|Mural on the side of the road in Aracataca|
Tim and his wife Cynthia run a hostel in their home called «The Gypsy Residence». He is from the Netherlands and she is from LA. Tim came here five years ago and leads Macondo-themed tours of Aracataca to people like me who wander off the beaten tourist path looking to know more about one of the greatest living writers of our time.
|The bicitaxi ride to the Gypsy Residence|
Immediately I understood why the kid was reaching so high; at well over 6 feet, Tim towers over the rest of town. He’s a hard sight to miss.
|The Aracataca Arena.
Me: «Why are there cows in the arena?»
Tim Buendia (shrugging): «Because the arena is empty and the grass needs to be cut».
|Tim Buendia in the old ice factory|
|Me on the bank of the Rio Aracataca. At this point I had no idea that I would be submerging most of my body in the river later that day. Notice how calm I look?|
|«Guaca» the kidnap survivor and his little friend. Glad you’re doing okay buddy. The ransom was worth it.|
Unless it’s too late. Tim recently wrote a farewell letter to Aracataca in his blog, seen here: https://blogs.elespectador.com/escenario-magico/ It’s in Spanish, so here’s the gist. Tim and Cynthia are struggling to keep the magic of Macondo alive. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is only one small museum here, built on the site of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ childhood home.
There are no tourist hotels aside from the Gypsy Residence, and all of the potential tourist draws are becoming overgrown with weeds. Tim has applied for countless grants and has been petitioning others to help him build Aracataca into a place where tourists want to be. As it was, I was the only tourist in the entire town for the two days I was there. As Tim says in his blog, he can’t possibly keep the tourism industry of the town alive all by himself. Especially with the addition of a new baby to the family, they cannot keep afloat in a town with zero marketing or infrastructure.