Behold a top ten list of my most valuable discoveries:
- By American standards, sunscreen is ridiculously expensive, like, US$15-per-bottle expensive.
- Cartageneros embrace their hot and humid environment. Despite the sky-high temperatures and sticky air, many people forego air conditioning in favor of ice-cold limeade.
- Locals are not judgmental, and race is not a taboo subject. I saw people of all shades, and I was never called a mona or a gringa.
- Cartageneros are proud first to be Caribbean and second to be Colombian. They brag about their local environment, handicrafts, clothing, and customs.
- Chiquita Bananas are real, but fair warning: the fruit they carry atop their heads commands an absurd price.
- Locals are more adept to city living. They move aside when someone tries to pass. They maintain a reasonable walking pace.
- Bocagrande is basically a rich man’s ghetto. When not completely absent, the sidewalks are poorly maintained; even the condominiums, which were laughably constructed in the first place, are in desperate need of repair. A vast majority of the license plates read “Bogotá,” so I have to infer that Bogotanos are those leading the surge against walkable communities. As a result, Bocagrande is void of all sense of place, all character and charm—a stark contrast to the nearby walled city of Cartagena.
- Cartageneros have embraced the art of mixed juices and smoothies, and the result is so, so delicious.
- Whereas many of the tourists Seth and I encountered in the Eje Cafetero were Irish, in Cartagena we met mostly Germans.
- Despite the lack of abundant private security, Cartagena feels safer than Bogotá (Bocagrande not included).