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Tatacoa Desert, Colombia

The Tatacoa Desert is actually a dry, tropical forest. I wanted to include these landscapes in my third film. The story of our experiences, tips and tricks in the desert.

Désert Rouge
Red Desert of Tatacoa, Colombia

Adaptation


We arrived in the desert at dawn, having barely slept. But we were determined all the same to take advantage of the heat and, of course, of the hostel's swimming pool... Because after 11 days of intensive filming, we had every intention of taking at least half a day off. (yes, full days off are rare!). In the morning, we decide to go for a walk when it's not yet too hot to do so, our hostel is literally surrounded by magnificent orange-hued sand formations. Already, around 10am, it's too hot to do anything, so we stop for a glass of passion fruit juice to boost our energy. The plans finished, I feel that the rest will be well deserved! Then, everything goes exactly as we had planned: sunbathing, ''Tejo'' games, swimming and some fresh Club Colombia...


the observatory


We had heard of the observatories in the village and we didn't want to miss the opportunity to use the telescopes to observe the constellations in an environment like this! We're so far from the city, we'll see the stars perfectly. Obviously, entry to the premises does not begin until very late. Included with the possibility of using the telescopes, an excellent presentation on the starry sky by an astronomer. That's according to what Michaël told us, because to tell you the truth, my Spanish wasn't very good at the time, so I understood absolutely nothing of what Señor Rua said! Especially since it was a very precise and scientific vocabulary... On the other hand, I enjoyed looking at the ultra-powerful pointer that the guide used to point to us what he was explaining in the sky, it was quite special! After not having slept the day before... the hot and exhausting day... the few beers... lying on your back looking at the stars... listening to the melodious voice of Señor Rua speaking to us in Spanish... I had trouble staying awake. Besides, I had to nudge Cameron a couple of times because I heard him snore... to reassure us immediately ''that he found it really interesting, but that it was stronger than him! “The presentation over, I'm going to bed immediately, as I wanted to get up at dawn to catch the sunrise.


Lever du soleil sur le Désert de la Tatacoa
Sunrise over the Tatacoa Desert
Un nouvel ami dans le désert de la Tatacoa
A new friend at sunrise in the Tatacoa Desert

Idle time


We felt a bit more up for doing an activity today, and we had seen that some were offering tours in the desert on horseback! In Colombia and in South America in general, in small tourist villages like these, the houses of the inhabitants become businesses, that's how it works. Almost everyone offers the same thing, because all tourists are there for the same thing. Brief. We stop in front of the house/business/tourist agency that inspired us the most that day (with hindsight, probably the sun had hit us a little too much on the head...). The owner tells us that it's possible to leave today for a walk, that it won't be long and that he will be back. We are happy. It's around 10 a.m. We meet the owners' adorable little girl, chat a bit with the woman, an hour passes, we are still waiting. We decide to have a beer... An hour later, we start to get hungry, so we tell the lady that we are going to the restaurant next door... that if her husband comes back, to pick us up... It doesn't seem to stress her at all that her husband still hasn't returned, but one wonders what could be taking so long.

Believe it or not, we had time to have dinner, to come back to the business to have another beer and draw with little Valentina, to go back to the restaurant to ask the owner if he could sell us some Tejo targets, to come back to our inn looking for clothes to hide us from the sun and replenish our water supply... We were beginning to wonder if the man had understood our request. At the same time, we suspected that here, time probably did not progress in the same way as in town...

Around 2-3pm, the man finally came back with the horses! After a few instructions, we leave like cowboys in the desert. We really had an incredible time discovering another part of the desert, called the gray desert. It was a long walk of almost 4 hours round trip. To my regret, the heat is so oppressive that my camera can't stand the blow... the battery dies in no time. Despite everything I managed to take a few shots before that.


Des chevaux libres intrigués par nos montures
Free horses intrigued by my mount


Anecdotes: unforeseen situations


Coming back, I can tell you that since I'm not used to riding, I really hurt everywhere! My horse also felt it and was very careful not to go too fast on the hills and I very much appreciated his compassion. But no sooner have we returned than the police come to meet us! But what could we have done wrong? They ask me questions and with my very bad Spanish, I am not able to answer them or understand, I think he asks me my name, and I say: ''Mimi'', and they answer me, believing that I speak in English: ''Yes, you, you...!'' It's very embarrassing and very funny! Finally, the fact that I don't speak Spanish and look naïve saved the whole story and a big ticket to our guide! Apparently we were supposed to wear helmets, to protect ourselves, which we didn't do because our guide didn't offer them to us. In the end, all is well that ends well and we leave, everyone is happy.


Just before leaving the desert, three girls from France beg us to wait for them to share the transport to Villavieja. We accept, and a few minutes later, we hear a loud scream!

One of the French had not looked in her boot before putting her foot in it... she had been stung by a scorpion! In the desert, it's always a precaution to take (I had learned this trick in Australia because over there anything can kill you apparently). A Colombian tells her that she will be ok, because it was a big scorpion and not a small one! It is with wide frightened eyes that we leave the village, but satisfied with our adventures!


Cactus géants du Désert de la Tatacoa
Giant Cactuses of the Tatacoa Desert





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