Friday, September 14, 2012

El Estrecho del Magdalena and the Town of Obando

I choose this picture because I look a little less old and a little less tubby
Day Siete of La Gran Aventura Colombiana continues with a somewhat, sort of, harrowing drive down the steep side of one side of the mountain and up the other. At the bottom of one cliff (each cliff, actually) is El Estrecho del Magdalena. This is a point where the Magdalena River briefly narrows ("el estrecho" meaning, "the narrows") on its journey northward through Colombia, to the distant Caribbean port of Barranquilla. (Purist's point: the river is travelling west to east at this point, in the general vicinity of San Agustín, soon to make a bend to begin its long northward trek).

From there, it was up the other sheer side of the valley. At the crest of the hill was the sad little town of Obando:
 Obando had an archaeological site that consisted of two tombs of the type that would be expected to have San Agustín-type statuary.  Sadly, for this town, its statuary was gone before it could be preserved. The golden contents of the tombs looted and the ceramics shattered.
The tombs of Obando
I don't mean this as a criticism -- I really don't because, when I criticize, there is no doubt about my intent -- but Obando reminded me of some hard luck towns in the States (see, e.g., the Iron Range of Nothern Minnesota) that desperately want to be tourist attractions.  The people are friendly.  Their motives are sincere.  But the sights ... well ... they just aren't all that ... interesting.
The Museo y Parque Arqueológico de Obando has an interesting diorama of Indian life, but the only reason to stop here is calm your nerves after the mountainside drive.  Well, that and the fact that Obando is known for its "cuy."

Obandicuy! Want some? Yummmmm.
What’s "cuy"? Look at the picture on the side of the building. Look what’s on the plate. Cuy.  Guinea pig.

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