Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
228Trip End Jul 15, 2008
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We arrived in Cartagena about 7 AM and got a room at the Casa Viena for 38,000 pesos per night. We chose this place because it is supposed to be the best place to connect with sail boats headed to Panama. They gave us their best room on the second floor overlooking the street. We can't complain but the staff and the ambience is a little weird here. For instance there is a sign saying that if you don't check out by noon you will have to pay for another whole day "like everywhere else in the world". Not only is the last phrase unnecessary and condescending, it is untrue. All through South America we have arranged to check out late for no more than ½ day extra or less. We have not decided if we will actually take a sail boat to Panama or just fly. Most of what we've read on line about the boat trips has been negative. Some have been horror stories; the trip is dangerous, the boats are uncomfortable, and the captains are psycho
June 5, 2008
We have accumulated more stuff to ship home so we have to find a post office. We take a taxi out to Boca Grande to look for a post office. Boca Grande is all modern with high rise apartments and hotels. It turns out that there is no national postal system in Columbia but at least three private postal companies. We are looking for the cheap one name Apostal, but it is not in Boca Grande. Going from one wrong address to another we did get to see a bit of Boca Grande. Finally, someone tells us to look for Apostal back in the city center where we had come from. Actually, Apostal is within walking distance of our hotel. When we get there we get the specifics on how to package our stuff for shipment. We'll return tomorrow.
We are meeting Captain Mark this afternoon to check him out and if he is not absolutely crazy we'll sign up to take his boat to the San Blas islands just off Panama
June 6 2008
Cartagena founded by the Spanish in 1533 is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in South America. There was a road of sorts from here to Quito over which the gold and silver from Bolivia and Peru were brought for reshipment to Spain. Pirates like Sir Francis Drake figured this out and they sacked the town numerous times. To defend the town the Spanish built a wall around it. Actually it is on an island connected to the main land by a causeway. St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest permanent settlement in the U.S., was established in 1565 and has a similar fortification also built of coral. The coral blocks have the advantage of absorbing the impact of cannon balls. The old city of Cartagena has been named a World Heritage City, which is certainly is
We mailed an 8 kilogram box out today for the cost of 146,500 pesos. Cartagena is great place, there is so much to see, and the tropical heat and humidity is thinning our blood after all the time we spent in the cold dry Andean highlands.
In the evening Arvid was out on the street and found a bar where everyone was intently watching a baseball game on TV. It took a few seconds but he realized thast the announcer was speaking in a familiar English and then a patron turned to him and said, "tee-grays". It was the Detroit Tigers. It turns out that Edgar Enrique Renteria, an infielder who earns 10 million a year comes from the nearby town of Barranquilla, Colombia. So people here follow the "tee-grays".