Nuqui Has It’s Charm

4 Jan

It feels like the logic of just hanging around in a small town with nothing to do has started to pay off. If I had brought more money with me then no doubt I would have headed off to some of the more touristic places around here – seen the waterfalls at Guachalito, the thermal baths at Termales, checked out the surf at El Valle – but not having cash meant I stuck around in Nuqui. Here, there is very little to do other than drink coffee in the daytime, beer in the night, and take the odd stroll along the beach (when it isn’t raining that is).

Yesterday seemed to be the day when it all came together. To start off with I had to make sure I had someway of leaving Nuqui after the weekend. All the flights were booked which meant boat was the only option. As there is no discernible port here I presumed the guys who hang around the restaurant on the river might now. They pointed me in the direction of a house further up the river, the one with the wooden boat outside (every house had a wooden boat outside). So I went off walking, asking along the way for the owner of the boat to Buenaventura. Eventually I was told to go down a little mud road, kids playing in the street, clothes hung up outside the houses, lack of windows meaning you could see every little going on, until I got to the end of the street and saw a man sitting inside a wooden room. He was alone, but he had some papers on his laps. “Are you the owner of the boat to Buenaventura?” He was, and he was the funniest guy I had met so far. His name was Yiyo.

Somehow this small event, including the countless opportunities to practice my Spanish, made me feel more comfortable about being in Nuqui, feeling less like the only white guy in a town that was completely black. With renewed vigour I headed down to the beach for a walk around. After watching the kids try and swim across to a nearby island I started to walk back towards the town, only to be ushered towards a house by a gregarious, big-bellied, and quite loud, Colombian. For the next hour I sat with him, drinking aguardiente, looking out at the sea in front of us. His level of drunkenness ensured that our levels of Spanish were almost identical. After he had taken his fifth toilet break in the hour we spoke I decided that I needed fresh environs and headed back into town.

I sat writing at a bar/restaurant on the corner. Eventually a couple of guys I recognised from my hostel turned up and we sat drinking until about 9pm, which is when the town goes dead – the fact that Nuqui is not the most touristic of places seems to mean that everyone simply goes home at 9, maybe it’s when everyone’s favourite soap opera is on. To be fair, it’s also the time when the tiredness takes over, Nuqui’s climate of hot, humid, suffocating air proving too much to take.

If I was ever looking for an example of why having no plans is better than an itinerary yesterday would be it, a day spent doing very little and somehow finding out more about Nuqui than I could have imagined. Bring

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