A Fun Day with Three Friends

Tuesday, October 03, 2017
Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia
Tuesday morning, we are eating breakfast and Derrik joins us.  He got about 6 hours of sleep.  Carolina and Rebecca join us in about a half hour.  Carolina informs me that we have met before at a Feast in Bolivia in 2010.  I vaguely remember her, but I do remember her aunt who was there also.  It is a small world in the church.  We get re-acquainted over breakfast.  After breakfast, I take them to exchange some money, go to the ATM, and to the grocery store to buy some water.  They also buy tickets to ride the City Tour bus.
We return to the hotel to collect Scott before taking the next bus tour.  He’s been in the room working while I was gone. I made a mistake when reading the bus schedule, and we are walking up to the bus stop just as the bus is pulling away.  I remember the bus route from yesterday, and I know that we can walk briskly about 6 blocks across the peninsula, and we can encounter the bus at that location.  We are all up for the adventure and walk quickly.  Scott leads the way. “Yeah, more steps!” he says. As we are approaching the bus stop, we see the bus and run to wave it down.  We get on it and find seats on the upper level.  We only missed ¼ of the tour, which isn’t too bad. 
The bus has more people on it than we have ever seen, but we find seats that are together.  Our three new friends are very excited about what they see and we are happy for them.  We love sharing the Feast with others. I try to take pictures of various people working.  Unemployment is high in Colombia, so many people who don’t have jobs, make money by selling “things.” You can get almost anything from a street vendor.  I hope to do a blog or a photo blog soon about the many different types of vendors that I see.
We take the rest of the tour and return to the hotel at 1 PM.  We eat lunch in the restaurant.  The menu del dia is fried whole fish or chicken breast, patacon, coconut rice and salad.  All the girls have the fish and we love it!
After lunch, we return to our room to do a few things.   Since we will be away from home a total of 19 days, Scott decides that he needs to do some laundry.  He takes a few items down to the front desk.  They inform him that they can do some of his laundry, but the hotel policy is now that they will not do any underwear because of the chance of communicable diseases.  They tell us where there is a nearby laundry.  We walk to it and it is only about four blocks away.  The minimum charge is $7,000 pesos ($2.38 USD) for 1 kilogram.  This is much less than the hotel price which was about $1 USD for each item.  The clothes will be done tomorrow afternoon. We normally don’t do laundry while traveling, but when the time away is longer, and a very hot climate we make exceptions. We wash things in the room by hand, and hang them to dry. But when we’re this busy it’s not always convenient.
We return to the hotel.  The girls needed to switch their room, so I help them arrange that with the hotel.  They like their new room much better, so this is a blessing.  
At breakfast, we had invited the three out to dinner with us at Marzola’s, an Argentinian Steak house in the old city.  We are able to get one taxi and we all fit in it.  The taxi driver does charge us $8,000 pesos instead of the normal $7,000, but that is OK with us.  We arrive and the restaurant is mostly empty, so we have our pick of tables and where to sit.  We order soft drinks and the meal.  I have the half beef steak which is at least 8 oz. and comes with a salad.  It is delicious, and everyone likes the meal.  Scott has roasted lamb. Gustavo, the restaurant owner shows up while we are eating.  He remembers us from past years. Scott chats with him, and then he comes over to greet each one of us.
It started to rain while we were eating.  After paying the bill, we discuss whether to get a taxi to go to the restaurant we have chosen for dessert and coffee, or just walk in the “light rain.”  We decide to walk as we have nothing that will get ruined with a little water.  Scott wraps his phone multiple times in a paper towel and buries it in his pocket. The streets in Cartagena are always confusing.  One looks just like another.  This afternoon, I looked up on Google Maps how to walk from Marzola’s to Mila Vargas.  I drew a small map to assist me.  It is about 6 long blocks away.  We walk as close to the buildings as we do have some protection from overhanging roofs and balconies. We still get pretty wet!
We arrive at Mila Vargas, a shop that has light meals, desserts, and coffee.  I order the Oreo Cheesecake and a cappuccino.  The Oreo Cheesecake is fabulous! And I eat it all.  We have a very enjoyable time and laugh a whole bunch.  Our food should digest well tonight!  By the time we finish, it has stopped raining.  We go outside and find a taxi driver who is willing to take all of us.  As we drive, Scott asks “Are your window wipers broken?” We found out from our taxi driver that technically they are not supposed to take five passengers. So Scott ducks down, and the driver turns them on…he seems to not want the police to see. When we arrive at the Regatta, we give him an extra tip for taking all of us.
Scott and I are tired after a very busy day.  We have enjoyed getting to know Derrik, Carolina and Rebecca.  We say good night and we all turn in for the night.


Judy Averill

Good travel info. Look forward to more travels. Good start to the Feast here. Looking forward to each day!