After a small glitch, we’ve finally arrived in beautiful Cartagena in the late afternoon. Not without some small apprehensions.
See, Jack and I don’t speak much Spanish. We each took a semester of Spanish in college – so we get the general gist of how the language works and know how to craft rudimentary sentences. Only in present tense of course.
Then I’ve also been trying to teach myself Spanish, mostly by singing along to songs. Unfortunately even though I now know how to declare my undying love to women (thank you, Enrique Iglesias) and how to start a class revolution (thank you, Manu Chao) – I’m still incapable of communicating simple things such as, ‘Where can I buy feminine napkins’, and ‘Eh, I ordered fish and there’s this beef looking thing in my soup.’
Cartagena: Beautiful and Unexpected
Two unexpected things about Cartagena we quickly discovered were how much prettier it is in person, how hot it gets during the day, and how little English is spoken around here. Ok, three unexpected things, I guess.
So, let’s just say that Jack and I couldn’t help but giving each other high-five at the end of our first day in Cartagena because somehow, in one day, we’ve managed to:
Bargain with our taxi driver and got ourselves to our hostel – even though I had a brain freeze and forgot the Spanish word for ‘eight’ and had to resort to counting out loud.
Order food – the unexpected beef soup (while ordering fish – we don’t eat red meat) was a true story. I then made an acute observation to the owner that, ‘No hay pescado on mi sopa’ (there is no fish in my soup). We later learned that when ordering a set lunch or ‘la comida corrientes’ it includes a bowl of soup (that might not necessarily contain your choice of meat) as an appetizer.
Found out where we could get a ‘tinto’ (a Colombian coffee). Apparently almost everywhere
Made friends and carried a 10 minute conversation with a very nice Venezuelan couple. Albeit a one-sided one. They did the talking, we did the, ‘Si, si’.
Celebrating small victories
At the end of the day, we celebrated the fact that we survived our first day by sharing a can of Alguila while sitting on our hostel terrace and watching the night life of Cartagena Old Town.
Small victories indeed, but we’re feeling on top of the world right now