To Cartagena, to Meet the Hinks

We managed to pull off a semi-last-minute visit from Jazz’s parents, in which we would spend some time traveling around Colombia together. So we set off to prep the boat for both a visit and an absence, which meant pickling the watermaker, a trip to the hardware store, and washing the mattress pads after our food-poisoning-induced sweat-fests. You can very much see the state of our recovery in these two photos.

Not that we were the only ones working. Here’s Captain “keeping the birds off the boat,” poorly, and a nice sunset.

We wanted to bring the Captain with us, which meant we needed to get some paperwork so he would be allowed on planes. That meant he got to ride in a taxi to the vet’s office. He was not thrilled, mostly because he had to get a liquid dewormer treatment (standard pre-travel; he doesn’t actually have worms), and he did his best to violently spit the medicine all over his carrier, the floor, and his loving and tolerant parents.

We were just two days from departure with a long TODO list, when Jazz managed to finagle us a COVID booster shot. Look at the enthusiasm in this pre-shot selfie!

That enthusiasm was pretty short-lived. After waiting about two hours despite there not really being a line, we were given full doses of Moderna (as opposed to the half doses most US boostees are gettting.) We were super excited to get Moderna boosters after our Pfizer originals, but we were less enthusiastic about the large-dose side effects. Jazz managed to get the Christmas tree up before collapsing into a semi-vegetative state that would last most of the next three days.

So Andrew got some small subset of the list done while managing to keep Jazz and Captain alive, and somehow managed to drag both of them to the bus station. We got swept up by a salesman as we left the cab, and ushered onto a neary empty bus that was leaving “right away” for Cartagena. After about 20 minutes of watching Raya dubbed in Spanish, we were informed that actually this bus would not be leaving, and moved ourselves onto a different bus.

Bus two might not have been as nice and new as the first bus, but it did actually depart. And so we had the standard bus experience, vendors coming on to sell various foods and drinks, the occasional police check, Captain mostly staying put in his bag or on a lap, and Jazz doing her best to stay passed out through it all and keep her breakfast from making another repeat appearance.

So we made it in to the bus station, taxi-ed into town, and checked into a little, bare-bones hotel for our first night. Andrew went for a walk while Jazz passed out watching Harry Potter, which was mercifully playing on the hotel’s TV.

The next morning we got up and had hotel breakfast. Then we moved the luggage and cat four blocks to the AirBnB that would be our home for the next few days, and went out for second breakfast to celebrate that grand achievement. Eggs Benedict and Shakshuka! Truly we are in a city again. On the way back, we paused to note that the shop-window aesthetic here is… different than we’re used to.

Andrew took a late-morning walk around the city walls, which was a terrible idea because it was very hot out. And Jazz took a late-morning nap, which was much smarter, though if we’re being honest it wasn’t much of a choice.

We reconvened in the afternoon, and tried to visit a brewpub which turned out to be closed, but was also located in a pretty cool looking circus-theater-turned-concert-hall/mall. We headed south from there, for a walking tour of Getsemani, the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood outside the walled city UNESCO site where all the street art and hip hostels are. We were a few minutes early, which meant we could get a drink at a nice little tap house. Andrew has a hard time passing by somewhere called “Beer Lovers”, though note the number of missing taps.

The street art was really quite excellent, with everything from birds to tributes to “Gabo” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) to weird nightmare crab-horses.

The tour brought us back to the walled city, marked by churches and balconies and some impressive Christmas decorations. It also seems that huge knockers are a thing here.

We stopped back at the hotel to change for dinner, and then had a drink at a “rooftop” bar where the rooftop would open much later than we were going to be awake.

Then we headed around town looking for a gastropub we’d passed on the tour, only to stop half a block short and eat mediocre Spanish-ish food in a beautiful courtyard.

When we got back to our rooms, we discovered that Jazz’s growing ankle discomfort was due to her shoes literally falling apart on her. Yet another example of how boats destroy everything, these copies of her wedding shoes turned out not to like being stored in a hold, even vacuum packed. RIP heels, but also, the resulting blisters turned out to match exactly the height of the top edge of the only other shoes she had brought, leading to exactly the ramifications that you’re expecting for the rest of the trip.

In the morning, we had breakfast, checked that the Cat was enjoying his new stomping grounds, and then went back out for lunch. Basically this would be the story of the next two weeks, staggering from one eggs Benedict to the next plate of tacos.

To start that process, we would pick up the Hinks at the airport, which is the next piece of the story. For now, we’ll just note that the taxi ride there is the closest we got to visiting the fort.