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Cartagena – Meeting friends (Map this!)

Cartagena dawned and brought with it new and exciting things. We had finally left Central America and were in the continent of South America. We were in the port city of Cartagena in Colombia, which seems to be experiencing a new age. The security situation has vastly improved and the Colombians are eager to invite visitors and make friends. Every question is greeted with a broad smile, an enthusiastic reply and eager conversation. In Cartagena, we were welcomed by forum friend Frank Diaz and his lovely wife Andrea, who introduced us to arepas and patacones, the quintessential Colombian food. In the small town of Mompós, we were greeted at the tourist office by the Secretary of tourism himself!

In spite of being a port city, the walled city of Cartagena is a UNESCO world heritage site and is beautiful. The city invites romance with its cobbled streets with wooden balconies trailing bougainvillea and its majestic churches. On the day we arrived, we saw no fewer than three church weddings and the whole city wore an air of celebration. And yet it is more than just a tourist city like San Cristobal in Mexico or Antigua in Guatemala. Early in the morning at 6am, you can enjoy shots of Nescafé with the locals on the street, or devour skewers of barbecue meet on the main plaza during sunset. You see vegetable vendors in the residential sections and hardware stores next to fancy hotels. The city has only one drawback, the weather is hot and humid all year round.

The city of romance, Cartagena

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Cartagena also brought another exciting event to our nomadic existence, a visit from our friends Christopher and Lakshmi Albright. They brought with them a whiff of San Francisco, of stability and routine and of community. After traveling for nine months, community and friends is what I miss the most. Of course, we meet interesting people from all over the world make friends. Bound by common experiences of traveling it is easy to fall into conversation with co-travelers to share impressions of a foreign place, plan the next exciting destination and learn about foreign lives back home. But past experience has taught us that these friendships are ephemeral. We are in touch with only a couple of the many travelers we have met over the years; even traveling companions from the same city went their own separate ways. Lack of opportunity and time have caused us, regretfully, to lose touch.

Colombia is a wonderful introduction to South America, a continent of the Inca, of majestic glaciers and the Mecca of rain forests. Manaus, Galapagos and Iguazú lie ahead of us. I am really excited to be here!

3 Responses to “Meeting friends in the city of romance”

  1. Fred says:

    Greetings from Denver. You make Cartegena sound like its worth a visit. Hello to Christopher and Lakshmi, I hope there is a guest blog entry on the horizon!

  2. Ram Rao says:

    Hats off to you intrepid explorers and greetings from Chembur. Isn’t Cartegena the spunky city in the 1984 adventure movie, “Romancing the Stone” starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito?

  3. Shreesh says:

    Hi Ramdada,

    Yes, it is supposed to be set in Cartagena, but I think most of the shooting was done in Veracruz, Mexico!

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