Friday, November 25, 2011 - Day 5 Ė Santa Marta, Colombia
Like most on the bus I choose the city tour, since in addition to the
folkloric dance, we will see the main cathedral in town as well as the Gold
Museum. Our first stop is the Irotama Beach Resort, which is 20 minutes out of
town near a resort area. They have a beautiful beach, and offer us refreshments
before the show starts. I choose a Colombian beer, which tastes very nice as I
sip it under the palm trees. The folkloric dancers look quite similar to the
ones I previously saw in Costa Rica and Martinique, but the young dancers do a
great job. Apparently all Colombian children learn three folkloric dances when
they are in school.
Our final stop of the day is the botanical gardens. We see lots of native flora and fauna, include the obligatory iguanas in the trees, butterflies, and there are several monuments to Simon Bolivar. Our guide shows us an old sugar cane plantation home where Simon Bolivar died, including the actual bedroom with original furniture. I learned about Simon Bolivar in grade school, but didnít appreciate how much the people in Central and South American countries revere him. He was someone who bucked the system and believed in people power.
Our guide has some interesting things to say about Columbia and the reputation
the country has with the drug trade. He feels the major cities are safe for
citizens to go about their business and for tourists, and illustrates the point
by asking us a question. What are the two major industries of Medellin?
The obvious answer is Drugs, but the real answer is:
Shipping tropical flowers to the United States, and being a centre of excellence for plastic
surgery! He tells an interesting story on the second point. Apparently the
two largest markets for plastic surgery in Medellin are women from the United States and
Brazil. Another major market are young Colombian women who want breast implants.
Apparently they often get their parents to pay for the surgery!
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