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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Cartegena!

Wednesday October 2nd



We arrived yesterday after a 50 min flight from Panama City. Then we stood in the immigration line with hundreds of others for another 50 mins! Why do "they" schedule a bunch of flights to ALL arrive at the same time and only have 4 immigration officers working?? I know.... slow down!! :)  After finally get through immigration we found our checked bag and out we go. Easy peasy once you get thru immigration!

We were given instructions from the Airbnb host Juliana to go to an automated machine for a taxi. You enter the address where you are heading and the ticket prints out the price which for us was 16,000CP!! Yikes hard to get use to the high amount of Colombian pesos you need here!  The exchange here is approx 2500CP for $1 Can. Yep we are Millionaires here in Colombia!! LOL!!!!

Taxi gets to our BnB and we only have US$ and the trip is suppose to be $5US per our host. We only had $6US other then $20s and you can bet he doesn't have change for that! And not knowing the exchange at that time not sure if we were getting ripped off or not - it is a taxi!! Anyways he complained a bit because he wanted another $1 but we didnt have any - not even change. Lo Siento! 🙅 Its not as if we were ripping him off. Anyways off he goes :)

Dwayne lugs our heavy bag - 43lbs up 4 floors! I dont remember reading THAT on the BnB site. We get everything upstairs and into our room. Its not as nice as the one in Panama City - not even close but this one is only $20/nCan and Adrian's place was $36/nCan. But at least we are close to the port for picking up Vanna and that was important.

Juliana was on her way out to pick up her kids from school and said she would drop us off at the grocery store where we can pickup a SIM card for my phone. Great since we have to contact the agent that is handling the arrival of Vanna. But once we got to the store the girl at the counter said they did not have any SIM cards and directed us outside and check with a guy with a big belly  - thats how she described him LOL!! I thought she was talking about a pregnant woman but Dwayne said no she was talking about a man. We walk outside and look for a big belly guy and thought we found him but no its wasn't him because he called out to a guy across the street who walked over to us. And yes his belly was bigger that the first guy LOL!! Anyways he didnt have any SIM cards either and told us to go down the street about 3 blocks turn right and look for "Tienda Carlos Tulio". OK. So off we go - but this time I'm VERY hot because Cartegena is VERY HOT!!!  I left my folding fan back at the room, plus no hat so I'm walking in the shade as much as I can.

We do find Tienda Carlos Tulio and walked into the internet store hoping for a/c because I'm sweating like crazy- but its hot in there because the power is off!  The girl in the store helps us and we pick a pkg of 2GB and unlimited calling (Colombia only :( plus unlimited WhatsApp but it will only lasts for 15 days for ONLY 55,000CP haha  ($22C) There was a cheaper pkg by then only get 1GB for a month. Figure I would go thru that before a month is up once we are traveling around.  But she is having trouble getting it set up because the computer is not working due to the power outage so the owner is doing it on his cell phone, which takes a little longer but finally gets done. After that we started talking with Carlos because he lived in the US for 7 yrs before coming back to Cartegena 2 years ago. We talked for probably an hour and then decided we should order early dinner from his restaurant next to the internet store. He actually owns 4 business in a row - a bakery and a minimart plus 2 rooms he rents out to tourists. We had some DELICIOUS cheese soup and then grilled chicken, salad and patacones (fried plantain known as tostones in Honduras).  The meal was great. As we were eating we continued visiting with Carlos and told him we needed to contact the shipping agent to find out what to do to get Vanna out of the port. He said he'd call and get someone who speaks English. Not long after that we were speaking with Luis and made an appointment to meet with him on Wed.


Now I feel we're back in Honduras!

Cheese soup - yum!


Here Carlos is speaking to a guy "Captain No" that is running for councillor and is riding his bike around with music blaring from a speaker in his basket. His flags say No Corruption. Once he's riding his cape flys behind him! Quite the way to be noticed. He was giving Carlos a bunch of business cards
Carlos's wife came by on her way home and we were introduced. They were happy to see pics of our van and our 5th wheel in Canada. Told them the only house we have is in Honduras :) They lived in Florida for 7 years before moving back to Colombia 2 years ago.  They were very interested in what we were doing. They have 2 kids a girl 12 and a boy 17 who came off the school bus and met us. Such a nice family!  Then Carlos's mother came by and we were introduced :)

We then headed back to the BnB and had a nap for a couple of hours! This heat it tough on the body. Especially since we seldom walk around in this type of heat - we usually have a truck to get around. :)

This morning we had toast and coffee with a young couple also staying here from Portugal. They are actually here because they just finished getting their camper van in port to ship back to Portugal, they have been travelling throughout South America for 2 YEARS!! They do alot volunteering and stay at some places for a month. But she said she was ready to get back home. I guess I probably would to after 2 years on the road!!

We then left around 10 to do some sightseeing in the area as we walked over to the shipping agents office which is about 4km away. We decide to walk around inside the Walled Old City. Beautiful colonial buildings all around. Seems this area is for the rich. Lots of high end shops here, guess for all the cruise ship passengers.


Before crossing the river to the Old City we walked to see San Felipe Fort. But it was to hot to walk around inside. We'll have to try it another day early in the morning


Yes we are in Juan's country :) 

Bright coloured flags cover this street 

Typical menu items 
Walking thru the park and many other places vendors sell small plastic cups of very hot coffee from those thermos. 

The Clock Tower - main entrance to the walled city. The clock was used also for the people who worked outside the city to return by 6pm when the gate is closed and they would have to spend the night outside the gate.

Once thru the entrance there is a large square 


Walking thru the side streets with the beautiful buildings




"La Gordita Gertrudis" scrupture by Colombian artist. They say if you touch her left breast you'll have good luck. Guess the left breast is well worn :)
We found a place to have lunch outside the walled city and close to when the shipping agent's office is. Had a great lunch of rotisserie chicken, salad, rice and beans for 12,000CP.




We then met with the agent and will be going to the shipping office on Thurs. He gave us the approximate prices for unloading, moving etc $850US (we were told approx $500 by World Cargo) But he said the company also wants a deposit on the container of $1540US!! Something we didnt expect and since we are NOT taking the container anywhere why the deposit? The agent - Luis has had problems with this shipping company before and will send someone else in the office to take us there.  It will be up to us to explain that we only need to drive the van out at the port and the container stays so why the deposit? The deposit is SUPPOSE to be refunded in 6 WEEKS but of course that won't happen since we won't be here any more. We also never got an actual Bill of Lading so thats another problem. Luis has contacted World Cargo and asked that they send him one. Not sure why we didnt get one. Not good!!

We walked back to see Carlos and ask if he could help us tomorrow. Since he had the family's belongings shipped from US maybe he can help. Plus he can be our interpreter. When we talked to him he had no problem helping us. He even called Luis and talked about the problems.

Guess we will be extending our stay here at the BnB since we are to check out on Friday. We still have to go thru customs which will probably for a 2-3 day affair. Oh well just all part of travelling in different countries if you want to bring your camper :)

By the time we got back to our place we had walked 11 kms! I jumped in the shower to cool off. Maybe tomorrow we won't be doing as much walking :)

Portion of the west wall 




Interesting mix of materials used when building the wall back in 1586

Tour bus 



2 comments:

  1. So, so interesting. Fingers crossed for tomorrow and the Release of Vanna!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was nice walking around inside the wall city. But still no Vanna :( Issues with Bill of Lading! Hoping it gets resolved tomorrow otherwise nothing will get done until Monday.

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