Sunday, September 28, 2008

Livin' the Costeño Life...

Settling into the Costeño lifestyle has been interesting. People are pretty friendly and relaxed, which is great, but not much gets done. If someone is supposed to come Tuesday at 3:00 to fix something, they might be here at 5:00 on Thursday...maybe... Regardless, the coast has been a treat to explore.

Location: Manzanillo, Colombia

Saturday I jumped a bus to a beach north of Cartagena called La Boquilla. It’s a long stretch of gray-sand beach lined with thatched-roof places where you can get fish and rice, something cold to drink, and a hammock in the shade. Austin and I were out there the previous weekend. There is a point farther still, but it looked long and possibly sketchy to walk there along the beach, so I went on a recon excursion to see how to get out there. After talking to people for a while I found out you can get there by boat, or by motorcycle taxi. The latter being the most inexpensive.

Here's a little video of the mototaxi. It's mostly a great shot of my knee...

I found myself a mototaxi and we bombed down the beach. At the end of the walkable beach we turned towards the interior, a mangrove swamp where there are tin-roofed shanties where fishermen live. The roads are packed dirt, mud, and goodness knows what else. About a kilometer in a river empties the mangrove swamp into the ocean. The rickety bridge that spanned the 50 meters of thigh-deep water was made of stakes pounded into the river bottom decked with anything somewhat flat and wooden. I got off, paid the bridge man, and the three of us pushed the motorcycle across the shaky bridge.

We drove up into the hills on the other side on a washed out two track that spit us out on a beach called Mangita.

A crescent beach was sandwiched between two sandstone cliffs. Reminded me of hidden beach in Marquette, but a little bigger.

Aguila, the local brew, fried fish, patacones (fried plantains), and coconut rice on the beach. Goodness knows no bounds... They bring you the 'menu natural', which are about 6 fresh fish on a big plate. You pick out one that looks good, arrange a price (haggling always included...) and then twenty minutes later he shows up on a plate with other goodness!

When it rains here, it pours. The streets fill with water, and taxis, busses and motos plow through it like snow in da U.P.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Settling into Cartagena

Cartagena's old city, El Centro.

The city center is all lit up at night. Great to stroll though with vendors and people out walking. There are great restaurants and salsa bars. The whole place is ringed with a colonial wall to keep out pirates. Walking along the ramparts is beautiful. Behind me is iglesia San Pedro.

The Iglesia Catedral

In the streets there are these big double doors made of wood fortified with metal studs and bands sometimes. They're big enough to pull a carriage into the open courtyards inside that are part of most all of the old colonial buildings.

Long hallway of arches inside Iglesia San Pedro.

One of the entrances to the old city that breaks into a cobblestone plaza.

The beautiful streets of El Centro are a labrynth. Great to get lost wandering though. Pretty safe, even at night. Reminds me of New Orelans Old French Quarter with the balconies and hanging plans.

The Iglesia Catedral lit up at night.

Horse draw carriages are always around in the center.

Back in Boca Grande, in my apartment you can see El Centro in the distance.

It's hard to have a bad day when they end with this...