Living la vida local

Spellbound on arrival in Cartagena, I insisted on having a photo with the Amazonian “statue” man. A well seasoned traveller now, I knew of course he wasn’t an actual statue but a real person. However his armour made me approach him cautiously.

I smiled sweetly for the camera. There was a cracking noise, and something in my periphery lunged at me. I screamed.

A crowd gathered and were laughing. He leaned closer and closer in towards me. His movements were as seamless and stealthy as a snake. I was frozen, confused and mesmerised by this Amazonian creature.

Next thing the crowd was whistling, and I was being kissed on the check while blushing profusely. Damn statues, got me again.

This little incident aside, my trip to Cartagena was refreshingly well off the Gringo trail. Travelling with my Kiwi-gone-Colombian friend and her Colombian boyfriend gave me insights into the life of the newly established, and ever growing Colombian middle class.

We stayed in a beachside apartment complex that was virtually brand new and huge – complete with pools, a jacuzzi and gym (my aspiration to use it were quickly forgotten)

One day with a group of friends and their family we hired a private boat, and island hopped for the day. It wasn’t as cheap as you’d think, $500NZD for the day, including the driver and boat hand. Divided by our group of 12 it was well worth it.

I was also taken to one of Colombia’s top Avant Garde chef’s restaurants. The speciality was a rarity, the very poisonous Lion Fish. Colombia is apparently the only place in the world you can eat it, they’re killing all the local marine life so the chef’s concocted a way to put it to good use. It was divine, and of course nice to eat for a good cause.

All the posh Colombians seem to wear primarily white. All white. White on white on white. Very European. I unfortunately haven’t perfected the art of keeping it clean yet, particularly while beaching in 36 degree heat. At dinner, the couple at the table next to us (all in white of course) had even hired a private photographer for their engagement dinner. Lovely!

And so Colombia once again proves to be more than meets the eye. More then a developing country with millionaires to be specific.

The last week of my Colombian trip is full Gringo-ville I’m afraid. My first night in the hostel and I’m befriended by a group that even gave me a free mango daiquiri. Quickly their fiendish cocaine addiction became apparent. They were spending too much money so should stop drinking and just do Coke they reasoned. They were even all caught with it last night, and had to bribe police so as not to go to jail (which they complained about)

I finished my mango daiquiri, declined their lovely offer for a big night out and took to blog writing over a solitary beer.

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