument correctly. I started feeling sleepy long before the bandmates showed any signs of fatigue so I headed to bed, but with a big smile after briefly having the chance to relive my musical side.
Future Plans Take Hold
When I wasn’t enjoying the beaches, eating pescado frito, or rediscovering my lost musical talents, my life was business as usual, which meant a generous portion of the days spent writing up new posts, squaring away my health insurance and researching future travel plans.
As I mentioned in Travel Update Month 6, I decided that for my 30th birthday next July, I will go on the adventure of a lifetime and do the Mongol Rally, an incredibly obnoxious and silly road trip beginning in the U.K. and ending in Mongolia, all for the purpose of charity and making life a little more interesting.
The first step in getting started was of course getting a team together; as much as I love solo travel, I wasn’t about to make this trek with my lonesome. Since I wasn’t feeling any committed enthusiasm from my friends who I thought would be up for this kind of adventure, I decided to go looking for some strangers. It’s not a challenge right if you’re already pretty sure you’ll get along well with your teammates? This part was much easier than expected. I literally did a google search for “Mongol Rally 2013 teams” and one of the first sites that came up was the blog of a duo from Colorado. I felt immediately engaged by the writer and decided on a whim to e-mail these two nutjobs immediately to inquire about joining their team. Naturally I exercised a modest amount of caution and asked the post author if he was a serial killer before proceeding. He said, “No” and that seemed legitimate enough for me. I was sold.
We e-mailed and we Skyped. They liked me and I liked them, so it was all set. I even threw more caution to the wind and decided to book a trip out to Colorado to see what these two dudes were like in real life. I can imagine my mother’s face going white as I casually recall the details of how I found my team and that I’m going to visit them in September. But come on, I need to live a little. I think that with all of the stupid things I’ve done in my life and the fact that I’m still alive to speak of them, this means that God really wants me here on Earth to keep him entertained. So this should not be the slightest bit risky. The kicker in all of this though and what made me realize that this was definitely the right team to go with and the right place, time, etc., was finding out that some of my good friends from Amsterdam would just happen to be in Denver at the exact same time I would be. This was too perfect! I would not only get to meet my Mongol Rally teammates, but be able to catch up on the good times with my very dear friends from a city that holds a special place in my heart.
I was really enjoying this reassuring trend of everything going my way and I made sure to sing it from the rooftops because as with everything in the universe, balance also plays a role. I was sure this streak couldn’t last forever. Luckily, this streak only ended after I left Taganga which was one week later.