My life in Cartagena

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October 21st 2009
Published: October 26th 2009
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Wow! What can I say?!?!
I was thinking that I would wait until I get a more "organized" life until I write about how my life here is... Haha, smart thinking, Annica - of course there is never going to be a routine in a country like this!

What is it like here, though?
I usually wake up before 6am (by now I think sleeping until 6h30 is to sleep in...), to escape some of the heat (already then it is 30-35 degrees C and around 75% humidity, although lately it has been a little bit cooler, wonder if it is going to stay) and then I go walking with Mariela, or go running by the bay, or sometimes take a "rumba" class (rumba means dance and party here in Colombia) next to the beach.
In the mornings I usually study Spanish. And I can tell you that my Spanish is improving so fast (haha, and at the same time as my Spanish gets better, my French seem to disappear...). Not only because of the clases (they are good for explaining a few things), but mostly because I almost exclusively meet Colombians and noone speaks English (or at least don't
Catamaran 2Catamaran 2Catamaran 2

When there is not enough wind for kite, there are other things to do... :o)
speak English to me!). Soon I will even be able to understand the Spanish in the street, the Spanish that goes so fast that the people don't even breath and that swallows half of the words...
In the afternoons I often go to the beach (swim, kite, other water activities), hang out with friends, explore a new place or relax before I go out to dance! I go out with a bunch of girls from my dance class sometimes - like 15 really good dancers going out to dance together - guess if we make a success on the dance floor!!!!????
Unfortunately the winds are not good lately, so I am actually thinking that I should go somewhere else... I will meditate on that for a while...
Sometimes I go on day trips and around twice a week to my voluntary work, and basically, you can tell, it is a great life ;o)

Of course nothing even becomes the way you plan it, and that is the beauty of this place! I have met some foreigners trying to set up businesses here and they tell me they beleive they went to hell, but that is not my problem, living here as a tourist/student is wonderful!

My running is not doing very good here, because it is simply too hot! One day it rained and it was less than 35 degrees so I jumped into my running clothes and thought that it was a great idea to run. Haha! I managed 25 minutes and then I had to stop! ;o)

I think I am getting used to life here, at least some things do not chock me anymore:
- salt is good on everything from sausages to bananas to mangos (my dad would love this country ;o)
- even though it is more than 40 degrees we always eat lots of warm food
- I drink coffee
- I actually froze during the night the last two nights and had to get a cover (even though I am sure it was not below 30 degrees...)
- My salsa is getting better and better (but it kills my hip and people don't dance like in Dirty Dancing Havana Nights - I look forward to experience Cali the capital of salsa)
- I know what fruit juices are the best and where to get them. Ah, I love it so much and don't know how to live without it!
- I love platanos and will probably be a regular at the African drugshop at our street in Gothenburg :o)
- I have learned not to call from my own cellphone - at every street corner people sell minutes for cellphones and that becomes always a lot cheaper than using your own phone, so I have adopted the local way of making calls. The only annoying thing is that you cannot screen your phonecalls - you never know who is calling you! Hihi!
- The buses are funny to take. You should stand anywhere the bus passes and wave to the bus when it comes, like you are asking it to slow down. Then you ignore whatever price the bus says and pays 1000COP and smile.
When you want to get up to stand up and say "Parada" and the bus will halt.
It is not hard to find the right bus since there is almost always a guy standing in the dorr yelling "Centro - Boca Grande" or wherever the bus is going.
- Unfortunately there is no IKEA here... :o( So when I feel I need some European influences, I go to Carrefour and savour all of the French labels - almost like home ;o) At least good enough!
Or I go to Alliance Francaise and watch a French movie.

Where I live: I live in a block called Manga and it is actually an island. We are four people in the house: me, Mariela and her son Federico and the lady who works in the house. The lady does everything from cooking to cleaning to washing clothes.
Manga is a very safe area and it is possible to walk here in the night without danger. And it is a very short taxi or bus-ride into the city center, or walk. And you can find everything here, from shops to shopping centre to banks to the Swedish consulate (sharing office with a restaurant.... hehe)

What do people eat? Always hot. The breakfast always contains eggs in some forms. My favorite is a mix of yellow fried platanos and eggs and some cheese (like mozarella) fried together. Delicious.
For lunch there is always soup and then chicken/meat/fish (and the fish is actually a whole fish with bones and head and everything) and rice (sometimes sweetened with cocoa water) and fried platanos and limona and a limonade with that.

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8th May 2010

Living in Cartagena
Finally a blog from someone living and not vacationing! :) I am moving to Cartagena in a month and having a heck of a time finding rentals. Your house situation sounds fantastic, how did you find that? Do you have any contacts I could use to try and find a rental for the rest of the year? Thanks!

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