I have a number of things to update you all on, and I’m not entirely sure where to start. I’m suffering from sensory overload here in Cartagena, and as giddy as I am day-to-day, it’s making it difficult to piece together a narrative of the city or its people. I don’t presume to think that I will be an expert in coastal Colombian society in two months, but I work pretty hard to develop an understanding of the places I visit (at least one that goes deeper than “hostels are fun” or “eating too many fried plantains makes you fat”).
To start off, here are a few housekeeping notes:
1. I’ve added a new page/tab to the Soulshine Traveler site. From Where I’ve Wandered, you can see an alphabetic list of the countries to which I’ve traveled since last October and all of the respective blog posts. Pretty self-explanatory.
2. I was recently notified that I made an error in my last post, A Colombian Quinceañera. Man-in-horse-costume was not actually the winner of Colombia Tiene Talento, as I mistakenly wrote. He was just a participant. I misinterpreted the explanation at the party, possibly because I was so enamored by his performance (I’m actually not being sarcastic).
As for life here in Cartagena, I am, as you can probably tell, a very happy girl. I am still struggling with Spanish grammar, and I still can’t dance salsa. I think I’m having difficulties with both for the same reasons. Now that I have received some instruction, I’m over-thinking everything, from when to use subjunctive to how to move my hips. My self-doubt turns into acute self-awareness, and I turn into robot gringa, speaking in awkward spurts of Spanish and dancing like The Tin Man.
In other (weird) news, the mosquitoes here are stealthy, potent, and invisible to the naked eye. How is it that I am the only person in my household covered in red welts? Is it the extranjera blood? And why have I never seen a single one of them after hundreds of bites? They drink our blood, spread diseases, and wear invisibility cloaks. Awesome.
Now before you reprimand me, know that I am aware of the cruelty of posting the following pictures, especially for my dear friends shivering in the Northeast. When you feel yourself being overtaken by jealousy and resentment, please keep in mind that I am suffering from bad-salsa-dancer-complex, mosquito bites, and the occasional afternoon when it’s so hot I have no choice but to go to the beach. It’s not all papaya here, people.
A visual tour of my day trip to Cocoliso island resort:
A small piece of advice for those interested in visiting Cocoliso by boat from Cartagena: The trip to the island is beautiful and calm, but the return ride is dangerously choppy and takes twice as long. When the captain tells you on the load speaker to take motion-sickness pills a half hour before boarding the boat to return, listen to him. I saw at least three people lose their lunch on the way back. I think they’d eaten fish.