(April 8 – written by Nancy)
Well, we have arrived on the last continent for this trip! Now, we just have about 13,000 kilometers to get to the bottom of South America…
We had a pretty lucky day today with the flight to Cartagena going off without a hitch. Our taxi arrived fifteen minutes early and we got checked in right away without any additional charge for our bikes. I did really miss Dave when he was travelling so much for work, but all those air miles mean that we get preferred status with the airline. That means easier check-in, larger baggage allowance, and priority boarding – yeah!
We had to wait through quite a long queue at immigration in Cartagena but when we finally got to the front we were through pretty quickly. All of the baggage, including our bicycles, were at the luggage carousel, being watched over by an airport employee. This guy proceeded to help us get all of our bags on a trolley, took us through the airport, first to the ATMs and then to where the taxis were and got us a van to take us to our hotel. Of course, he did expect a tip for this – I think he wasn’t too happy with what we had to give him but we had very little cash left. Oh well, win some, lose some.
Upon arriving at our hotel in the Getsemani neighbourhood we discovered that the electricity for the whole area was out for the day (scheduled to be out from 8-6pm) for some kind of planned outage. It’s pretty hot and humid in Cartagena so we weren’t too excited about it but we muddled through unpacking everything and getting the bikes put back together. Everything seems to be ok, the bike boxes were in pretty good shape and the plastic carry bags we used for the panniers held up, if just barely.
After unpacking we managed a cold shower, which felt pretty good, and then wandered out to see the neighbourhood. It seems like a pretty lively area, with lots of things to see. We ended up at some food carts by the water and had a glass of wine and a sandwich for dinner. Walking back in the dark to the hotel was a bit challenging, because it was really dark – the electricity was still out in the neighbourhood, even though it was after 6. Thank goodness for the flashlight app on our phones.
We are now sitting in the dark on the terrace of the hotel. The gal who seems to run the hotel said the electricity was now supposed to come on at 8pm. But, we just watched kind of a rolling power restart come toward us thinking we would be on shortly but unfortunately there was a big bang near us so I’m afraid that the power surge might have caused some problems near us. Some of the places near us appear to have power but we are still in the dark. Not sure how that is going to work for sleeping tonight, as the rooms are pretty warm. There are no screens on the windows, so we may either have to sweat it out or fight it out with mosquitoes. Hmm, maybe that was too much good luck for one day…
We plan to ride out of Cartagena on Thursday so we’ll do another update in a couple of days. Not sure when we will get to post this – hopefully later tonight when the power comes back on and we are sitting in our air-conditioned room.
(Junior editor note: power came back at 10PM – Photos from Cartagena follow)