So, I have decided I dislike backpacking. It is fun for about a week at a time and then moving around and different people get tiring. You miss the really cool person you met in the other town but who was flying back to Australia or flying to the US for another leg of their trip. I hate riding on buses especially with almost everything I own in areas where robberies are not uncommon. I prefer to fly or take a tourist bus. I also prefer to stay in one place for a longer time. Get to know the baker and grocery store owner and the guy that sells papayas and mangos.
So I am staying in Gautape on a work exchange at a hostel for a couple of weeks. Guatape is a gorgeous little town nestled into mountains on a huge reservoir that was created in the 1960s for power generation. It buried a town called I think El Penol under water. There is still a steeple under water that people apparently gather around in boats for an Easter service. There is a big rock with 740 steps to the top of the little tower on top with tourist shops on the top and bottom. There are wonderful views of the reservoir and surrounding villages and gorgeous houses.
There are waterfalls, hiking paths, great vistas, a monastery, lots of boating and kayaking, and a lot of tourist things to do on the weekends, such as party boats, little paddle boats shaped lie tractors with large plastic wheels, jet skis, private boat tours, touristy shops, and games, etc. During the week, however, there is a whole lot of nothing going on except backpackers going on treks and school kids running around at lunch and after school. I have been able to see a marching band and color gaurde practicing, a small wedding, people watching the same futball game at every tienda or restaurant, and since I am getting a bit of a rapport with a few locals I am practicing my Spanish more and I am taking Spanish lessons.
I even got asked for directions today. Though, when I asked for her to repeat where she wanted to go because I was somewhat dumfounded someone thought I would be able to provide directions and speak Spanish, she stopped. The sad part is I just was studying directions and might have been able to answer properly in Spanish but the man she was with was English speaking and she just deferred me to him sort of hiding behind him. Most people here just smile or if they know any English want to say hi to me in English. Occasionally I try to strike up a conversation with old ladies who are incredibly amused at my attempts and usually end up laughing in fits at me. It is kind of funny.
In other news I found out how to use a vpn to watch hulu. It feels much more normal sticking it out in one place, cooking dinner, going on hikes everyday, seeing familiar faces, and watching the sunset with a Colombian cerveza (beer).
Well here are the pictures!