Wednesday, December 10, 2008


On Monday, December 1, I took a night bus from Medellin to Cartagena. It was approximately a 12 hour trip on an obnoxiously cold bus. The guidebooks said the buses would be cold, but wow, this bus was freezing. I wore jeans and a t-shirt and a light jacket. It was a miserable trip, but it was warm at 8:00 in the morning when I arrived in Cartagena.

I was going to skip Cartagena altogether, but I heard really good things in Medellin, so I went. It was a good choice. Cartagena is located on the Carribean Sea. It has a walled old town and a modern town with high rise condos stretching along the beaches. I stayed in the old town. The old town is completely encircled by a fortified wall that is very well maintained. The architecture is very well maintained and very colorful. The city has a cool "party vibe.

Several people I had met in Panama I saw again in Cartagena. It makes sense, since most people I met in Panama were heading to Colombia next. On Wednesday, December 3, I took a day trip to a mud volcano. It was an unusual feeling being suspended in mud. You could lay flat on your back or stomach and not sink. Standing straight up, I was suspended to about my navel. After the mud suspension, we went to a nearby lagoon that was a little bit cleaner than the mud volcano. Local women, using bowls and their hands, rinsed the mud off my body and my swimming trunks for $2,000 pesos (a little less than $1 US). After getting somewhat clean, we went to a nearby beach for lunch. When you get fish in a restaurant, it usually comes whole with the head attached.

After getting back from the volcano, I started feeling sick. I had a weak stomach, fever, and slight dizziness. I guess I drank the water or ate ceviche bought from a guy selling it from a cooler one too many times. I was out for about two days and a little below average for one more.

On Friday night, feeling better, I went on a party bus with some other travelers. The party bus drove through the old town and provided drinks and music. It had a band that played a type of music that sounded like cajun/zydeco. It made a stop on the waterfront and a stop at a disco. Most of the people on the bus were tourists from other Latin American countries. Cartagena is a popular tourist destination for other Latin Americans. Most of the hawkers use Spanish to try to sell stuff ranging from crappy jewelry to oysters or crabs (in a bucket without ice).

I went to a beach on Saturday. It was a great beach and I had a good time, but I found myself growing a little tired of beaches and hot weather. I decided it was time to head for the mountains. On Sunday, December 7, I flew from Cartagena to Manizales.


toomuchcountry said...

Ceviche rocks! ... but only when its fresh. Did you ask what else you could get if you paid an extra 2,000 pesos?

Anonymous said...

That fish a just a little scary-looking...


Jason said...

Jay, I am loving your blog. Keep it up. Glad everything is going well. However, did you really think it was okay to eat that fish? No wonder you got sick. Jason H

Anonymous said...

Jay, love to reading about your adventures. Keep up the posts. I see that there were tostones served with the fish. I love tostones, I get them in Puerto Rico all the time. The fish there is served the same way..head and all. Safe travels to you!


Jay G said...

Too Much Country - Did't ask and didn't want to know.

Jason - I've eaten some scarier stuff than that. Guess it was jut my time.

Husnibaby:My Emancipation said...

aarrghh..i always wanna go to this place..but guess i don't have the chance yet..huhu