“Hey, where you from?” A street hawker approached me on a corner as we explored the old town of Cartagena. He was selling jewellery.
“Oh yeah, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane?”
“Keep trying.” This is a pretty typical routine for any traveller from Western Australia. But this time it took a hilarious turn. Another guy overheard the conversation and joined in.
“Perth?” he shouts out. “West Coast?”
“Yep, you got it.” I was a little surprised by this, most of the tourists I had seen here seemed to be North American, South American or European, and many of them don’t know Perth either.
“I got a very good friend from Perth.” he said this with a cheeky smile. “Ben Cousins.”
I was even more surprised to hear that name. Aussie rules football stars aren’t exactly world famous. But then the penny dropped and I couldn’t help laughing out loud.
He leaned in closer and lowered his voice. “Yeah, I know him well. You want cocaine?”
I politely declined, still laughing, and took off to catch up with Bec and Sally. “Hey guys, you gotta hear this…”
Sal. Enjoying one of Colombia’s more legal pick-me-ups.
Oscar was sitting at the port and we were keen to get our van back as soon as possible. So I spent the better part of two days on the back of motorcycle taxis zooming between our hostel and the various port and customs offices dealing with paperwork. In the evenings we strolled around the Getsemani area and soaked up the amazing sights and sounds salsa’d the night away with some new friends from the San Blas trip.
Oscar at the port.
Cartagena is a huge milestone for us. It not only marks the starting point for a new continent, we had to leave the road and the van to get here, and it has also been driving our schedule for the past few months since we had plans to meet Bec’s parents here this week. It has been great hanging out with Sal and Shaun again, catching up on the latest news from home and indulging in good food and good wine. And, the apartment that they rented was pure luxury, with a rooftop pool and amazing views of the sunset over the Caribbean sea. Such a treat.
Cartagena has to be one of our favourite cities in Latin America so far. The old walled town has been well preserved and is colourful and lively and easy to explore on foot. The food has been amazing and the street art, local characters and caribbean music add a little extra flavour.
Sweets for my sweet
Touring the old fortress.
We hopped in the van after an idyllic few days here and pointed the nose for Santa Marta, with hope in our hearts that Oscar would handle the tropical heat and get us there without hassle.