So we thought we had Colombia all figured out. We now know it is ocho mil, not diez mil, to take a cab to BocaGrande. We know that if you want to walk to the grocery store, you better get there before high tide, or your sandals will be soaked. We know that we cannot go up the mast around 4:30 pm, because at that time the wake from the water taxis racing to the fuel dock is too much.
And so it was in this state of self-assurance that Mel, while cooking a delicious gourmet dinner, placidly gazed at the nearby Castillo de San Felipe, its cannons haphazardly pointing into to bay.
She turned around and saw cylindrical chunks of whatever it is hotdogs are made of splayed across the counter, meat rays pointing straight at her beloved electric Cuisinart Griddler. She opened the Griddler, and like the first explorers discovering new lands, it took her a while to comprehend what she was looking at. “Boy,” she thought. “Colombian hotdogs sure are packaged in some shiny intestines.” And then, “Oh no! Noooo!” The hotdogs, which had come in the familiar vacuum-sealed plastic packaging, had been INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED.
Hungry, Mel spent the next 15 minutes degloving the hotdogs of their poisonous shells. But they were still delicious!
She should have known. Everything here is individually wrapped, and then packaged again in a bigger bag. Freshness is clearly a priority in a town where one is always hot and sticky.
Still under the influence of Marquez, Mel interpreted the incident as a message from Cartagena that it is time to move on. So after a fantastic sendoff from their new Colombian friends with cooking lessons, beach fun, pool swimming, fish eating, and game playing, the Burnetts will throw off their docklines and go 105 nautical miles upwind to Santa Marta, likely tonight, if the winds agree. We will always think fondly of Cartagena and the great people we have met here, and maybe one day we will return. But we must cruise on. After all, we are in Colombia, and we haven’t seen any spiders yet! Mel hopes they come individually wrapped…