We'll Be Back

Trip Start Apr 07, 2013
Trip End Apr 21, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  , Santa Marta,
Saturday, April 20, 2013

We're on a winning streak here: not only was our bus to Cartagena on time, it was also the nicest bus we've been on this entire trip. We had air conditioning and seats that didn't force our knees to our chins! We had a television and window shades! Ah, it was glorious! To top it off, the first movie we watched on the four hour trip was Life of Pi, which I've been dying to see since reading the book. The movie was good, but I'm extremely glad that I read the story first. There's just no way to fully convey the thoughts of a castaway on a theater screen. The movie held pretty closely to the book, but where the movie made 227 days at sea feel like 227 days at sea, the book was a constant stream of exciting thoughts, emotions and events. If you liked the movie, please read the book! I'd love to hear what you think of the ending once you've got all the details.

We pulled in to Cartagena this afternoon and checked into Hostel Marlin, which is literally next door to Mamallena. We've got just about the same room as before but for $20,000 COP less. Woohoo! This place is no Taj Mahal; the smallest room on a cruise ship is probably bigger and the only thing separating the bed from the toilet is a vinyl shower curtain. Sparks flew from the receptacle loosely flopping out of the wall when I plugged the TV in but...we have a TV! And our pillows don't feel like they're stuffed with round balls of clay, so there's that :)

As it's our last day in Cartagena and we were starving, we walked the Old Town in search of a nice restaurant. We finally settled on Peru Mar, specializing in Peruvian fare as the name suggests. I don't ever remember having a meal that good in Peru, so I think this might be a new and improved version :) Stomachs full of gigantic prawns and perfectly marinated sea bass, we got back on the streets. Thinking I'd already taken pictures of everything there was to see I intentionally left my camera in the room. D'oh! Not only did we find new streets to explore but the sunset made clouds over the city burn pink. This is truly an astounding city. Pictures would have been great, but unfortunately I've none to post. We strolled and strolled, stopping for ice cream here, coffee there. Towards the end we settled on a bench in a gorgeous plaza for some people watching. Eventually, two well-dressed young women approached us and said (with very heavy accents) "we couldn't help but hear that you speak English..." and out popped a tract. We were being witnessed to! Brittany and I were so excited we both jumped up from the bench, which surprised the sisters. It took a few tries to explain that we were Witnesses too, but they figured it out. How cool is that?!? After a nice conversation with them we were all smiles and feeling great. We walked along the outer stone wall and savored the breeze, taking in our last taste of the coast. We're both very glad we finished our stay here in Cartagena; it was the cherry on top of a varied and memorable vacation. I'm sure we'll be back. Now that I know how great Cartagena is the Panama to San Blas to Colombia sailing trip I've been pondering sounds like a done deal.

Our last stop before the hostel was the supermarket, where we bought about 20 candy bars to bring home. I'm sure you can imagine the look the cashier gave me :) I bet she thought to herself, "No wonder Americans are so stinking fat!" They're supposed to be gifts for the group back home, but we'll have to wait and see how many make it off the plane in Miami.

I was surprised by how expensive some things were and we definitely went over our budget, but at the end of the day we enjoyed a two week tour of a beautiful country for less than two thousand bucks, all in. How often does a person get to say that? Tomorrow we'll get up early for one last fresh juice and then catch a taxi for the airport. We're already bracing for the strip search...
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