Final sites/sights

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
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29
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Trip End Sep 06, 2012


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Flag of Colombia  , Huila,
Sunday, May 27, 2012

I slept slightly better, though had to resort to earplugs as someone nearby was playing music at full volume of rages. Also, at around 4 or 5am, I was woken up by some argument in the street - it sounded like it was very nearby and I think I may have heard 5 gunshots being fired. If that's not what it was, I don't know what else could make such a noise! Still, there was no blood outside in the morning, so I'm assuming it all ended well. After breakfast, I headed to the relatively nearby Alto de San Andrés archaeological site. I think I approached it via an unusual route as there was no signposting at all! Thankfully, it was high up enough that I could see it and head in the right direction. The walk was pretty strenuous but at least it was morning (around 9am) so nowhere near as hot as yesterday. I was still horribly hot and sweaty when I reached the top though :S There were about 5 tombs there, one of which was well-preserved in terms of paintings, and another was outside rather than underground, which was cool. I chatted to the guy and heard him speaking the indigenous language of hte Nasa/Paes over the radio. He told me that there had been loads of visitors in the last couple of days, but it's kind of eerie because I haven't seen any other foreigners at all! He showed me how to get down to the road so I could walk to the restaurants around the museums. The walk was pretty long but I passed one of the area's many picturesque rivers complete with bamboo bridge. The sun was high by the time I got to the museums. On the way there, I got chatting to a guy who works in the Refugio hostel. He suggested I come in the afternoon to use the pool - perfect! I'd been feeling like doing something relaxing. He invited me in to see it and even picked me a few oranges from their trees. Finding none of the nearby restaurants appealing, I went back to my hostel in San Andrés. Doña Marta made me another carb extravaganza, and a few hours later I walked back to El Refugio, arriving around 2pm. It was cloudy and not as hot but the pool was now filled with families and young kids - I felt kind of conned, as when I'd seen it, it was blissfully empty. Still, I went and sunbathed and people watched. One of the mums came over and started talking to me - very friendly. Finally, they all packed up and left around 4pm, at which point the hotel guy, Juan, came to talk to me. We talked about loads of things and I learnt a lot about Colombia from him - re indigenous communities he's worked with, politics etc. Apparently the Spanish called the Nasa group the Paes because whenever they encountered them, the indigenous people were saying 'Paes', which apparently means "the fleas/plague have arrived" - i.e. the Spanish! I swam a bit but it was a bit cold by now. Juan brought me a beer and some guava sweet. At the end, when I left around 5.30pm, he refused to charge. Upon my return to the hostel, I was saddened to learn that there was no food to be had. Just another of a series of shortages to be enjoyed in rural Colombia :D
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