Cartagena, Colombia, the city of love and goodbye to South America

After San Gil, Aaron promised me: “OK. Time to relax”. Definitely he was right. A very nice city, looking out to the Caribbean Sea, full of old beautiful stories and houses.

One of the motivations for me to go there was the famous book of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in Time of Cholera”, which is one of my favorite love stories, based in Cartagena. I was able to see where the movie based on the book was filmed and I really felt in love again with Aaron walking by the places and the old market area.

How a Brazilian could not be passionate about the popular PATACÓN, a banana fried with cheese, that they call ‘express’ food (much better than junk food we are used to see as “fast”). Besides the amazing banana fast food, in all streets you go, you have street sellers of fresh orange juice and all tropical fruits you can imagine. It made us have a very healthy time.

We had decided to make Cartagena our own love story. So, in the first city of the Caribbean area, the last one of South America for us, we had to party as the locals do. We went to a local bus called CHIVAS. It was plenty of fun since the bus comes and picks you up in your hotel and you have locals playing music, with free rum with coke and empanadas. After the tour through the city in the musical bus, they leave you in the most famous club of the city. I just loved it!

It was good music, good drinks and good fun with the same people who were in the bus. Aaron bought a whole bottle of the infamous ‘Agua ardiente’ (seems cachaça but different) that you drink as tequila, with salt and lemon. I do not need to say that my after night was beside the toilet, my best friend for while. Just to make it better, the morning after the funny night dancing rumba, salsa and zouk, I had to take a sail boat from Cartagena to Panama. Uh, so boring! (laughs! To not say the opposite).

The sailing was an experience I’ll never forget. 6 days, 5 nights in the ocean, looking Cartagena and so, South America to disappear in the rising view. We were 11 people on the sail boat: I and Aaron; Shirley, an American lady in her 60’s with amazing stories of travelling and life; a lovely  British couple, Derrick and Mary, in their 70’s (they became an inspiration for me and Aaron); a lovely Dutch couple, Denise and Eduardo, in their 30’s (our second inspiration, since they are together for 15 years!); an young American couple; our young German captain, Henning and finally, the last but never the least, Fritz, the owner of the boat, an Austrian guy, in his 50’s, that I never will forget.

Fritz was full of amazing stories to tell us while he would cook fresh lobsters, crabs and some exclusive recipes of pancakes with rum, and fresh bread. He was a chef of 2 restaurants which he owed in the past and has travelled the whole world doing different things but basically just sailing. Most of the time he’d tease my Brazilian butt or the girls beautiful figures in bikini, but honestly, we couldn’t stop laughing at it.

I had the amazing experience as the richest people in the world to be in a very big sailing boat, eating food that we would pay a fortune in exclusive restaurants of NY, and swimming and snorkeling everyday around the San Blas islands where we stopped to have fun. San Blas islands are a complex of around 365 islands in the Caribbean sea, full of reefs and coral. The locals say: “It’s an island per day”. I hurt myself on coral on both arms but I did not care actually. Blood can go away but that experience, NEVER! Of course as a silly girl I am, I just got scared of bleeding too much into the water in the “shark’s time”(they normally swim around 4-5 PM to feed).

I was able to see islands that just in ‘windows save screen’ you see it. I was in paradise, sailing, as a real pirate, feeling that sensation of discovering lands, waking up in a different island everyday. I experienced during my shift of ocean watch a huge group of dolphins and I just yelled to the group: “DOLPHINS, DOLPHINS”…  Everybody went to the trampoline to follow those lovely, sweet creatures. I understood them as a sign of good luck.  They swam with our boat, showing off, jumping, giggling… I was over the moon watching them. In my second shift at midnight, I could see the darkness of the sky, where just stars were guiding us in our adventure. The darkness gave space to a FULL MOON that is almost impossible to describe. I was there, as a pirate, watching the ocean in my shift, with the darkness, the stars (so many more than normally we see in urban areas), the moon, the waves hitting the boat smoothly as a dream of my childhood. I was 2 hours of my shift dreaming awake with just the sound of the ocean. I was able to think about life and be grateful for being there. As Prince, the singer, once sang, you do not need to be rich to be lucky enough to be in the right place, in the right time, with the right person, to have the best that a exceptional life can have… I am lucky girl.

For further turistic information go to: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Senhor-e-Senhora-Smith/

Video produced by Aaron Smith

Photos produced by Aaron Smith and Viviane Araujo

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~ by vikaaraujo on July 10, 2009.

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