Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cartegena - Muy Caliente

You know how when you fly some place that is maybe a little tropical, and not super industrialized? And the airport is small so you climb down some stairs off the back of the plane. You were just in some place cold and familiar, and your foot hits the first step, and then the second, and then you take a deep breath and that smell hits you. Sort of sweet, and warm and humid, and it blows over your body and a little presperation forms on your forehead, and you smile because you know you have arrived at a place that is going to be different, full of color and amazing. I have felt this feeling a few times in my life, once when I arrived in Israel after being in Poland, it happens when you go to Florida, and it for sure happened again when I went to Anguila after graduation with my family.
Well, two days ago, as I took that second step off our plane from Bogota, I breathed the Cartegena air deeply and felt it again.
Our now very strict daily budget led us to a corner where we hopped on a bus and headed for the old city where we hoped a bed awaited up at the cheapest hostel in town: Hotel Holiday. And that´s exactly what I have felt like since I got here: on holiday.
The old city is pretty well preserved and every buiding is pained a different color and has many of those colonial wooden balconies I´ve grown so fond of. Most of these old buildings are also accesorized with climbing plants that display an amazing vartiety of flowers. There are tons of people in the streets, hawking fruits, vegetables, phone calls, you name it, and thier shouts and music coming from windows, doorways, and cell phones spills out into the street and into our hostel window.
We´ve been walking around, chilling on the beach, taking refuge in shopping malls and supermarkets with airconditioning and pausing in front of fans at the Modern Art museum. The guide book was right. You´ve got to wake up early and spend the middle of the day resting away from the sun.
Today, for the first time, we did it right and got up at eight. At that time of the morning the chillfrom the night air is still hanging around, but by nine the sun has banished it and by 12 you´ve got to be out of the sun. We spent the morning at the modern art museum and then walked around. Dripping, we sat on a nice big stoop to catch our breaths and enjoyed a breeze coming down the street from the ocean. A man selling limeade wheeled his way towards us on the wings of an angel, and I motioned for him to pull over near us. Two cups at 500 each seemed like a bargain, and he even gave us some extra after we had taken our first incredible sips. As he rolled away I tried to drink slowly, but it was too cold and delightful.
I listend to Josh loudly munch his ice after he had drained all the liquid from his cup, but I kept mine rolling around my mouth trying to savor every bit of cold as I flicked it around with my tongue.

1 comment:

adriana said...

Julia, your description about Cartagena is amazing!!! I Recommend to you taste COCOLOCO, a delicious cocktail!!!! hugs, Adriana=D