01.03.2013 - 01.03.2013
We have experienced many places on this journey where a person could easily duck under the radar for whatever reason for however long, no questions asked. Friday's adventures added a few more.
Barichara, a 30-minute drive from San Gil, is a town of 7000 filled with 200-year-old whitewashed buildings. It has the requisite shady town square, of course, and an 18th-century cathedral, of course. The streets, made of giant cobblestones, are in the process of being torn up for installation of pipes. The workers are being careful to keep the stones whole as they remove them, making for a time-consuming project. Residents seem to be primarily farmers, artists, and on this particular day, schoolchildren.
James our GPS man seemed to be enjoying an early happy hour, and landed us in some questionable locations. One was at the top of a dirt street heading out of San Gil. However, had James not been hitting the bottle, we would have missed a spectacular view. Photos soon on Facebook.
Guane is 10k from San Gil, and is truly a Twilight Zone experience. With the Jeep and dogs, we always attract some attention, but we were the afternoon's curiosity in Guane. We pulled into the square and said hello to a few town characters hanging out on the church steps. The town dogs greeted Sunny and Cricket--all very friendly--and there was a young cow wandering around beneath the basketball hoop. A man approached us and tried to convince us to drink some of his green concoction. No, gracias.
Upon entering the church, we were "greeted" by the equivalent of the Hunchback of ND with some sort of grunt. He was not pleased that we were in his church, so we left. Maybe we woke him from his siesta.
The square was lined with a tienda, a couple restaurants, a posada, a few art shops, and a retirement home. Very sleepy. The most action occurred when a young boy started herding the cow by kicking his soccer ball at the poor creature.
All in all, it was a cool experience. These folks seem to have a quiet existence surrounded by stunning scenery. They are happy for visitors, but I doubt that many if them want to leave.
Back on the road, James had really tied one on by this time. Instead of taking us back on the same (paved) road, he decided to introduce us to a cross country experience on a dirt road. Why not? We have a Jeep. However, after 8k or so, he was instructing us to take a non-existent road down the side of a cliff. Rather than spend the night wandering around farmers' roads on the ridge (we could see San Gil in the valley), we decided to cut our losses, go back to Barichara, and find the paved road. No prob. Again, thanks to James' imbibing, we saw things we would have missed otherwise.
Back in San Gil, we enjoyed one last evening, and said adiós to our new friends the next morning.