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4 September 2006

Taganga: Bye to Sweden, Hello to Shakira

Day 255 – Thursday 1st June 2006

Check out was 11am. Come 10.45 we rolled out of bed and quickly tried to pack our things up and leave. I decided that I wanted to go to Cartagena and hang around there for the 10 days until my flight to Panama, so it would be goodbye to the Swedes until much later in the year when we had planned to meet up in England to take in some lash action.

sunset taganga

We all went to the bus station together where it was a quick goodbye and I jumped aboard a bus to make a two-hour trip to Barranquilla (birthplace of Shakira) where I would need to change buses to reach Cartagena.

The journey itself was uneventful, but my arrival in Barranquilla was a bit of a shambles. As we pulled up to the outskirts of the city there was an unofficial bus station, and the driver of my bus said I could change here for a bus to Cartagena, rather than going all the way into the centre of the city.

Good idea I thought, then my bowels surprised me I was left a little short. Having no public facilities nearby I went off in search of somewhere to drop the load. I soon realised this wasn’t that good an idea. I had all my stuff with me, I was blatantly not from around there, I was in a pretty dodgy area, I was attracting strange looks, and it was pissing down with rain.

Obvious robbery target, I decided I could wait for the toilet, went back to the makeshift bus station and jumped on the first available bus to Cartagena (it so happened there was one there just about to leave) and got the hell out of that place.

The two hours on the bus weren’t the most comfortable, being soaking wet and in need the toilet but overall I reckon its better to be on a bus whist wet, still have all of your possessions, and be in need of the toilet than be on a bus whilst wet, have a few less possessions and have crapped yourself when someone pulled a gun on you and robbed you!

That was my thinking anyway.

I arrived in Cartagena and discovered that the bus terminal is actually about and hour outside the town centre. Therefore I spend another hour on a city bus, reaching the town centre and finding a backpackers hotel. The first one I tried was full but the second one was decent enough with a double bed, fan and clean sheets for 10,000 Pesos a night (£1=4,500 Pesos).

I checked in (used the toilet!) and went out to the balcony to have a look at the street outside. The first person I saw there was a Dutch guy who I had been drinking with in Pasto when we were stuck there a few weeks before. I hadn’t really got on with them when we were in Pasto as I found them to be a little annoying by constantly trying to out-do everyone. I knew what to expect from them on this occasion and I didn’t pay too much attention when they started doing it again.

One of them had been exceptionally unlucky however and was in a pretty bad way. He had been staying at a nearby beach – Playa Blanca – a place similar to Tayrona National Park, and had been snorkelling with contact lenses. Somehow one of the lenses had scratched his cornea and caused a small cut. He had left it a day or so before his return to Cartagena, however in this time his eye had gotten infected and was clouded and he had no vision in the eye.

He had been to the doctor who had prescribed some medication and carried out some tests, but nothing seemed to be working. By the time I arrived he had been wearing an eye patch for a few days, complaining of bad headaches and dizziness. This obviously wasn’t a great predicament for the lad and he was pretty down at the time.

I spent the evening having a chat with the two of them and generally not doing much, before having a much-needed early night for the first time in a while.

One Comment on 'Taganga: Bye to Sweden, Hello to Shakira'

  1. Thought it was time I updated at least until I said goodbye to the Swedes as it is apparently “much later in the year”, and they will be about in Haverhill this weekend (28th October), where we will be taking in some Rovers FA Cup action.

    Posted by Roy on:

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