As soon as we got off the plane, a wave of humid, beautiful heat hit us and we felt great. Getting through customs proved that our “columbian” spanish leaves much to be desired. Because of all of our gear, we had to break up into 2 groups. The taxis took off and Simon and I immediately lost sight of Darin and Marco. The driving around here makes New York drivers look like polite snails.
Casa Relax is treating us very well. The kids have spent hours in the pool chasing a bouncy ball being used as a sink toy. We’re very much observing Siesta times by not venturing out too much between 11am and 3pm. A quick lunchtime stroll to spend 10,000 Columbian pesos (about $5.00) gets us some very good Empanadas and amazing chicken lasagna, a couple of cold beers, and some ice cream.
Last night, we walked down to Plaza del Trinidad. Here, small cart vendors sell a mixture of delicious smelling food. For a few dollars, a family of four gets fed, while sitting around the Iglesia de Trinidad. People buy cheap Columbian beer at the corner store, and eat their food on their laps, all while sitting around the steps to the church. Simon and Marco ate some sort of beef on a stick covered in ketchup and mayo. Marco had a very hard time with this, even once we did our best to wipe it all off. Poor kid, he was very upset but he eventually ate the whole thing with a begging dog sitting by his feet. Darin and I had a dish (name unknown) made of a mixture of plantain, sausage, chicken, beef, lettuce, fried onions, mayo, and more mayo, all covered by a sheet of melted cheese. It was very rich and tasty.
I’m noticing that Cartagena doesn’t seem to cater to the meat shy or vegetable lovers unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money in a restaurant made for tourists.
Cartagena gives us what we eagerly expected of Latin America, but with a European flare that makes the city even more stylish and warm. Morning runs give us a feel for the hustle and bustle of people getting ready for the day. Carts carrying deliciously fresh fruit (OMG!! the Mango!) and garlic and onions are pushed with purpose along these small streets that feel like alleys.
Knowing that we have a lot of time ahead of us seems to afford us a “we’ll do it when we do it” attitude that isn’t usually in our nature (most of you know exactly what I’m talking about). The kids spent about an hour this morning debating if BubbaLoo gum is better than M&M’s. The conversation included much discussion on the interesting juice that comes out of the middle of the gum. BubbaLoo is the winner.
Things feel easy here, at least for the moment.