Don’t worry, we made it back (against all odds, all of us made it back to this country)!
One of the first things that people have asked me upon my return (aside from if I did any good drugs – seriously, coworkers/bosses asked me this) was whether I felt safe in Cartagena. I never once felt like we were hanging out somewhere scary or dangerous. People are people everywhere, and I think that it something to keep in mind when wandering the world. If there was anything to be concerned about, it was the stupid things that my own friends were doing! In the interest of balanced journalism (hah! just kidding – I don’t kid myself that I’d be a journalist, I just rant to my 5 followers), I will discuss a little bit of the flip side of the coin … Things that happened in Cartagena that perpetuate the stereotype of what Americans think about Colombia:
1. People do try to sell you drugs on the street. Though, to be fair, it was kind of a tourist-heavy area. It’s kind of like Amsterdam – milk it when you’re known for something I guess? [Don’t worry Mom and Granny – I don’t do drugs.]
2. In what might be slightly less than “first world” … rolling blackouts. We are sitting at a very nice non-cheap restaurant, enjoying amazing food and wine… and then the power goes out. For thirty minutes. And it seems that no one else but the drunk Americans noticed. It’s standard apparently.
3. Our friend (who was, by the way, the least likely of our group to do anything at all illegal or scandalous) was inexplicably held and not allowed to board the plane back to the U.S. for quite some time. And they made her husband leave her and get on the plane. Fear not, at the very last minute, after the plane was held, they let her on and we peaced out, but I have to say, I was a bit nervous.
Things that (a lot of people) (I assume) do not know about Colombia:
1. It looks like this:
2. And THIS:
3. And THIS:
Anyways, executive summary: we had a completely awesome time. The food was amazing – we ate freshly caught lobster while sitting in the Caribbean in about 4 feet of water. We explored amazingly clear water with a coral floor, with no other souls in sight (this has to go up there as one of the most fun days of my life. ever). Our amazing host took us to delicious dinners at very nice restaurants and clubs. The people are very friendly and nice. The old city looks European and colonial and is completely and utterly charming.
Some mo fotos for y’all:
The view from our apartment – could get used to that.
There are lots of fortresses and castles up in there.
The Old City.