Cartagena Day 2-6

We caught a flight from Medellin to Cartagena on the Carribean coast.

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The airport was really nice and the flight from Medellin to Cartagena to Bogota only ran us 175 each. Apparently you can get them even cheaper.

We landed after an hour ten minutes. We flew Taca airlines which had really nice comfy planes.

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We hadn’t reserved a hostel so just asked the cab driver to bring us to “old city” where we heard all the travelers stayed.

We found a relatively cheap hostel for 30k/night right on the main drag. This street was very busy and little did we know we had arrived on the biggest party night of the week, Wednesday night.

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There was a live reggae band and we went all out, didn’t get back til 4am and it was still going strong when we left.

Our room was literally on the main drag and our balcony faced the road. Between the people, music, and cabs beeping we did not get very good sleep.

The next day we woke up and wanted to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings. We took a stroll through the touristy plaza. Apparently cruise ships frequent here.

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We walked towards the beach and saw some of the wall that borders the city. The city used to be always attacked by Carribean pirates so they had to defend themselves.

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We got to the beach, a small one just on the side of the road and went swimming.

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Apparently this was not allowed and we had a brief run in with the cops but they didn’t give us too much trouble.

We walked to the mall right down the road which was very modern and nice.

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It was weird walking from the completely third world outside into this super modern nice first world mall. We had our feet up and a cop yelled at us for having our feet up right away. I am starting to get the impression that these people really take pride in the few nice things that they do have. Back in Medellin we saw them scraping up gum from the marble in front of their modern museum and cleaning out the sidewalk drains.

After leaving the mall we had a couple nice views of the city while crossing the bridge.

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I could not believe the amount of garbage in the water and on the shores here. Disgusting and smelled; this water was incredibly polluted.

We heard from a couple kids that their friend was jumped and robbed by 2 cops over this same bridge, messed up.

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Cartagena seemed relatively safe over all. There were a lot of drug dealers and some beggars but nothing too outside the norm, we felt pretty comfortable here.  

Also on the walk from the mall there was the main fortress called Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. We haven’t gone in yet because we simply didn’t have time with everything else we were doing. By the time we got back everyday it was late and the fortress closed at 5:30. The entrance fee was $18k.

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We decided to just take a walk around it and did some exploring. Pretty impressive structure. It is actually a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Another interesting thing was this is where the whole thing went down with the prostitutes and secret service. We had heard there were prostitutes here, but hadn’t seen any. We slowly started figuring out they were mixed in with everyone else. At any given time a good chunk of the girls in the clubs were prostitutes. They dressed just like every other girl and fit right in so you couldnt tell the difference. After a while we assumed that any girl that showed any amount of interest was a prostitute.

There was one square in particular we spent a lot of time. It was extremely laid back and it seemed to be a gathering area for the local community. Every night everyone would sit around this square and there sometimes was dancing, performances, always some sort of good time. It was only a few blocks from the main drag.

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The last night in Cartagena our friend we had met back in Misahualli met up with us, Katie. She brought with her a friend she met in Bogota, Kody, another Canadian. In the square that night we hung out with some people we met from Vancouver.

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The majority of our time here we spent taking kite surfing lessons. We found place that would give us 4 days of lessons, two hours each day, for 550k. The place we took the lessons was at a more expensive area about 20 minutes north. The hotels in this area were top top end.

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For the next four days we went out every night, would wake up to catch a cab, grab breakfast at a place called the C store, then hangout in the tent for 15 or 20 minutes before the lesson.

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The first day we went out we thought we were starting at 8:30, but it turns out the wind doesn’t pick up at this beach until 11 or 12, so we napped in the grass in front of one of the hotels.

The first days of the lessons, we learned to set up the kites

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and how to control them in the air.

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We also used the kites to do a little “body dragging” in the water without the boards.

The second day of lessons they put us straight on the board in the water. We did a lot of falling.

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The third day we were able to pretty much get up on the boards, and even rode for some short distances. The fourth day I popped a kite and had a pretty frustrating day, but did figure out how to go back and forth in both directions. Every day we had so much fun regardless of how we did, it is such a fun sport, I am thinking about buying a kite board or getting lessons at home.

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