Published: June 2nd 2011May 11th 2011
This morning we woke up & walked down the street to the square next to one of the cathedrals. It seems to be a hangout area for everyone & the guys that sell coffee are there. The coffee guys have several different thermoses filled with coffee, coffee with milk, coffee with sugar, etc. The craziest thing is that they serve the coffee in these teeny tiny plastic cups that you have to hold from the top otherwise you will burn your hands. Each cup costs about 35 cents but it's about 5 sips worth. So, we sat down on a bench right near the coffee guy so that we could buy refills as soon as we finished one tiny cup. It was nice to sit & watch the families walk their little kids, in uniforms, to school.
The police presence in this country is unreal. They are everywhere all the time. There is a cop on almost every corner of this city & they drive around on scooters, motorcycles, in these go cart like things, & in huge nice vans. I guess that it works though. It feels pretty safe everywhere.
So, today we walked all over Cartagena. We
walked all through the old town & along the wall that surrounds the city. We paid way too much money to go into a museum that is housed in the old dungeon. But, on the flip side, we got to go into a very well air conditioned museum elsewhere in old town that had all kinds of ancient jewelry & artifacts. We bought some food from a street vendor, of course, that was really tasty. He grilled up a chorizo & put it over plantain chips with shredded cheese & some tangy salsa. Yum. We also bought two glasses of fresh squeezed OJ from the vendor next to him. The oranges are so sweet & tart at the same time. So good. We breezed through a few touristy shops but mostly the ones who had AC. It's hot, of course. Old town is so sweet. It's an active working part of town but it's all housed in old Spanish colonial building with cobblestone streets. I love it.
We headed back to our hostel & ran into Daniel, who we dove with in Capurgana & he came to our hostel to give us copies of the pictures he took on
the dives. It's so nice that we get to have some pictures from our dives, even though we don't have a camera. It means a lot to us for sure! After that we needed food. So, we headed to a local place down the road & had a delicious "set lunch" that we shared. It was a huge serving so I'm glad we shared. It came with soup, salad, rice & very very garlicky chicken. Yummy! We reeked of garlic the rest of the afternoon.
We then walked all over town trying to get money out of an ATM without any luck. I even called our bank but they were no help. The girl I spoke with didn't even know that Colombia was a country. When I said we were in Colombia she asked me what country that was in. Yikes. So, we exchanged most of our remaining US dollars leftover from Panama. At least we'll have money for Playa Blanca this way, since there isn't an ATM or a bank or electricity out there.
The rest of the evening was spent sitting still mostly. It just gets too hot in the late afternoon to do much of
anything. Most everyone sits in hammocks or in chairs on their porch or hides inside from the heat. That's about all you can do. We did spend a little time on the computer as usual. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a bit of a curse having wifi & making the internet available everywhere. It's just too easy to get sucked in when it's right there to use.
Later that night we headed out again to check out this city at night since we've heard so much about the nightlife. We stopped for some shrimp ceviche (really like a shrimp cocktail) along the way from a street vendor. There were about 20-25 of these little shops set up on a busy street & they all sold ceviche. How do you decide which one to eat at? Why do they all sell the same thing? It was a little overwhelming. But, they love their ceviche here in Colombia. There are little kiosks on the streets everywhere selling it. Or guys with carts who wander around the city with a bucket full of it & cups to put it in. Our ceviche was really really good. We ate it on saltine
crackers. And of course, we had an Aguila beer with it.
There are definitely a lot of people out in the streets at night. By now it was around 10 & it wasn't crazy busy but it felt safe to be out & walking around. On our way back to our hostel we stopped in at a bar that was playing good music & the guys out front practically steered us in. We had a drink & were about to go when the owner told us we should stay & go with him & his friends to a half moon party at a rooftop bar down the street. We said, ok sounds good to us. We never go out at night, so why not? We ordered another drink & they gave us a shot of something when they were all taking shots. Then they closed up the bar & we headed down the street. The rooftop bar was super nice. There was a DJ blaring all kinds of different music. Salsa, rap, reggae, everything. It was so nice to see over the part of the city we were in & the breeze was super. We had a few drinks
& talked with a bunch of different people. It was super fun. When we decided to head home we figured it was probably midnight & we were old & tired. But it was 2am & that was why we were tired!
We bought a slice of pizza from the little pizza shop below the bar & headed home & straight to sleep. Well first I had to wash my feet. It sounds funny but I wash my feet probably 2-3 times a day. Walking in cities with flip flops = really disgusting feet. I can't sleep like that. Once my feet were clean again, I was off to sleepy town.
There are more photos below