Kindy Does South America 2008/2009 travel blog

Iglesia de Santa Barbara on Easter Sunday, next to la Casa Amarilla

Streets of Mompos on Easter Sunday



A withered old structure on the riverfront



White houses along the Alberrada, riverfront

Las Portales

Rio Magdalena

Las Portales

Las Portales- cross at end where slaves ran to achieve freedom






Church near Plaza del Mercado on the east side of town


Mompos from the Rio Magdalena















Today we woke up to Easter Sunday. Awwww, no easter egg hunt of bunny for me! Marianna said she was obliged to go to Easter Mass in the morning for fear that her mother would kill her, so all three of us dressed up in our Sunday best and headed to the Church adjacent to our hostal. It was the liveliest mass I ever saw! The priests were singing pop-like songs, clapping their hands and encouraging everyone to sing along. The interlude music was also rather jumpy and fun for Mass. But hey, we enjoyed it! After the hour long mass, the procession headed out into the streets. We took some pictures and then lingered back on another road to enjoy the different colourful designs etched into the road with flowers and dyed sawdust. The hostal owner Richard sat down with us a while to give us a lovely speech on the town's history- with the Masons (Simon Bolivar was a Mason and knew Masons in town who could help him recruit soldiers to lead a rebellion, which he did and successfully). He told us how the town prides itself on its religiousness but that this was only after a necolonial surge by the Spanish. On the Magdalena River, Mompos was the centre of a major commercial highway back in the day and had a lot of alcohol, prostitution and mixing of the races (they initially wanted to mix the indigenous and African slaves in Mompos hoping to get what they thought was the ideal worker- the strong build of the African with the knowledge of the Indigenous way of life). Slavery was alive for a long time in Mompos. Slave rings are still present in our dorm rooms. Richard pointed our one little alley way of colourful houses on the riverfront street that we had seen before and thought was charming. At one end is a large cross- it was explained to us that back in the time of slavery, slaves could try to win their freedom by running the entire length of the alley and touching the cross. Of course dozens of soldiers, police and others would batter any slave as they tried to run across. Very few made it while most died in the process. We took a few moments to appreciate our freedom when we revisted the site later that day.

Then we headed to our favourite little plaza to have some breakfast with toast, eggs, tinto, and cafe con leche before grabbing some fresh squeezed orange juice from the plaza vendor. We wandered the streets and plazas taking tons of pictures and headed to the town cemetery to revel in its colour and peace. The hostal owner Richard made arrangements for us to go on a boat ride through the swamps that afternoon, so we bought some of the fabulous silver jewelery that Mompos is famous for, had some delicious lunch at the wonderfully air-conditioned Dely Bross and then headed back to the hostal.

Tamara decided to take it easy so Mar and I headed out on the boat with 8 other tourists. We went through various swamps and canals passing local children skinny dipping to cool off, farms of cows and horses, tons of birds like herons, local fishermen and their children, until arriving at Pijino town. Mar and I took part in a quick dip in the laguna first but were surprised at the excruciatingly heat of the water- not a good cool off at all! We dried off and then headed into town to check out the sites and grab some snacks and refrescos. Mar stayed in the boat to relax. We then headed back to Mompos as the sun was coming down. Aaaa..

Well not ones to mess with a good thing, we headed back to Dely Bross for dinner in AC and wandered around the market a bit where locals eat at food stalls and children play next to the church. Very lively and beautiful and all felt really safe. Then decided to go to another bar in a charming plaza where we could sit on the patio and have beers without anyone bothering us. It was younger people and families so we figured we were safe. For a time. And then another drunk asshole in his 40s decided to come up and sit at our time and insist on buying us drinks. We begged the bartender not to bring us the drinks but he did anyone so I yelled at him for being such a dick and refused to tip. Soon enough, I paid the bill and we were saying goodbye to the drooling idiot that had ruined our nice evening once again. But we weren't giving up so we headed to Mompos' oldest bar, La Luna de Mompox. We sat on the patio and ordered our drinks but soon headed inside when it started to rain down hard. Some lovely gentleman gave up their seats so we could have a corner booth to ourselves and NO ONE BOTHERED US AT ALL!! It was great. We enjoyed our beers and the lack of water (it gets shut off in Mompos after 7 pm or so making the toilet situation rather unpleasant. Anyone heard of saving up a bucket of water to flush??? hello?) and headed home a little after midnight. We had determined that while Mompos was incredibly charming and steeped in history, we didn't need much more time there and arranged for a noon transfer to Taganga the next day.

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