Mud Volcano and more: In and around Cartagena, Colombia
Scenery changes, people come and go, things break or wear out, the language switches from time to time… but there has been one constant this trip: my front tire. A Kenda K761, has lasted me through the good times, the bad, and over 42000kms. But a new continent deserves a fresh start, a fresh tire, so I finally installed the Avon Gripster I’ve been hauling with me since we left my buddy Cam‘s place back in California.
I suppose that should go in the Motorcycle Minute section… More later.
Some things from Cartagena and area:
Met up with our amigos Tanya and Ernesto of Guatemala fame.
A major task in Cartagena was dealing with bike paperwork. For those of you looking for information on how to do that: Go HERE for the DIAN (customs) office to import the bike, then go HERE to buy insurance for 15$ for a month. Just don’t put your feet on their chairs or the insurance folk get upset. Kelly can tell you all about it some day. Also, when service is slow or wrong, don’t ask who you need to go yell at. Our American motorcycle compatriot did that, and it surprisingly didn’t help things along for him, but did slow down everything for everyone else.
The old walled city is very pretty. Which makes it a touch touristy. Which makes it very safe. Too safe, if you ask me.
Kelly and I were stopped and searched by police three times during our night walk around the wall. I suppose gringos in Colombia awake after bedtime leads police to only one conclusion: cocaine. We were innocent of such suggestions of course, but not without the local pushers trying. In hindsight, I did get the drug pushers hopes up and I could have more carefully chosen my words when I said “It’s so hot here I dream of snow”. Maybe the police overheard such things.
Overall, the walled old city is pretty, but a touch expensive and touristy. Now able to ride our bikes, we tried another local attraction: the mud volcano.
Mud Volcano? My friend Jen had recently visited Cartagena and recommended we head to the “mud Volcano”. A volcano? Of MUD?!! That must be the most amazing sight in the land!
A large anthill with stairs to the top surrounded by tourist vendor stands… not exactly an exciting proposition. I was already planning my “what the heck?” email to Jen. But we’d come this far and it was only 5000pesos (2.50$) to jump in, so why not.
Wait a minute… this is amazing!
The mud is warm, and very buoyant, it was like being suspended in outer-space, except with air, warmth, and mud. Ok, so nothing like outer-space, but the sensation was other worldly.
Then the teenage boys jumped in and started to rub us down. While Tanya floated on her back, Kelly noticed the boy was rubbing her back under the mud in such a way as to make her boobs jiggle, then staring at said jiggling boobs. They are teenage boys after all.
I received a much shorter massage than the girls did, for some reason. The boys did shove me down to completely submerge me below the surface however, a feat impossible to accomplish on my own due to the buoyancy of the mud.
As we exit the mud volcano, we note the genius of their set up. Children have flocked in to carry our clothes, saving them from our muddy appendages. One of these children has been taking photos for us with my camera the whole time. We are then led down to the lake, where women strip us naked, wash us and scrub our muddy swim suits.
The clothing carriers, the photographer, the mom’s scrubbing you: It’s all for a tip of course. And lets not for get those boys who made your tits jiggle. There were many hands out. In the end all were worthy of their tips, as it was a surprisingly fun morning. Speaking of tips, thank you Jen for this one, as this mud volcano was a blast!
A short ride back to Cartagena, where we moved into our first air-conditioned hostel of the trip. Cartagena is HOT. Too hot to bear in the midday sun, and still hot under the midnight moon.
The air-conditioning at the hostel was great, but their resident parrot sounded like a dying goat early every morning.
We managed to get in touch with Roger and Sasha from the Ednabel.
We had met them while sailing in the San Blas, Roger having organized the little island BBQ party. We went for drinks on their boat and some dinner. Great little meet up. Roger even let us in on his custom modification of the boats water tank. It doesn’t hold water: it holds 120 liters of Gin!! The water-maker machine on-board makes the extra tank somewhat obsolete, and think of the weight and space savings on the glass bottles!
A great stop with good catching up with friends and getting the bikes sorted. Cartagena though, with dying-goat mimicing parrots, and the suffocating heat, had us feeling it was time to move on. With my new front tire leading the way, next stop Monteria!
After the tire change, next up was an oil change. I now understand why they put little reminder stickers on your windshield at Mr. Lube, as jugs was now at over 7000km since my last oil change. A little angry at myself for overlooking this. Great folks at the lube shop, they didn’t mind much when I made a bit of a mess.
So now Jugs needed a wash. Though really she was due anyways. Even tho Jugs was wrapped in a plastic sheet, the terrors of sea spray are not to be under estimated. Jayne took Cricket for the same much needed TLC.