We arrived in Cartagena, Colombia today at 9 am and were amazed at the skyline coming in. It's quite a big city founded in 1533. Part of the defence system built by the Spanish was a formidable wall around the old part of the city. We went on a four hour bus tour this day that took us to several historical sites including the fortress, a monastery, churches and a city square. Our tour guide was Eddie and he gave us wireless headsets so we could hear him over the noise of the bus. When we stopped at sites, he continually told us to stay together and when it was time to leave he would call out "Eddie Yoohoo" and we'd all come running. It's not a very clean place and there are lots of armed guards everywhere with very big machine guns. There is wealth in lots of areas but in most cases some very poor houses right alongside.
When we disembarked in a port, we were cautioned each time about accepting packages from strangers to bring aboard and that drugs are available and frequently offered. We were also cautioned about eating or drinking ashore. There were always lots of vendors around when we got off the bus and they were quite agressive. The women's whose photo Maureen took with the fruit on her head followed her for quite a way to try to get money for taking her picture.
The bus let us off at a "mall" (questionable), which was mostly jewelry stores. We went over to a liquor store and Maureen was grabbed by the hand and a woman began massaging her hand with some lotion. Maureen was unable to pull her hand away and the woman proceeded to massage the other hand as well as the back of her neck. When the woman went to massage Maureen's calves, she drew the line and said "Enough!!". Then the woman wanted $5 for the massage!
We left this port at 2:30 pm and headed for the Canal.