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Cartagena Travel Blog

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The final sunset in South America
The sun sets not only over my time in Colombia, but also over my time in South America.  Today I sail towards Panama and Central America to start a whole new chapter of the adventure.  I´ve crossed 8 borders (some of them several times!) in 8 months and learnt so much along the way.  I´ve been privelleged to have more "once in a lifetime experiences" than i could have ever imagined including; Galapagos, Machu Picchu, the Salt Flats, Nazca, Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Carnaval in Salvador, sailing the Amazon and trekking to the Lost City. I´ve encountered some incredible people along the way and made friends with people who have shared and even created the experiences.  I´ve learnt about Chimus, Incas, Tayronas, Indigineous tribes and more, tried everything from Pisco to Aguardiente, Malbec to Capirinhas, acai to lulo, bunelos to empanadas, steak to arepas and savoured every flavour.
The last night chilling at Media Luna hostel

I´ve been humbled to be accepted by cultures and people different from my own and it´s been a huge part of the journey learning Spanish and being able to speak with the locals in their own language and learn about their lives, hopes and dreams.  I´ve discussed politics and religion and learnt that we´re all suffering the same difficulties and struggles, just some more obviously.  I´ve also learnt that the rich and poor divide isn´t only distinguisable by money,  the people here somehow seem more at peace with themselves than we do in the West.  They carry their babies close to them, never in prams, they never scream at their kids and in return their kids are calm and chilled out, there´s no mollicoddilling and the children seem to be better for it.
A final cocktail at Cafe del Mar with Susanne, Kate, Jenny, John, Hannah, yours truly, Luke and Harold
  It´s a joy when they come to you as curious and unafraid of you as you are of them.  The pride these people have in their culture and identity still impresses me.  I love the hope and determination they have to make things better.  It´s been a massive learning experience.

And of course the music. The heartbeat of Latin America resonates through the Salsa, Samba, Cumbia, Tango and so many other styles of music that pour onto the streets from sidewalk cafes and clubs, cars and vans and even plain old transistor radios.  If you turned the music off this continent wouldn´t be the same.  Young, old, fat and thin people here come alive to the music and it´s true ... hips don´t lie!  There is something incredible about watching a family walking down the street at night all huddled together and stopping when they hear music they love and all of them breaking into dance, the sheer joy in their faces leaves me speechless each time. 

I´m hooked.  I think somewhere inside me is a Latino that was just waiting to be discovered.  The passion and vibrancy of this continent is not lost on me, it´s endeared itself to me forever.  This is the first of many visits. 

So there it is, a dream that started with seeing the Amazon and developed into travelling to a continent far removed from mine is finally realised.  Every expectation has been met head on and beaten, nothing has disappointed and everything has impressed.  The best thing about it is ... there´s more to come!

Vamos a Panama!

Sads79 says:
Not a bad place to end your time in S/A....I stayed at Media Luna and also had a few cheeky ones at Cafe del Mar....enjoy Panama, would love to read about it soon :)
Posted on: May 26, 2010
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The final sunset in South America
The final sunset in South America
The last night chilling at Media L…
The last night chilling at Media …
A final cocktail at Cafe del Mar w…
A final cocktail at Cafe del Mar …
photo by: vulindlela