Saturday, 15 August 2009

Carpugana & Sapzurro

Tolu had been a break in the journey to our next major destination: the border with Panama. Lured by the promise of beautiful beaches, we had to make our way to Turbo first. It's necessary to spend a night here, as the boats leave very early in the morning. Scouse Mike had warned us about the town. He'd said it was dodgy, and a shitty, shitty hole. Coming from a native of Liverpool, it doesn't bode well, does it? A long drive down a bumpy dirt road by private minibus didn't put us in the best of moods for our arrival, and Mike hadn't been lying. It looks like Toxteth if they'd dumped it next door to Fleetwood. And it smells worse than Fleetwood. When we surveyed the best of the hotels, it was a relief we'd be here just for a night.

After a disorganised boat boarding you won't see the like of outside of South America, we headed out of the harbour. I had tears in my eyes as we left Tolu behind. Not sadness, of course...more the acrid stench of diesel, sewage and stagnant water. El Gato laughed as we passed a couple of local boatmen bathing in the black liquid "Are they insane?". If you fell in here, you'd have more to worry about than drowning, that's for sure.

Our patience was further tested at the Coastguard station a mile out of Turbo. The boat was overloaded, and 2 people would have to get off. Back we went, the Colombians arguing amongst themselves as to who'd be the two unfortunate aforementioned. Luckily it was the people who bought their tickets last. The annoying thing was that, as we pulled up to the Coastguard for the second time, the same man just waved the boat on without doing a recount. Utter waste of time.

Sleepy Carpugana was reached 3 1/2 hours of arse-crunching boatride later. A picturesque enough place, but with a nightlife to almost rival that of Playa Blanca. Empty bars playing reggaeton surround the football pitch which makes up the centre of town, and it seems all there is to do here is sit outside a shop and drink beer. Josefina's seafood restaurant was a great place to eat, but once dinner was done...the vibe was sadly lacking. I had to laugh at the fact I'd spend my 39th birthday here in a few days' time. Rock and Roll it wasn't.

Carpugana was summed up by a conversation El Gato overheard from the trio in the next room.

Man 1 (knocking on door): "Are you asleep?"
Man 2: "No, are you?"
Man 1: "No...what are you doing, then?"
Man 2: "I'm drawing and listening to Iron Maiden."

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