Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting in Cartagena

Our flight to Cartagena was quick and uneventful. We had once again given Winston a sedative so he would not stress in cargo. The plane took off on time and one hour and one glass of wine later we had a smooth landing. By the time we had cleared immigration, Winston's crate and our baggage were waiting along with an official from animal cuarentina, known in Colombia as ICA (eeka). He took us into an office, checked Winston's paperwork, filled out and stamped another form for a total cost of $26.00 and we were clear to enter Colombia. We had elected to splurge a little and stay at the Hilton Hotel, which are a pet friendly chain. Once we arrived, the entire staff became smitten with Winston. One of the desk clerks is also called Winston and this caused great hilarity for all concerned. We were shown to our room, beautiful, fantastic and awesome come to mind. After spending most of the past 8 months in the RV, having a king sized bed and huge bathroom with plenty of hot water is indeed a luxury. Oh, and let's not forget a television! Being late, we fed Winston and gave him a walk on the beach but he was still too groggy to enjoy it much. We ate at the hotel restaurant and before going to sleep, I took a luxurious bubblebath - heaven. Monday, our RV was supposed to arrive but there was a delay leaving the port in Panama so we will be staying at the Hilton for another night. We decided to spend the day in the old town. Cartagena was one of the original walled cities and as such is filled with historic landmarks and forts. We also wanted to get some Christmas shopping accomplished, so we are not rushed at the last minute sending the gifts back to the States. Colombia is famous for it's emerald mines and I wanted to check out emeralds and prices. After a day of shopping we found most of the presents we needed to purchase and a beautiful emerald ring for me. I was ecstatic. We had decided to try one of the restaurants in the walled city and after asking around went to one called Casa de Sorocco. They serve typical Colombian food so it should be interesting. Hmm. Turtle, which is protected all over Central America was listed on the menu. Tom decided to try it, I declined. He didn't like it. I also found the beef dish I ordered quite greasy and had most of it wrapped to go - Winston will be grateful. All in all, it wasn't very satisfying. Tuesday, we ran into another problem proving once again that having some flexibility is essential. The boat is here in Cartegena but the port is congested and the shipping office has not been given any information on when a dock will be available. "Call tomorrow morning (Wednesday) I was told". Another night at the hotel. We spent Tuesday hanging out at the hotel, on the private beach with Winston and lazing by one of the three pools - I could get used to this. Everyone knows Winston and staff calling out his name, greet us whereever we go. This night we eat in the hotel restaurant again. The food is excellent and the service attentive, especially because we are Winston's parents! We called the shipper early Wednesday morning. Ship is still anchored out at sea and please call back in the afternoon, they are hopeful there will be a dock available today. Not an hour later, our ship with the huge Wallenius Wilhelmsen markings appeared in the bay. "There's our boat" I said excitedly to Tom. It remained in the bay so tantalizingly close all day. I called the shipper again at 4pm and we were told that they should be able to get into port at 6pm. and for us to be at their office early Thursday. Another night in the hotel. The expenses for the part of our travels is rising exponentially. To boot, there is a huge convention happening at the hotel and it is now at capacity, which raised the room price by $100.00 to $300.00 per night, ouch! But we are reconciled with the wait and again spend our time between the playa with Winston and the pools. We also hope that we can get our motorhome back on Thursday. It is Thanksgiving at home but in Colombia just another day.

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