|Since we did not have to leave until 10:00 for our flight, we decided to sleep in. I got up about 7:15 to shower. I decided to skip shaving since there is no hot water at the sink. I then went out to the courtyard to work on the blog, download the Star Ledger, and try to upload a journal entry.
Jean came out about 8:15 and we had breakfast. Since we had time, we both requested scrambled eggs, mine with cheese. We also had the toast and fruit. Mostly everyone else had already eaten. The single ladies were just sitting at their table and talking while having their morning coffee.
We returned to the room to finish packing. Even though bags were to be out at 9:30, I placed them outside at 9:00. I was ready, so after I opened the shutters in the room for Jean, I sat outside in the courtyard (I enjoy the natural light), and continued updating the blog.
We left at 10:00 to head to the local airport. There are no direct flights from here to Cartagena, so we will fly first to Bogota, and then from Bogota to Cartagena. It was a quick ride to the airport and Diego collected our passports and did a group checkin and obtained our boarding passes. We waited in the lounge area until he handed us our boarding passes. We could not go through security for another 20 minutes as they were not open yet. I moved to a charging station to charge my iPad. Then when security opened, we quickly proceeded through to our gate waiting area. Diego had arranged for us to board before they announced general boarding, which was nice.
Jean had the aisle seat and I had the window seat in row 17. When we got to row 17 there was a young woman with a little baby, I thought this would be a fun flight with three+ of us in the row, but she was supposed to be at the window in row 18, and there was no one assigned to the middle seat so she was able to spread out. Ron ended up as the person in our middle seat for the short 55 minute flight. I caught up on some back issues of the Star Ledger during the flight.
At the Bogota airport, we had about 1 1/2 hour wait until they begin boarding. We got seats at the gate, and then I went hunting for some lunch. I purchased two small chicken empanadas and a bottle of water. Jean ate food she had packed: plantain chips, club crackers and she drank the two blackberry juice boxes we received on Tuesday's plane ride.
When it was time to board, Diego got us onboard first. Except we got to the plane door, it was chained off. The plane was not done being serviced. So we had a five minute wait outside the plane door before actually boarding. Jean had the window, and I had the aisle. The flight was a full flight to Cartagena. We had a young lady sit between us for the 1 1/2 hour flight. Jean read and watched an episode of 11/22/1963 on the entertainment system. They did not offer headphones, so I finally caught up with all of the newspapers.
We landed about 4:00 and had to walk down stairs and cross the tarmac to the arrivals building. Boy, were we hit in the face with the heat and humidity. We had to wait for our luggage, so everyone hit the WC and sat and waited until the porters had all of the bags. We then followed Diego out of the airport to our bus.
We had about a 10 minute ride to the old town. First impression of Cartagena? It looks like any of the Caribbean islands, beautiful with nice beaches. I took off my leggings on the bus ride to the hotel. On the ride, it looked like it was going to rain. Oh, well. We arrived at the Bantu hotel about 4:30. We received a bottle of cold water, and a nice fruit drink. We went to our gorgeous room and waited for Diego to call us with the dinner choices, and for our luggage to arrive. Our room is nice. It has a loft with another be and a/c unit, and a canoe on the overhang. (Does it rain that much?)
We met in the lobby with our umbrellas at 5:30 for our orientation walk in a light rain around the hotel starting with the Plaza Fernandez de Madrid square. Then Diego pointed out the usual store, ATMs, & restaurants. Then we walked to Crazy Salsa where we were to have our cumbia dance lesson. It was in an upstairs dance studio. Six of the ladies and three of the men did the dance. Our dance instructors had us first warm-up our bodies with stretches, head rolls, etc., and then they explained the origin of the dance. It began as a courtship dance practiced among the African population on the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. We learned a few steps. Then the men were given a hat and the ladies were dressed in a native skirt. We began learning more and putting the whole dance together. It was a little exhausting swinging the hips all of the time, but fun. Then the dance instructors did a complete cumbia dance for us.
We returned in the rain to the hotel to refresh before going to dinner at 7:30. Dinner was a quick walk in the rain to the Agave restaurant. We sat with Ana and Ron and had delightful dinner conversations. Our choices for tonight were: appetizers - ceviche, steak tartare, and fish soup; entrees - pesto chicken, beef steak, and wok vegetables. I had the fish soup and pesto chicken. Jean ordered the steak tartare and beef steak. The soup was full of fish meat, and the chicken was nice and moist. For dessert, we were served rum raisin ice cream, mmmmm.
We returned to the room about 9:00 to unpack, and relax before going to sleep. We watched part of the movie "Logan.". Tomorrow is a 8:00 start.