Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cartagena, but not for Christmas

When we were in Grenada, various cruisers were planning to be in "Cartagena for Christmas." Besides the obvious alliterative appeal, Cartagena and Christmas go together. In early December, there were lights along the streets of the town center, trees in various plazas, and lights on the buildings. Santa and his elves were at the mall. There was a Christmas parade, complete with fireworks, which was followed by many more fireworks the next night. But, as it turns out, we have decided not to spend Christmas in Cartagena.

When we first got to Cartagena, we were a bit dazzled by the tall, white buildings next to the sea, with historic structures poking out. Conrad said it was just like being in New York. Compared to where we had been recently, it was enormous. We loved exploring the vibrant city with its energy and history.

On one evening at the plaza near La Trinidad, we saw a wedding, with the bride and groom riding away in a horse-drawn carriage. There was a man in a horse suit and woman juggling fire. Kids were playing a pick-up soccer game that Mark joined. A man was passed out drunk next to us while we ate our delicious street food.
Meat sticks and beer. Who's a happy cruiser? Yes you are!

Christmas fireworks in the dinghies
But by the end of the first week, we started to get tired of the dirty water where almost no one swims and with the local boats speeding by so close and fast, creating almost constant wakes. We were treated to infrequent but loud air horns at all hours from container ships leaving the nearby loading facility. Coupled with the need to get temporary import and cruising permits if you stay for more than ten days or so (an extra $200), it's time to move on.
An artist at work
We're very happy that we didn't miss Cartagena. It's a great city to walk around. The street food is delicious and cheap. We have been enjoying spending time with Amelie IV and Kazaio, another kid boat that we met here. After a play date on Kazaio that included working with clay and eating ice-cream, Mark and Conrad were ready to move aboard.

South Americans love their music. This Navy ship was sent off with no less than 3 live bands (one on the bow, one on the stern and one on shore). The samba-like music was an interesting contrast to the soldiers standing at attention on deck.

Juggling machetes in traffic for money.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. We were thinking that we would want to spend time in Cartagena next year for Christmas...or not. We're a kid boat too...hope our paths cross.


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