Trip Start May 2006
28Trip End Aug 17, 2006
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Where I stayed
We really had nothing to do today and were waiting for the next day for another appointment. Fernando had been wanting a pool, so we found a hotel that had a pool. Nobody was using it and it only cost us $1.20 each to use it. This was not a pool at a fancy resort, let alone a pool at a motel 6
There was so little to do, I spent half an hour washing my clothes in the shower. FYI, for these several weeks of traveling I have 3 T-shirts, 3 boxers, and two pairs of shorts, and yes I wear them each multiple times before washing them.
That night I could not sleep so I looked out the window and saw I man in the street with a bag of electronics, phones I think. He could take a phone and throw against he street until it shattered. Apparently he was looking for some specific part. This lasted about an hour and reminded by of story Fernando told me. When he was 12, he could not sleep and looked out his window. At about 1 am in front of the house, two men confronted a police office. Without an argument one of them blew the copīs brains out all over a wall
The next morning we once again vainly searched for our own canoe, and decided to take a 5 minute boat ride across the river to Yondo, a village. The village was home to 3 oil drills, two of which were operational. They moved up and down, seemingly frictionless, slow and steady, with a puddle of black gold where the drill entered the earth. It was a little hard to believe that his superficially benign machine extracts the most valuable and probably worst commodity in the world.
Finally at 2, we went to La Tora and met Leonardo Arvila, communications director for the Program of Peace and Development of the Magdalena Medio. His office was on the highest floor of a 7 story building, only one building in town was taller. I do not want to go to thoroughly into what they do, for Spanish readers check out www.pdpmm.org. Essentially, with aid from the European Union they organize different educational, development, cultural, community, and peace projects in the area. Their leader, a priest, Francisco de Roux is famous throughout the country and arguably the most important person in the area. Their work, more than the govīt or other ngoīs seems to be effective
We gathered our bags, and boarded a motor boat bound for Puerto Wilches, a village about 40 minutes away. During the trip, I saw the first oil barge, heavily guarded of course. Almost all the oil is transported by land, but some is bound for the coast and eventual export. Puerto Wilches upon first impression seemed like a pleasant enough town. There is a rudimentary park near the port surrounded by small business of convenient stores and or course billiards. It was hard to believe such a quite town had not long ago been victimized by terrible violence. We had one name of a person to contact. Didnīt know who he was or where he lived, but he was our ticket into learning about the people and history of this humble town. While playing billiards, though it was obvious we werenīt from around here, we were pretty much ignored, so just going up to random people and trying to get them to talk about their lives and town wasnīt going to work.