October 4, 2005

the emerald coast


Can´t say that I´ve ever had a birthday quite like this....I arrived yesterday in San Lorenzo, a coastal border town with Colombia. It was populated with slaves that escaped when their ship sank offshore a few hundred years ago. There was a train but no roads into the area until 5 years ago. It isn´t so mucho of a town as a disaster area. It didn´t have a war, or a natural disaster. It is just that poor. The buildings are half-built or crumbling. I have never seen anything so bleak.

I was starving from a long bus ride so went to a recommended ¨restaurant¨, an open cement block structure. The fish was better than I´d expected (the local specialty is coconut and hot chile sauce) and I ended up dancing salsa with the cook--a very friendly very black woman almost my size but twice my girth in curves...The table next to mine adopted me, ¨scandalized¨(their word) by my blue eyes. Among them was a couple cops--who have the weekend off in San Lorenzo (lucky them!)

And yes, the absence of cops does add up and it is considered a very dangerous city. So I danced out of there rather early, not pushing it, and spent a grim evening in the hotel--hot and buggy, enveloped in an old-fashioned mosquito net that so resembled a giant bourkha....I did my town visits in a flash this morning and already I am now a good ways down the coast...

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