Thursday, 19 May 2016

San Andrés

San Andrés is an island in the caribbean sea closer to the coast of Nicaragua than Colombia, but is still part of Colombia. When I read about it, I didn't think about going there, because well how special could it be? It's just an island in the middle of nowhere. Sure, the beaches are probably nice, but I have already been on the caribbean coast of Mexico and I actually don't really like beaches because of the sand everywhere. So when I was asked if I want to join, I hesitated at first. But when it turned out almost all of us exchange students are going, I knew there was no way I would miss it.

 And I am really glad I decided so! To tell truth, it impressed me so much I am already thinking about which small island I could visit next. It is totally different being on a small island than being on a typical tourist destination crowded with people. I never in my life saw so many fishes, from as big as one finger to as big as both my hands combined. And in all of the colours and patterns possible. I even saw crabs on the ground, the biggest was as big as my hand. I quickly learned how to dive without alarming all these animals to hide - but they also seemed quite used to having some people swimming here.

It reminded me a little of the islands of Greece but way more beautiful. It's like here you can see the sealife that's already dead in the Mediterranean Sea. There were even what seemed to be "sea-flowers" in different colours (yellow, green, purple) and sea grapes. We were told the sea grapes are edible and they eat them in Europe, but I never heard of them before. They are really small and green, smaller than peas.

The people living in San Andres are mainly black and speak a language that's called "creole" and sounds a little bit like a mixture of english and spanish, but not than close I could understand anything. But most of the people speak both english and spanish anyway. And I soon found out that white people (like me) are really rare here and so everybody asked me where I am from and so on. But, fortunately, after I managed to get the worst sunburn I had in years, now they can't call me white anymore. I was already told, as long as I don't open my mouth I seem to be a latina.

But, because almost all of them were black, it was obvious we were not from here. And so, on our first day two officers wanted to profit from that. To get from one point to another on the island we decided to rent a golf car for all of us, they said it's fine and normal if all eight of us sit in the same car (I saw mopeds with four people on them so I thought as well it's fine). So the eight of us drove around all day on the island, and when we didn't know where to go we asked the police officers, because there were actually quite many of them all over the island. They were all really nice and helpful and told us the way. And at night, when driving home, suddenly the police showed up behind us and told us we are too many for the car. And they wanted to see the licence of our driver and even said they would take him to the police station. Then they decided a fine would be enough and we had to pay. And in the end suddenly it was okay that all of us drive home in the same car the same way we drove all day. So because we already paid for it, it's suddenly no problem? And why wasn't it a problem for the other police officers we encountered the whole day? Some might think we didn't really do anything wrong.

The sea was so warm, I always felt like it's the same temperature than outside. Which was fine on the first days because I had to make up for the missing warm water at my home in Ibagué. But still, a little colder would have been nice. But, this also ment we could go swimming in the night and it wasn't cold at all. And there was even a disco almost next to the beach that had the smokers balcony on the seaside with a small runway bridge to enjoy the night. All in all, it was really really beautiful and a new experience. And now I also know why everbody says the sea is more beautiful far from the mainland. If I could, I would go back at once.

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