Day 8: Feeling the Heat in Cartagena

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Being Canadian, I experience very few truly hot days every year. My definition of “hot” most certainly differs from, say, a Texan, who deals with forty-plus degree days on a regular basis through the summer. Put me on a hot sidewalk on plus twenty five degree afternoon, and I’ll start melting into an Alex Mack-style puddle (high fives if you remember that show). Unless I have a body of water close at hand, the heat and I just aren’t good buddies.

As you might suspect, these musings on the temperature stem from experiencing some ridiculous heat today in Cartagena. Even Zevi, a self-proclaimed heat-lover, was suffering. The humidity is a big factor, making 32 feel like 46, which is a temperature that I don’t think that anyone should have to live through. On the other hand, every time that we say that we’re from Canada people come back with “hace mucho frio!”, or “it’s so cold!”. I’m sure they can’t imagine living through a winter where temperatures routinely dip below minus thirty.

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We did a bit more exploring of Getsemani and the old city today, but the heat stopped us in our tracks pretty quickly and had us scrambling to find some air-conditioned relief. After a couple of delicious fruit smoothies, we found the strength to make our way back to the hotel where we collapsed in a sweaty mess in our air-conditioned room. Fruit juices have been a staple in our Colombian diet – we just can’t get enough! The street vendors selling freshly squeezed mandarine orange juice have kept us hydrated in the old city, and we’re taking full advantage of the delicious jugo de lulo while we can get it.

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Once we’d recovered, we ventured out for lunch, back to Caffe Lunatico where we had eaten on our first day here. The mojitos were just as tasty as we remembered, and our food was top notch as well! My pork belly and avocado-filled arepa with pesto was to die for and had me gobbling up every last bite of salty goodness. Zevi was equally happy with his chicken wings and potatoes. We’ve found some great little restaurants in Getsemani, and we haven’t had to sacrifice any limbs in return for the food as we likely would have had to if we’d been eating in the old city.

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Though we didn’t quite see yesterday’s deluge, we got a solid downpour once again today. Luckily we were at a place where good food and drinks were plentiful this time, and having to sit at the cafe and wait out the storm was certainly not the worst thing we could have asked for. We had some good entertainment in the form of watching people try to navigate various vehicles through what become more of a canal than a road. We were told that Cartagena normally sees this type of weather in June, but it hadn’t rained much then, so perhaps the skies are making up for it now!

Tonight we had a relaxing night of people watching in the Plaza de Trinidad. The square, just adjacent to a large church, attracts both tourists and locals, who sit and chat and eat and drink and enjoy each others’ company. It was a great spot for people watching, and nice to be able to mingle with such a wide variety of people in a relaxed atmosphere. There’s one thing to love about the hot weather – it brings people out of their homes to chat with their neighbours. We returned to our hotel just a couple of blocks away for another type of spectacle – there was an amazing lightning storm happening close by, but not close enough for us to get rained on. We watched in awe from our rooftop patio as it continued for a good half hour or so.

Tomorrow we move on to Medellin, the city of eternal spring. Here’s hoping for some slightly cooler temperatures and lots more beautiful things to see!

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