Friday, July 24, 2009
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas - Colombia
I never felt threatened in Cartagena during the day, but at night I went out with others; I wouldn't think of being alone on the street after 10:00pm, it would be insanity because there are so many desperately poor people you would be mugged within the hour.
At 2:00am one morning I was leaving the Dural Hostel and I asked the proprietor to wait until I got across the street and into my own hotel before he locked his door again. Stepping into the street, three mossy looking homeless boys approached me with their hands out, so I wasn't taking any chances. What was shocking was just how many people were on the street wandering around at that hour. It really was like the Dawn of the Living Dead.
I flew to Cartagena, Colombia from Panama City, Panama. October is hot and humid. There were loads of renovations going on in the old quarters but I stayed at the Sunrise Hotel, a ten-minute walk from there, for $5.00 a night. All the hotels in the old quarter were fairly expensive. If you're there for a week, then it wouldn't be a problem, but I had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my money. Across from my hotel was the Dural Hostel, filled with backpackers and bikers. I was surprised at how many men were motorcycling around South America on their own, and loving it.
Colombia is one of my favorite countries. The people are friendly, and there aren't many tourists because of Colombia's reputation. I never worried about travelling in this area. Just take the necessary precautions, and as long as you stay away from areas of conflict (usually around the border), it's okay.
I really appreciated the signs telling me where to go for beer. It was sweaty hot the whole time I was there. What foresight!
Here's the impressive Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas in Cartagena. The view of the city from here was awesome.
Adorable boys I saw from the bus on their way home from school.
At the same time, there were many other tragic children sleeping on the streets during the day and begging at night. This kid was the color of ashes he was so filthy, and the corner where he was sleeping reeked of urine. These were the kids who were roaming the streets all night and early morning. Thankfully, there are a few organizations trying to address the problem.
Posted by Nancy O.