Cartegena Independence Day

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
Trip End Jun 24, 2010

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Media Luna

Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, November 8, 2009

First impression off the bus, was it's hot.  Itīs damn hot.  Despite being on the coast Cartagena gets well into the 30s each day and it is humid to boot. The city is beautiful although we were staying in a bit of a dodgy area. The hostels were secure but the streets were not that nice. The fact that one of the Irish lads, Rosso, got bitten by a hooker that he snubbed as he walked down the road pretty much sums it up. Donīt panic parents, we were with big groups of people at all times and took taxis so luckily we didnīt have any problems.

We planned to do 2 days seeing the city and its famous old town then going on down the coast.  Well the first bit worked fine, we walked around the walled city, it has some charming back streets and good views of the old walls.  We also took a trip out to some mud baths that we had heard about.  It was an amazing experience, the mud 'baths' were actually just a pit in the top of a volcano that you were man-handled into.  The strangest thing was you were actually 2500m above solid ground, but you couldn't sink. Literally any position you get yourself into you will float, you can even sit crossed legged.  It was very relaxing, you got a massage as well if you wanted it.  At the end you had to go down to the edge of a lake where a group of old ladies basically strip you down and wash all the mud off.  As Jemma found out they tend to do it without warning which makes you jump straight into the water.

After the mud bath trip we kept hearing that in a couple of days there are celebrations for independence day and the Miss Cartagena contest.  We decided to stay, especially since so far our trip has lacked classic South american fiestas.  The next problem was working out what was happening when everyone seemed to have conflicting times and dates for events.  On the 3rd day we asked the hostel owner where the party was, his response was "Everywehere, there are fiestas all over".  Well we couldn't find them so instead we hung out in the plazas nearby and watched some gringo vs locals football. Tim decided to join in barefoot, which needless to say ended badly as the next day he had little to no skin left on the soles of his feet. Our plans to explore the city were out of the window for a bit. 

On the 4th day we heard there was a parade going through streets and that there would be lots of partying, so off we went, again, looking for the action.  This time we were not disappointed, the parade was huge, probably the best part of it was that everyone was buying large cans of foam and shooting anyone that looked clean. There was also paint, flour and water flying all around as well. Obviously gringos are their favourite target. Jemma got straight into the swing of things and started a running battle with a guy and his daughter, after getting coated at least 5 times we eventually made our first Colombian friends. It turned out the guy had just retired from the navy, he bought us a beer and we swapped email addresses despite our poor spanish. The parade itself was amazing with so many different outfits and bands playing, it is incredible that the dancers can keep going in the heat it was about 35 degrees.

Once the parade calmed down we went into the old town and danced the night away in front of live bands (while still fighting the locals with foam).  Jemma learnt some colombian dance moves from some friendly local ladies, it wasn't until their pimp propositioned one of the guys
who was with us that we realised they were all hookers. It was definitely our biggest party day so far.

The next day was the Miss Colombia celebration. The contestants are real celebrities and there was another huge parade and of course more foam etc. The morning after we managed to finally drag ourselves away from Catragena and off to Taganga for some relaxation.
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Dad N Deb on

WOW WOW WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are just having too much fun. It all looks and sounds fantastic. How much did the bite cost ? Missing you like mad, keep living the dream guys. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jem on

It was free as far as we know...

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