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Published: September 28th 2015
Viviendo el sueño
I officially hate flying. Those two flights and that 9 HOUR LAYOVER in Bogota were harrowing. Why couldn't someone close the stinkin' airport doors?? It was in the middle of the night when I landed and it was arctic FREEZING! I never want to see Bogota again... But in stark contrast, in Cartagena, it feels like I'm in a dream. Not only am I in a place where I've wanted to visit for 3 years, but I feel an extra level of triumph because people once said I couldn't come here. "But there's FARC. What about the kidnappings in the past? What about the drugs?" Forget FARC! I'm here, the sun in blazing and I'm loving it! However, my Chilean friends are melting. They repeatedly ask me, "How are you not sweating more?" And I keep telling them, "Girls, I'm from Texas! This is nothing!" I'm here with my former host sister Priscilla (Picha) and her friend Carolina. We've been here for a few days and it has been PHENOMENAL. That's the best word to describe it.
I know that Picha took a risk inviting me. I could have been a total pastel!
She and I became real
friends last summer when I went back to Chile. The first time around we didn't really care for each other. When I went back last summer we went out together but Picha and Carolina still didn't know me that well. But inviting me was a great decision. This is turning out to be one of the best trips I've ever been on! Who knew!? In Colombia, we've been together day and night for days on end and no one's pullin' a crazy shrew. Zero drama. ¡Son tan buena onda!
We're completely on the same wavelength. No one is trying to wake anyone up at the butt crack of dawn. No one is sleeping in until 5. No one is griping or throwing fits. We're all active. We all like to walk, go out, meet new people, and soak up everything!
We did the Rumba en Chiva
, what some would call the "obnoxious party bus". I beg to differ. These buses are old, traditional, and full of all inclusive fun! For a little less than $20 USD, we rode around with a live band, picked up people, stopped at popular spots, got free arepas
, free drinks, partied on the historical
wall, and then went to a discoteca.
We bought instruments and played them loudly with the band. We danced on the chiva
, we danced off the chiva
, and the night offered cool breezes as we marveled at the breath taking sights of La Boca Grande. It was definitely a night to remember.
One of my favorite things about Cartagena with out a doubt are the beautiful, colorful streets. Picha, Carolina and I keep getting lost because all the streets are so picturesque that you can't tell one from another! They feel alive. During the day they are filled with local street vendors selling fresh fruit and savory treats. The street food is delicious and totally safe so we've definitely been taking advantage of that! For example, for $1 USD we got fresh agua de coco
in the actual coconut! We all sipped it as we sauntered down the street looking classy and fresh. At night the streets lend their life to the plazas, each one unique and bustling. There are horse drawn carriages offering tours which wind through sinuous avenues, whisking you underneath colonial balconies covered in lush vines. Suddenly there are tons of weddings in the cathedrals and
wedding processionals on the muro
(historical wall). The public can actually go into the cathedrals and sit in on the weddings! There are also bars, restaurants, artesanias
, and entertainment galore.
The restaurants and cafes that we've gone to have had some BOMB food! It's good and so much cheaper than in the U.S. At resturante
La Mulata I drank a fresh limonada de coco
and ate delectable ceviche
for only about $10 USD. We also scarfed three different ceviches
at the popular Cevicheria which included lobster, mussels, and octopus drenched in fresh lime and other unique but exquisite flavors. Yummm!!!!! And the best part is that I paid a fraction of the price I would have paid in the U.S! And let's not even talk about the coffee here... My best friend and her husband are coffee connoisseurs and they always rant and rave about the horrible quality of Starbucks coffee. I never really understood what they were talking about. To me coffee was coffee. But no. When Picha, Carolina and I sipped our first Colombian frozen coffee from Juan Valdez we knew we were ruined for life! I don't know how I'm ever going to have Starbucks again!!!
It was that delicious!
We've really enjoyed our hostel as well. They host salsa dance parties at night and offer free lessons. We met some Argentinians and this guy from Israel who looks like a young Barack Obama. *Thumbs up* Haha! I think that's a thing here, dancing in the hostels. Later we're going to stay at Hostel Media Luna which hosts a huge party every Wednesday night that everyone in Cartagena knows about. Can't wait!
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