No, I am not going to Venezuela, though there are a lot of Venezuelan tv channels in my hotel room.
I have decided to leave Cartagena and try to discover what is Colombia. Cartagena, at least the part where I was staying, felt like Fisherman´s Warf in San Francisco. Everything geared towards the comfort of the tourists. However, the moment you leave through one of her bridges, you discover a different Cartagena. It is the Cartagena of the poor. Reminds me of the time when I went to Cabo San Lucas. We were taking a tour of the city and when the bus made a turn into a side street, the whole town looked quite different. With Cartagena, it is as if she got an ugly twin that she is hiding from the rest of us.
Well, so much for Cartagena. I decided to take a side trip to a small agricultural town called Valledupar. It is close to the Venezuela frontier and about 8 hours away from Cartagena. What is Valledupar famous is for its music called the Vallenato. Vallenato is forklore music that primarily uses the accordion. For me Valledupar is kind of like my childhood´s hometown. A town without pretense to show tourists anything but what it is. No myth, no dreams, just a work town. It would be as if I were in the middle of Nebraska.
Well, I can attest that travelling through this area of the country is quite safe. No, I have not been kidnapped. People are generally polite and friendly. I have learned a lot and wish Colombia well for her future. Although seeing bodyguards accompanying some groups make me wonder too as to how much this quiet time is due to the massive security presence.