• Day22

    21. Cartagena Colombia

    September 13, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Love Cartagena! This city has it all: history, charm, beaches, a major port, great restaurants, a cool bohemian vibe, and then some.

    We're here for 5 days, which includes 2 days of processing paperwork and payments to get the car released from the container at the dock.

    Since we don't have the car at our disposal, we are taking taxis everywhere. I wish I could take a video of how crazy these drivers are, but my eyes are usually squeezed shut in anticipation of a collision. These guys have no interest in lane markings, and are not shy about using their horns. As you cross the street in a crosswalk, the cabs continue to come at you, veering in one direction or another at the last moment. I've learned that you need to avoid eye contact with them - if you act like you're waiting for them to pass, you'll wait forever. If you confidently "take your space", and pretend you don't see them, they will yield. (Or at least it seems to work this way). I'm from NY and have some experience with aggressive city driving, but NY cabbies ain't got nothing on these guys.

    Another outlet for aggressive behavior is demonstrated by the street vendors. You can't go 10 feet without someone jumping out at you, thrusting their wares in your face, and launching into their sales pitch. They are not deterred by your response of a smile and a "gracias, no", and continue their pitch as they follow you for 10 feet or so before moving on to another more amenable looking target to accost.

    That said, these things are all part of the experience and, despite my implications otherwise, they add enjoyment to the whole travel adventure.

    We are staying in Bocagrande, which is a strip of hotels, shops and restaurants on a peninsula, and which is aptly nicknamed "Miami Beach". Not the quaintest part of town, but we're right on the beach and a few minutes from the more intetesting parts of the city. We spent a few hours on the beach the other day, and after resisting multiple times, I finally succumbed to a 10 minute foot massage for 20,000 pesos ($6). Felt sooooo good!
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