The people in and around Cartagena could obviously tell that we were in need of some affection and we must have looked a little run down, because everywhere we've gone here people call us "friend" and try to give us stuff or massages. And since true friends know what is in your best interest even better than you do at times, our thousands of Cartagena friends simply refuse to take "no" for an answer and insist on trying to give us their things or begin massaging us even after we have declined. In all seriousness, despite what we had read prior to arriving, the level at which we are constantly badgered has been much worse than I was expecting. In contrast, likely because of all the negative things we read about them prior to arriving, I have found the beaches in Cartagena to be pretty decent, but trying to walk down one of them with white (or in my case, slighly pinkish) skin is a little like covering yourself in honey and then running through the bear enclosure at the zoo.
A more pleasant surprise in Cartagena has been that the food variety and taste in the area we are staying (outside the Old Town, where the prices also look very European to us) is probably the best we have had on the trip to date. In addition to the abundance of fruit which has been typical of our Colombian experience, we have found ethnic and vegetable dishes which we would be happy to eat back home. The ugly side to the food here and elsewhere along the coast is that it has been cutting down people we have met like crazy and sending them to the latrines like a Frank Costanza Korean War flashback. So far, we have managed to get by in this region relatively unscathed, but we are patientily awaiting our turn to suffer.
Our pictures from Cartagena are here.
Lastly, in an effort to boost readership and fill in the many gaps I left in describing our time in Colombia, I believe that I have finally been able to talk Kristin into doing a post. Her taking over will give me the opportunity to relax for a couple of days, as well as the opportunity to become outrageously jealous if her posts turn out to be better received than my own. Should be fun.