Hotel-less in Cartagena

Trip Start Jul 01, 2011
Trip End Jul 21, 2012

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Where I stayed
Casa Del Mango

Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, February 3, 2012

Yesterday when we checked into Casa Del Mango after midnight we were too tired to argue about it, but this hotel room is one of the worst ones we've had since the beginning of the journey. Similar to a beach cabaņa, the place has an "open air" design that allows air flow to cool down the space a little and make up for the absence of air conditioning. The big difference is that we are not at the beach but in the middle of a large city, so we were kept awake by loud TVs and various nocturnal sounds (some familiar, other mysterious). This is a euphemism to say that we are exhausted and feeling very crabby. And then there's the lack of mosquito nets (there are a few... with gaping holes). And the layer of black dirt on the bathroom sink. And the bad plumbing. And the spongy bed that leaves me looking like a hunchback. If we were in a youth hostel paying $30 per night this would be fine but Casa Del Mango is supposed to be a 'boutique hotel' and we're paying about $100 per night (and a 'pet cleaning fee' which seems ludicrous considering that the room was dirty when we moved in). Not cool. After we gulp our breakfast Mai's long face practically drags on the floor so I affirm with resolve: "Stay here and rest. I'll find us another hotel."

Armed with a list of accomodations and a map of Cartagena, I walk through the old town as the heat and humidity slowly increase from bearable to suffocating. The first hotel seems fine but it's located in a busy shopping area. I ask if things get calmer at night: "Yes it gets better when the stores close" says the girl, "but then the night club opens... and they don't close until the morning." Next: too small. Next: too dark. Next: closed. Next: doesn't accept dogs. Next: I waive at the girl at the lobby ; she fetches the key and opens the large metal gate that shields the Patio de Getsemani from whatever may happen in the street. The hotel is clean ; the rooms are modern, with air conditioning and comfortable beds. There's even a green space across the street to walk the dogs along the fortified walls of the old citadel. Paradise! Ironically the price is 30% cheaper than the crappy place we're staying at. I wave my magic wand in front of the girl's eyes and convince her to accept the dogs. In a swipe of credit card we're booked. Back at Casa Del Mango, all the suitcases are packed. I walk out the door carrying the first two. The owner picks up her phone and calls Marcus (the German/French/American/Colombian man who arranged for us to stay here). "They're leaving!" she cries in Spanish. Damn right we are. The other customers are backpackers and I doubt that they are paying the same price we are.

Mai and I let out a big sigh and hug each other as we finally rest in the climate-controlled and quiet air of our room at Patio de Getsemani. The dogs fall asleep instantly. So do the humans.
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cedric.brehaut on

Epilogue: Marcus is a reasonable guy so we end-up getting our money back for the nights we had paid in advance.

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