My last post from Cartagena was a bit abbreviated, as I couldn’t seem to find enough time to write like I wanted to. But here I am again on another bus and the perfect opportunity to sort out my thoughts and activities during this five hour ride.
My main thought right now is “I’m freezing!!” Why is it that people seem to believe that any time AC is an option it must be set to replicate Arctic conditions? I vehemently disagree, but seem to be the only one who would appreciate a more moderate touch with the temperature controls… Well, on the bright side, I think I read of a study recently that concluded that being cold could help keep a person slim (I’m paraphrasing) so I guess I should be thankful for this chance to shiver off a bit more of my croissant-cushion I’m still carrying from Europe.
Air conditioning gripes aside, I really quite like the climate here on the Colombian coast. It’s hot and humid, which makes me feel like I’m on vacation and I’m automatically inclined to enjoy that despite understanding being sweaty half the day is kinda gross. I noticed a fun illustration of how hot it is here the other day when I caught sight of a cat sleeping on an ice cream freezer… Aren’t cats known for finding the warm sunny spots and heat sources to snooze on? Not in Cartagena! (I posted a picture of this already, if you want to see it check out my Instagram )
The cat and I were both at Castillo San Felipe, a massive imposing complex built first in 1536 and expanded in 1657 and again in 1763 to protect the city from invading armies. One point I remember most is that this Fort is credited with stopping the British from their advance and is perhaps the reason why English is not the language spoken throughout South America. Impressive. This actually wasn’t my first introduction to the Fort, as I saw it a few months ago during an episode of The Amazing Race. I’m a big fan of the show, both the original and Canadian versions, and I got a kick out of exploring where the other contestants had been. I even found a distinctive yellow and red sticker marking an entrance to the tunnels so I imagined myself racing through to complete the task first. I didn’t tell this to the guys I was with – they would have thought I was weird – so naturally I won. Ha!
Another thing I found while wandering Cartagena was a small chocolate museum and shop where I learned all about the cacao bean and how it’s harvested. The free samples I continued to munch on aided in my learning, for sure!
Cartagena has some amazing beaches nearby that I wanted to see, and yesterday I hopped on a tourist bus to Playa Blanca. During the hour drive to the beach I found out what two Brits, an American, German, and Canadian have in common: Travel Stories. When we arrived at a beach with the Caribbean sea’s trademark crystal water we knew we were in for a great day. The five of us stuck together all day, and the only downside is that I was having so much fun I forgot about taking pictures.
Colombia still has a remaining residue from its danger days in the 1990’s, but my experience so far has been very positive. By following common sense and the safety advice of those in the tourism industry here, this has been a great and relaxing week so far.