San Andrés

So this was it. Time to head to San Andrés my last destination. It felt a little bittersweet. I was excited to visit there, my first Caribbean island, but I was also heading home and right now I was done with travelling. I had completed my journey and I kinda knew that when I crossed the border into Colombia 5 weeks earlier and when I’d reached Cartagena I knew it was over. I was sad to be leaving too and I finally understood how the Irish guys were feeling in Buenos Aires. Yes I could afford to spend more but really now I was just counting down the days until I had to fly back to London. Not really with excitement anymore, I admit there was a time when I had, but at this stage all I wanted was a Sausage and Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s and a decent Ham sandwich.

I’d had a good inning. 312 days, 8 countries, 18 flights, hundreds of bus journey and hostels and hundreds of kilometres travelled and hiked. At one point I was going to add up all the statistics but I realised when I was here I didn’t really care anymore. I’m not sure how others feel but I think it gets to that extent. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I had no home in London, I don’t feel that I belong where my parents live but also I felt less connection with the UK. It’s weird but I’ve felt just because I happen to be born in the same country as someone doesn’t mean I have to feel anything in common with them. Obviously the concept of countries is arbitrary. But if anyone attacks it, and I’ll always admit the imperfections, I’ll defend it to the end!

As usual I’ve digressed. But as I said in the last post there isn’t a big crescendo when you go home. Some people don’t and I was slightly sad I hadn’t found a reason to stay. But I had. And I knew I had to leave so that I could find a way to return. It’s just that it felt daunting and I was tired. I wanted to sleep, go home and eat cheese.

So I woke up in the morning and killed time at the hostel until it was time to fly. I jumped in the taxi, checked in at the airport and was happy to discover that there was a Subway so I helped myself to another. The flight was fairly uneventful, largely because I left all my items in my bag and then forgot exactly where I had stowed it so I had no music to listen to and nothing to read. Anyways i was soon at the airport the other side and I walked past the taxis, all of whom said that I wouldn’t get my bags on a bus, and waited where I thought the busses might come. I asked a guy who said this was the right place but I really wasn’t sure. But a bus did come past and I jumped on hoping it would go where I needed it to. Alas I did and I was soon at the hostel.

The hostel was really friendly and as I was checking in the guy was talking a lot about diving. After my snorkelling I considered doing it but really all I wanted to do was sit on my ass on the beach but that wasn’t to happen. I had wanted to book private rooms but all of them were expensive and none of them looked great so I had decided to spend two nights at this hostel and see what happened but it was so friendly I decided to stay for the duration.

Everyone seemed to have brought food but I was still eating out. The hostel owner told me about a burger cart around the corner but I didn’t really want one having had two the day before. As there was nowhere else to go and I opted for a random assortment of fried meat and vegetables which might have been why I didn’t eat a decent meal for the next few days.

I woke up the next day at a little of a loss as to what to do. I sat having breakfast with the Geordie guy and Irish Guy I’d met the night before. Sorry but I’m way past using people’s names now. The hostel manager came up to us and told us that some girls from the hostel had hired a gold buggy and were going on a tour of the island, so the six of us split the costs and jumped in. First stop was the beach so off we went.

One of the best parts of the day was when we suggested to the American girl who was drinking that she should beep the horn more and it was stuck on for a good few minutes before we worked out how to turn it off. You probably had to be there but it was pretty funny. Especially the reactions of the locals. Anyways I’ve rambled enough. Check out the beach!

The island had the vibe of Iquitos, which is essentially an island. There were lots of bikes, no cycle helmets and lots of noise.

We headed up to the top of the island to visit the only non-Catholic church in South America and after a short introduction video and purchasing yet another hat as I’d lost mine yet again we climbed up to the top of the tower. Crazily the stairs were so scary this was one of the most perilous climbs I’d done. But it was worth it for the photos.

After we went on a proper tour of the island. It’s only around 30km to drive around it so it’s easy done in a day. We found a place to snorkel and I got to feed some fish and take a water slide into the sea. I forgot how much I hate salt water, I have a tendency to drink any water I’m submerged in and salt water is my least favourite next to swimming pools.

After we took a larger tour of the island and stopped off at a few beaches as the sun started going down.

The guys went for another dip in the sea but I decided to photograph some crabs as the sun went down.

We had one more stop to head to watch the sun set. Being a Tuesday eve throng closed but we were treated to this beautiful view.

We returned to the hostel and sat chatting with everyone, it was a really friendly hostel and I had an early night.

I had decided not to go diving. I didn’t want to spend the money and I was happy doing nothing. A couple of the girls from the day before invited us to the beach but the Geordie guy and I needed to go into town first. We did that and wasted the morning away before heading to the beach. I got us to jump on the first bus which took us pretty much everywhere around the island but where we actually wanted to go. The bus driver dropped a off and we decided to walk across the island to the beach. Luckily on the way we were picked up by another bus and made it to the beach.

By this point our friends had gone but we met some others from the hostel, it’s a small island, and sought shelter in a restaurant during a storm. I also made a new friend.

We stayed until dark and then had one more relaxed night at the hostel.

On my last day I decided I wanted to spend it at the beach. A few of us headed back to the restaurant for the day and I sat reading my book and having drinks. This was my view for the day.

And this was my lunch.

After a day on the beach i managed to spend a night playing video games and watching Netflix with a few guy from the hostel which was amazing.

The next day i took a taxi with the Canadian girl from the hostel to the airport. It was time to return to Bogata for my flight to London the following day.

The flight was uneventful other than we had to circle over Bogata and were nearly redirected to Medellin as he plane was running out of fuel. But it wasn’t.

I’d hired an Air BnB as a test for my last night. Angela came and met me at the airport and we had a fun night going for Chinese. I had two drinks and was so tired I wanted to go to bed so I called an early night.

The next day i spent watching TV and getting ready for the flight. I found a supermarket which had decent cheese, ham and bread which was amazing but did make a return to the UK even more pointless. And then it was time to head to the airport alone. I arrived had a burger, checked in and waited for my delayed flight. Then is was time to board and I took off leaving the continent of South America for the second time in 10 months.

I wasn’t sad. I was excited for many reasons I won’t explain here. But I’ve managed to complete this blog, in a half arsed way, but I never do anything properly and that won’t change. But I’d completed everything I set out to do. And i had a new mission. To return to the continent that has changed me in ways that i can never explain. I had left a part of me in South America, somewhere in the mountains and I know one day soon I’m going to find a way to come back and claim it. And put very simply “and that’s it”.

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