Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mud Volcano and Oncoming Storm



Dave, Sebastian, Mark and myself arrived at an absurd hour to a completely different Colombia to that I had seen before. It was what I imagine to be typically Caribbean. The population is overwhelmingly more of African descent, the climate hot and humid, palm trees and tropical plants abundant, colour everywhere, and an undeniably chilled out atmosphere ever pervading.

A couple of clicks down a random road we found a little sign advertising the volcan de lodo (mud volcano) and up a muddy path there it was - a circa 10m by 15m puddle of mud. To the front spread out the azul Caribbean, to either side beautiful vistas and all in all we were quite satisfied in a smug sort of way. This satisfaction turned into downright hilarity as we entered the pit. Mark entered first and the best way I can describe his reaction is a comic shriek of confusion and enjoyment. Jumping in next, my reaction followed suit. The reason for the lady like noises was that in the brown sludge you are neutrally buoyant. You can lie on your back, shove all your limbs in the air and just lie there. Alternatively and most oddly you can shove your legs down and just stand there. This is a bit disconcerting as the vulcan is probably very deep, but however much you breath in or out you just hang there. We did many similar and more silly things that the mud allowed us before doing what it is best for - lounging back mostly submerged and slowly baking in the sun. For a bit of added excitement you can lie over the sizable bubbling blurges of warm sulphurous gas that pop up from deep in the earth to the centre of the pit. Great fun!!!

After washing the stuff off in the Caribbean the afternoon was spent lounging and collapsing on a veranda looking out over the sea and chilling down to Caribbean pace.

This was followed by a severely less chilled few hours jumping around in cramped taxis as increasingly torrential rain turned roads in to rivers and soaked all my stuff through - quite fun really. We did eventually arrive in the little port of Tolu in time for some needed food off the street, a beer and then an interesting few hours watching the storm build and approach from the sea. Dave, Sebastian and I sat back in our hotel room and in very chilled out fashion watched and listened to this monster of a storm. Bright lightning and thunder that shook the building and many of its contents to a disconcerting degree moved from 45 seconds away to about 10. We were awaiting the inevitable when at the last minute it changed direction and we were spared having to put into action our contingency plan involving mattresses and hiding beneath them. Probably a damn good thing one thinks!!
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