Aracataca- (Pictures below)
Upon reaching the little village I was whisked by a bike taxi to his childhood home (see pics below) now converted to a museum and visiting place. The house was nothing extraordinary but full of old furniture, kitchen vessels, paintings, notebooks, diaries and mundane houseware all reeking of stories and secrets contained mostly in Marquez’s most famous novel. Later, our guide told us that his book was conceived in this very house and most of the characters like the memorable Ursula were all conceptualised inside these very walls.
In his novel the house itself was like a haunted creature with characters who lived into many generations, ate chaIk, and re-imagined the universe in gynormous ways. I remembered some excerpts from the book and tried to imagine it all happening inside this house. It was kind of surreal yet strangely comforting and real. I soon ventured outside to the garden and sat underneath a huge banyan tree that looked that it might have been there during Gabo’s childhood days. Soon I was surrounded by young children who insisted I take a photo with them.
After spending about a couple of hours I walked around the town and passed through shops appropriately named Macondo. A cemetario and post office caught my attention and I ended up taking ‘touristy’ pics. While having a milkshake at a little café the owner warned me not to flash my I phone and bag as there were petty thieves everywhere. Though I had been given multiple warnings about travelling alone in Colombia I never felt unsafe even once. There were the occasional stares here and there but not once did I feel threatened.
After my little tour of the township which is really tiny I decided to have lunch at this teeny café in the town square. The girl who served me the traditional lentil sopa or soup was a striking seventeen-year old beauty. Its not unusual to see Miss World type of beauties in Colombia but the ones you see in the country side are truly natural and gorgeous. I asked her if I can take a picture and she quickly covered her face with a towel implying no. I watched her as she moved tables and sold mobile sim cards on the side.
Her face reminded me again of the beautiful Regina a young Colombian girl in Marquez’s novel who spends her time eating chalk from the walls. This town did feel extraordinary and magical and the possibility of the strange and bizarre was highly likely.
I took many pictures and left the town feeling strangely uplifted and as the bus took me back to Santa Marta I closed my eyes thinking of all those dreamy characters. I had read this book when I was sixteen and got seduced by the world of MAGICO REALISMO where the fantastic mingles with the mundane! Later much later I felt my entire life was one big magic realistic cosmos!! Can’t believe I was in the same house which was the setting for the novel. Goooooosebumps:)