Thursday, September 9, 2010

Colombia - Cartagena and Playa Blanca

We've been in Cartagena for the last couple of days.  It was the main Spanish port on the Caribbean and a store for all their looted treasure before shipping it off to Spain, so had to protect against the many pirate attacks by building lots of forts and high walls.  The city is now pretty huge and modern but the old part with the colonial buildings is really gorgeous.
Brian, delighted to have a snack of ceviche, and passionfruit and lulo juice...
and the perfect pizza...
There's a big problem in Colombia with thieves taking manhole covers to sell as scrap. Bogota was the worst with most of the manholes around La Candelaria open so you have to watch your step constantly.  There's a huge gap between the rich and the poor and it's especially obvious in the north.  Prostitution seems to be pretty widespread and apparently Colombia is a new destination for child sex tourism, there are billboards up in the airport and bus stations warning against it.

Yesterday we went in search of the perfect Caribbean beach, taking a boat ride out to Playa Blanca.  To avoid the tour boats we went down to the docks to catch a cargo boat after an interesting walk through the market, pelicans all over the place seeing what they could scavenge.

Looks pretty good in the photos but just after we arrived, the thunder and lightning started and then it rained for the rest of the day until a boat came to collect us six hours later.  Had to stay in the water to try keep warm, and as soon as you got out a swarm of people selling their massages and jewellery and snorkels and ceviche would hassle you and sit beside you until you gave in or shouted at them or got back into the water and even then some of them were calling out to you from the sand.  Pretty depressing but I've heard great reports from other people so I think we were just unlucky with the weather,  if there had been more tourists there too we wouldn't have been hassled so much.

Coco Loco...

So we've decided to leave the coast and head inland again.  Getting an overnight bus to Medellin tonight, and until then we've got a pretty nice hostel so just going to relax here. 

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