Tierradentro

February 9, 2010

I woke up in the night to the sound of POURING rain. Torrential. Stupendous.

It was still pouring when I got up…Oofa. I did not want to stay another night in this dump, cheap as it was…

I walked to breakfast clinging to the sides of the buildings trying not to get wet. I wasted time. I watched the meat truck deliver several dead cows. I watched the dogs nonchalantly try to steal pieces of meat. I wondered why the cow’s head was just lying there on the sidewalk.  I wondered how long it would take before the meat went bad just hanging there. I wondered why there was a pile of cow skins on the sidewalk. I was too morbidly fascinated to take any pictures. Darn.

It got a little dryer around 10, so I decided to make a run for it.

(Turns out I was only 9 miles from my destination.)

!!

It was a beautiful ride.

Tierradentro is a place in Southern Colombia where unusual tombs have been discovered…turns out the practice, back in the day, was to not bury you once, but rather twice. First time, for 1-2 years, just enough time to rot the flesh off.  Then, when you were reduced to little more than compost, they placed your bones and all your riches in an urn, and placed you with a bunch of other in urns, well below the surface of the earth.   When the tomb was full, they covered all of you up and there you were.

But wait, the Spaniards came along, and so did the tomb raiders, and then  the practice became to  crack your urn, throw away your bones, and steal your treasures. If you are looking for any of your stuff you are missing in the afterlife, at least a goodly portion of it can be found in the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) in Bogota.

Funerary urns in the museum.

Ok, so the tourguide – cum – security guard tells me a tale.

The practice, still to this day, in the local indigenous culture, is for the man and woman to live together a whie before getting married. The point is to see if the female is fertile–and thus worthy of marriage. Wait, there’s more…

See the really tough and hard cow hide on this bed? It’s said that the woman truly loves you if she sleeps ont he bed with no complaint…

Ha! I told him Id never get married because I like a thick comfy mattress…

Well, I tour the museums, and then I am told its lunchtime. Come back in an hour…

OK, so I go and ecplore the lovely little town of San Andres a few km up the hill.

Outside the thatched cathedral was a fellow drying coffee beans…he was quite animated and gave me the full tour, even posing fr my pics…

I was told the best place to eat in town is the bamboo house…I took lots of pics because I was so impressed with the structure. (Sorry, Edward, I think I prefer this to the metal container we are talking about living in…)

After lunch, back down to the park, and the climb up the hillside to the tombs…

Local cows taqking the time to chew their cud and take in the  great view.

This was the deepest of the tombs…believe it or not,  I got vertigo and could not go down. It was supposedly the “best ” one too. Dang.

Back down the mountain…

Finished with my tour, I walk back up the street to “Ricos Jugos”, and order two fruit juices since I cannot decide between my two favorites–Lulo or Mora.

On the way  here I meet Marie-France and Brian, two moto travelers on an 1150 GSA. They’ve been on the road for a coule of years, and are full of great advice and good ideas. You can read their blog at www.2uprtw.com

Here we are getting to know each other and idly watching the juice place owner’s garndson play with his plastic bag…

She admonishes him when we laugh and say in English “you’d never see THAT in the United states”… (They’re from Canada)

We have dinner together that night. As it happens, my hotel room door opens into the dining room of the only eatery in town…it would have been hard to miss them!

xx

“Secure” parking at my hotel…

My humble hotel…

The next morning I ride up to the last of the tomb sites I will visit. (I opt out of the all-day hike up the other mountain)

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