After our time in San Gil we were ready to head north to the Caribbean and spend some time lounging on a beach, but not before earning it. We arrived in Santa Marta early in the morning and settled into a hostel near the main market area. At first glance the city was pretty terrible: smelled of urine and rotting garbage mixed with thick black car exhaust, noisy vehicles, sketchy people, etc. I had no interest in walking around so after inquiring into “La Ciudad Perdida” (the Lost City) five-day trek through the jungle, I decided to relax and read a book for the rest of the day.
Andrew went to the bank machine and for a little walk around our area. I had expected him to take longer but after 10 or 15 minutes he barged into the room panicking, with something tucked away in his shirt. At first I thought it was a mouse or a small rat, Andrew just mumbled that he had found it screaming on a sidewalk and could barely explain that no one seemed to care and someone made fun of him for picking it up! It was a TINY kitten. Couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 days old, with eyes still closed and one of them swollen to half the size of its head. Its hair was thick with dirt and smelled like human urine! Our hearts broke and we didn’t know what to do. Feeling like this kitten urgently needed some food, we left the hostel in search of a veterinarian. It took us far too long to find one but we eventually did after wandering through nasty smelly sweaty streets and market stands. We bought a container of kitten milk powder that you just add water to and a syringe we could use to try and feed him. We hurried back to the hostel and sterilized the syringe. Using a damp towel I cleaned the kitten as best I could while Andrew mixed some milk. It took some time to convince the kitten to eat from the syringe, but with patience we got the job done.
The bus to San Gil was pretty terrible; seats were uncomfortable and didn’t lean back very far, it was a bit too cold (air conditioning!!), the seat belts didn’t work and the road was insane. For eight hours, overnight. I looked out the window at one point a few hours in and found myself looking down a steep mountainside and endless switch back roads going down. We were just getting tossed around all night, but I did manage to get a little sleep somehow. We got into San Gill pretty early and found a place to stay at Hostel El Dorado after turning down the first two. Favio, the twenty-something owner, told us about what there is to do in the area (anything you can think of, pretty much) and got us settled in.
The second Colombia game (against the Ivory Coast) was on that day so we went out to a store down the street near the main square to buy some Colombia jerseys, and joined the hundred and something other people from the area to watch the game on the big screen in the main square. It was very fun, and loud!
To finish off their Mediterranean adventure, Mama & Papa Bean spent a few days exploring the wonderful London. God save the Queen!
Not to toot our own horns or anything, but we've got some really awesome photos. For a limited time (i.e. as long as the internet has yet to implode), we're sharing a collection of some of our personal favourites that we think will look darn good on your desktop backgrounds! Hooray!
Take a look in the slideshow below, or click here to download the full set in high resolution. Wow!
For instructions on adding them to your desktop background, click here.
To open photo slideshow in another window, click here.
The adventures of Mama & Papa Bean continue after their spectacular Mediterranean Cruise with a few days exploring the magical sinking island city of Venice. Enjoy! ~ Mandrew
In Venice, our plan was to take a free shuttle bus, then use a People Mover train to get us to a square where we would be able to get a vaporetto (water bus) to St. Mark’s Square (where our hotel was). Upon arrival, however, we found that there was no shuttle, so we walked a while (no biggie) and then caught the People Mover. At the vaporetto stop, we were told that there was a strike going on, so we might not be able to get a vaporetto. We bought our tickets anyway and after moving from one pier to another (it was quite confusing) we boarded a boat, but were informed that it would only take us as far as the Rialto Bridge (about halfway). So, we had to get off at the Rialto bridge and hoof it with our big suitcases – along narrow lanes and up and down bridges over canals. And to make things worse, we crossed over the big and hectic Rialto Bridge because I thought we were on the wrong side, only to find that we weren’t – so we had to cross it again! [Mandrew: unfortunately, I inherited my sense of direction from my dad].
After defeating Greece 3-0 and a closer win over the Ivory Coast at 2-1, Colombia gears up today to play Japan. In Colombia, “gearing up” means…
Loving Colombia so far! We arrived in Bogotá after a 16 hour journey, flying from Buenos Aires through Lima (and staying overnight in the airport). We landed fairly early in the day and were settled into Hostel Sue Candeleria in the La Candelaria district (the more touristy and unfortunately more sketchy area). It was federal election day and the day after Colombia's first World Cup win (and subsequent celebratory rioting) so Bogotá was a bit rowdy. We asked a couple of military guys at the airport if it was safe to hang out in Bogotá during the election and how things were going, and they just said “todo tranquilo, hay muchas policías en las calles, esta muy seguro” (everything is good, there are many police in the streets, it is very safe) – that sounded pretty good so we decided to go for a little walk around.
We intended to try and get to Plaza Bolívar (the main square) but never made it that far because the police had put up barricades, likely to stop people from gathering in crowds. We just wandered around La Museo de Oro (the Gold Museum) listening to the street music, watching the vendors selling all kinds of delicious fried or sugar-coated snacks and, of course, giving trying some of them a try. I had a version of the delicious Alfajor from Argentina (Argentina's version is a bazillion times better) – this one was just some plain crispy wafers with a bunch of dulce de leche (thick caramel sauce) in between, mmmmm. I had eaten most of it but had maybe three or four bites left when a happy looking (possibly homeless) guy asked me for some money. Instead, I gave him the rest and he happily thanked me and wandered away, dancing and singing. Things seemed OK in the streets; there were several police and military people just hanging around and patrolling everywhere, with their massive guns at their sides. While some people may find that comforting, I found it unnerving.
This next post from Mandrew's parents talks about the incredible experience they had on their 12 day Mediterranean cruise. Neither of us have been on a cruise before, but HOLY CRAP it sounds like they had an awesome time! The idea of packing all that action into such a short time blows our minds... we're pretty sure Mama Bean (Donna) somehow extracts her endurance from red wine. =) Enjoy!
Mandrew's beany parents recently had an incredible travel adventure of their own, and as they were sharing some of their fun stories with us during our last FaceTime chat, we thought it would be fun to have them put them down in writing for our blog. So, with no further ado, we present the first of their entries (and the first ever Two Bein' Chili guest post), Barcelona.
I'd like to present our latest video, a photo-based guide sharing some advice on how to best appreciate nature. I had a lot of fun putting this one together, looking over our vast and ever-growing collection of photos from our adventures in the wild. Hope you all enjoy! - Mandrew