Part I Colombia: “The only risk is wanting to stay”

Cartagena:Striking architecture and chock full of history

It’s hot…

Our first memory upon stepping off the plane in the Caribbean city of  Cartagena: a wall of heat rudely slapping us across the face.    Cartagena is a beautiful colonial city (see for yourself in our “Photos” tab),  brimming with historical significance, but we will leave the history for Wikipedia and simply state that after a week, it was hard to focus on anything other than the dizzying heat. Correction, one could also focus on the mosquitos.  We concluded that if we were going to have heat – yes, we know, summer in the tropics, shocking – we should at least  seek out beautiful and tranquil beaches.

Taking the scenic route…

The view of Taganga Bay from our living room

 3-1/2 hours, 4 toll plazas, and 3 police check-points later (including one where a heavily armed policeman pulled us to the side so his  friend could solicit a “donation” to a  land mine victim’s fund) we arrived in Taganga.  Once there, we quickly snatched up a steal on an apartment perched atop a breezy hill.  (Later we would discover that it’s not a  steal if the landlady calculates our 3 week rental agreement to equal 15 days because weekends “don’t count”.)

The downside of being discovered…

There´s no avoiding the floating ice cream man (or any other vendor imaginable)

Our 3 weeks on the beach have been amazing.   However, what was once an idyllic fishing village is no longer due to Taganga’s tourism growth (which we have obviously contributed to).  While benefiting  the  economy, this growth also strains the infrastructure.  Although fresh seafood restaurants, dive operators, and laundry services  have developed, so have touts, traffic, a shocking amount of garbage, and more than Taganga’s  fair share of weirdos.

Just your average sunset

A touch of the twilight zone…

For example, on a recent beach outing, we witnessed a crackhead instigate a dog-fight among 5 strays after he chose to dress one of them as his dog-alter ego by tying clothing, shoes, and sunglasses to the poor creature.  All the other dogs  in the vicinity, not sure what to make of dog-Frankenstein, decided to sink their teeth into poor Fido, much to the crackhead’s delight and to everyone else’s  horror.  We also watched as a dazed and bloodied elderly woman (possibly the oldest woman in Colombia) was helped aboard our bus to meet her family after a hit-and-run accident. 

Curious tagline, courtesy of the Colombian tourism board, and inspiration for the title of our blog

Stay tuned…

The bad behavior of others aside, many of our days are uneventful and are spent  working on our tans, practicing our spanish, drinking dollar beers, and attempting to identify the exotic  fruits at the grocery store.  However, more adventures abound.    Stay tuned for the next installment of our take on Colombia where Aggie´s life flashes before her eyes on the back of a moto-taxi, and Jeff returns from a hike looking like he was attacked by a litter of kittens…


2 responses to “Part I Colombia: “The only risk is wanting to stay”

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