Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tom


Pilon de Azucar. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Within an hour of our arrival the only other inhabitants (a guy in a van and a Wayuu couple who sold us two beers... YIPPEEEEE) left.

And then Tom showed up to keep us company as the sun set. Yup, we named him.

Tom

The ocean was delightful. The wind made setting up the tent very exciting. And we shared our dinner with Tom, earning ourselves a loyal guard dog for the evening.

Really?

Much to Roel's dismay, Tom especially liked his KLiM suit.

Don't worry about the itching when you get into your suit tomorrow, Roel!

Bird's Eye view over the tent at 6am... BEST GUARD DOG EVER.

We spent the next morning playing in the ocean, playing with Tom and chatting with beach visitors and the Wayuu women who showed up to sell their woven wares. A full morning of sheer bliss.

Roel found the tear in my old tube.

Besties.

This couple came all the way across Colombia to see Pilon de Azucar.


Upon seeing our tent, one Wayuu woman asked:
"You stayed here last night? And nothing happened?"
That struck us as odd.
We were planning to stay for another night until a woman from Riohacha told us it was dangerous there and that the people of the village were good, but people from over the hill were bad and might mean to kidnap or rob us.
We typically don't scare off too easily, but we also like to listen to the locals and warning weighed on our minds:
-Kidnapping seemed a bit unlikely. But robbery, when dozens of people had seen our tent standing there all day and knew we would be the only ones out there that night... Now that was a thought that made us uneasy.
And from there, it was all downhill... if I'm uneasy, I'm not going to sleep. I was disappointed. Annoyed that we live in a world where it can't just be safe to sleep atop a cliff overlooking a beautiful bay. Angry, because I felt like we were giving into a fear-mongering society (the last kidnapping was years ago).

In under 12 hours, Tom became so loyal that he wouldn't even let me go on my trash pick-up/toilet walks alone. Like a gentleman, he always waited several feet away and turned his back so I would have privacy. It was pretty unreal and happened even when Roel was cooking/eating.

Yes, this has been one of the saddest moments of recent memory. Amazing how in 24 hours, Tom became family.

But the decision was made by our anxiety... we packed up and headed back towards town as the sun began to dip in the sky. By following more sandy paths we took a detour to another spot on the Peninsula, famous for sunset watching.


So, it's been a while since I have dropped my bike idiotically. (Crashing is another thing. I'm talking palm-to-helmet dropping. Gas stations. Stop signs. Parking lots. That kind of dropping. Don't pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about.)

Anyway, I may have neglected to mention that I dropped my bike in the sand on the way to Pilon de Azucar, yesterday. Roel has gotten better about remembering photos-before-picking-up. Dang-it/You're welcome.


Just as we rode into the parking lot of this overlook, I looked left to steer left and a large pebble came out of nowhere, attacked my front tire and caused me to drop my bike in front of all of the lovely people who had just arrived to appreciate the sunset. Awesome.
Twice in as many days. Great. And unlike the day before in the sand, this one added some scratches, AND my foot had gotten caught under my peg painfully. Roel, who to his credit rarely gets upset when I drop my bike, admonished me a little harshly for my carelessness. So, bike, body and ego hurt.
Just great.


Instead of enjoying the sunset, we picked up my bike, surveyed the damage and rode back over the trails to town.
While looking for a place to eat/sleep, a drunk driver crashed into the restaurant we were considering giving us perhaps not the greatest impression of this town. Eventually we ended up heading back towards a Kite Surfing outfit. By the time we got there, I was in full-on bad-mood-I-just-want-to-go-to-bed mode.

Nothing good ever happens in this mode.

In order to get through the gate of the school, we had to ride up over a 4inch wide stack of rocks on top of loose sand, over a shiny metal bar then down another loose stack of rocks over loose sand. I whined that I didn't want to do it. Roel said it was nothing. Really on any other day at any other time, it wouldn't have been anything more than just a loose sand challenge. Which, sometimes, I am able to rise above. But in this moment, it was my undoing.

So... this is when I dropped my bike for the third time in two days... in front of all of the kite school owner and all of the kiters we would be eating dinner and sharing the grounds with.

SUPER AWESOME. If I had never known mortification prior to this moment, we were on a first name basis now.

Roel parked the bikes in a dark area of the lot, far enough away from where all of the kiters were hanging out that they couldn't hear my muffled crying but not so far away that I couldn't hear them tell any and everyone who had not been in the immediate vicinity when I dropped my bike about what became a crash of epic proportions through their stories.

I'm not prone to homesickness or self-pity, but during every moment of that crying jag I was consumed by both. And it left me utterly exhausted.

Traveling is beautiful. Getting to wake up and do this every day is a gift. Even on days when I have to learn lessons the hard way, I could not be more grateful for this life I am living.

But it's not always pretty. It's not always comfortable. It's not always nice.

As my favorite Hallmark Card says: If there weren't ripples in the stream, we wouldn't have any rainbows.

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