Things didn’t turn out exactly as planned for our trip to the beach with John and Hannah.
We were all excited for our trip to Parque Tayrona – a national park on protected beaches located on Colombia’s caribbean coast – and had done ample research beforehand. Jake had reserved reasonably-priced lodging and we had read enough to know to hike in our own drinking water and to only swim at certain beaches (without rip tides).
In spite of our preparation, the trip was memorable for all the wrong reasons. First, it took us three forms of public transportation and an hour hike just to arrive at our cabins. Second, the place we’d reserved our cabins had lost our reservation, and Jake didn’t have the receipt, and the guy working there was a jerk to us (although we eventually worked it out – John and Hannah ended up in a room above the store, where they heard the television blare until about 11 p.m. each night). And third, our eco-cabin could be better described as window-shades hung from a thatched roof over a cement slab floor and a tube that pumped non-potable water (from a nearby stream, we think) for a shower.
Still, this “rustic” situation wouldn’t have bothered me as much if at one point in the weekend there hadn’t been a colony of ants marching through our room and over the bed. And I likely would have even tolerated that had I not gotten food poisoning / a bacteria on Friday night and spent it on my knees on that cement slab, hugging a very dirty toilet. From about 11 p.m. (when the electric generator was turned off) until about 4 a.m., I spent much of the night in that pose, while Jake hovered above me with a flashlight and a look on his face crossed between sorrow and disgust.
I’ll spare you the gory details.
Jake and I made it through the night and then spent much of Saturday sleeping, bathed in sweat and humidity that we couldn’t get rid of. We consoled ourselves that John and Hannah were hiking to the furthest beach and would find it indescribably beautiful, which would make up for the fact that John lost his wedding ring in the ocean the day before. And that we had taken them to a place with cement slabs and ant colonies in the room.
Jake and I finally made it out of bed around 1:00pm and decided to hike the 20 minutes to the swimmable beach so we could clean ourselves and wash away the bad memories in the ocean. We had to stop about six times along the way for me to catch my breath. I also had to go into child’s pose a few times, but we finally made it.
Afterwards, on the way back to our campsite, I realized that there were huge coconuts hanging from the palms above our heads. They sporadically fell like bullets to the sand from about 30 feet in the floor, crashing through the palm fronds on the way down. I thought to myself that this would do some serious damage if it fell on our heads. So I warned, “look out for falling coconuts!!!” as I slowly trudged behind Jake, fighting nausea. We both laughed, because you can’t really dodge a falling coconut… and it sounded ridiculous.
Highlights of the trip: Our pre-sickness beaching and post-sickness hike out; seeing a monkey, lots of colorful lizards, cute crabs digging holes in the sand, a capybara, and beautiful light shining down through the forest on our hike through the park (“Komorebi“); also confirmation that I have an incredibly patient and loving husband; and the moment when I re-packed my bags and left our little “nidito de asco” – our “little disgusting nest.”