Monday, May 28, 2012

The Sharks of Cartagena: Cartagena, Columbia

First Port on the 15 Day Celebrity Millennium Cruise:

Cartagena, Columbia
 Beware the Vicious Two-Legged Sharks

Cartagena is a beautiful city rich in history, but infested with sharks. That's right you heard correct, the city of Cartagena in the country of Columbia is infested with sharks, sharks that have voracious appetites for your attention and wallet. 

From the second your bus makes a stop, vendors are waiting and begin to swarm by the door attempting to sell you their "unique handmade/hand drawn" goods that every other vendor in a 20 foot radius will also have, shoving them in your face and occasionally trying to put things like hats on you. It was virtually impossible to walk more than 2 minutes while outdoors without hearing "Lady! Lady! Lady!" followed by some price which will drastically drop as your walk away, oh and your tour guide will most likely encourage this unceasing onslaught.

Unfortunately, I don't quite remember much of the history I learned while at the Fortress Castillo San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, nor much while at the Inquisition Palace, because most of the time I was distracted by vendors (with whom I eventually just turned a blind eye to), or from the oppressing heat and humidity, and our tour guide's love for the often repeated phrase "Do you understand what I am saying?" I should also mention that our tour guide was a bit of unsavory and made me feel entirely uncomfortable, starting the day off with him placing the tour sticker in the no fly zone section area of my chest.

Overall, I would have to say this was definitely my least favorite port of call while on our Celebrity cruise, mainly because of the obnoxious and bold attitude of the street vendors left me tired and unable to really take anything in. It is indeed a beautiful city to be experienced, but you must constantly be on your guard with all the people constantly trying to sell you their "unique" and "hand made" replicated souvenirs. I hope to one day be able to go back and not get accosted by the sharks of Cartagena.

**I should also add that thanks to the United States Secret Service's not so secret discretion is now a highlight on the tour which includes a drive by the hotel where their actions took place not so long ago. 

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