Back to winter wonderland

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Time to dig out! Was it just Monday when we were basking a couple hundred miles from the equator?


Leaving for Bogota

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Here is our shiny new Airbus A320.


Waking up to reality

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One of my friends wrote to ask if we’re ready to return to the snow of Boston. In another dose of American reality, we woke up to the above headline in the Sunday paper: our less than esteemed Sen. McCain right here in Cartagena to pitch a trade deal. We saw a pesky black helicopter overhead Fri night and Sat afternoon; it was probably presidente Juan Manuel Santos’ “Air Force One”.

McCain was also here to view the natural disaster areas. I wish he could have experienced it our way: in his “Straight Talk Express” bus stuck in 20 hours of traffic as cars squeeze past still-lingering cascades of muck on the road. Leave the helicopter behind!


Nightlife in Cartagena

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Why can’t Boston have more places like this? Above is part of the crowd at Studio 54.


El Taj de Cartagena

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Thinking of our friends Ron & Dan traveling in India this week, outside a gallery halfway around the world.

Visit their blog at lenscraft.com to see magnificent pro shots of the real thing.


Cartagena at dusk

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We made it, checked into a snazzy hotel in time for a stroll at dusk in the Old City (one of Latin America’s oldest, in fact).


Next stop: Cartagena

Yesterday evening, Luis gave me the news that we don’t yet have a reservation for travel from our next destination (Cartegena) back to our international departure which is scheduled for Monday the 10th.  I´ll spare the details but basically what I found is that Colombia has achieved so’called “First World” status when it comes to airline reservation systems.  (There’s a reason I no longer work on aviation-related computer systems: they all became terrible about 10 years ago.)  That means unless you don’t mind ignoring the pain of a full-fare price, then you’ll spend hours clicking through 10 different websites hunting for a bargain.

I turned the problem over to Luis this morning and had him buy a pair of tickets on the #1 (uber high-priced) Colombian airline Avianca which we’ll use on Sunday afternoon. (I’ll spare another detail: the actual price paid…)

Ah it would be so nice if it were possible to plan all contingencies and make all plans ahead of a trip.  Making new arrangements during a trip, when it becomes last-minute by definition, takes part of the fun out of a trip.

Now I’m hoping we can at least reach Cartegena before dusk today.


The beach at Tayrona

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Looking out over the playa after the shuttle brought us into Tayrona natural park. Luis just finished his snack and I climbed up the boulders. This is my view.


Santa Marta here we are

Lonely Planet has this place about right: it’s a bit anticlimactic after the 24-hour-and-5-minute journey from San Gil. (One of our longest ever, even compared to our few trips Boston to Asia.) Not complaining though – except for a brief rainstorm, the weather here at the beach is perfect.

No picture tonight, my cell phone battery went flat and I just want *sleep*.


The force of water

It’s now 4 hours past our arrival schedule but many hours more to Santa Marta. What happened to route 45A was nothing short of cataclysmic!


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