I was hanging in Cartagena from some days already and I thought it was a good idea to have a look around. My last attempts to go in a beach in Cartagena were packed of bad experiences and assholes following me to tell me I’m “beautiful” in all kind of languages or dialects and even when in a spot with few people around I had to be touched by pushy massage girls that wanted to sell their services. Sick of been touched or followed I asked some suggestions at the hostel. That day ended up in what I would call the most unfunny day ever. But at least it ended!!!
First of all I needed to deal with public service which includes little private taxi motor bikes. The bus got me in more than half of hour waiting and been honked by all the motorbikes passing by the bus stop, and one hour trip that left me at Passacaballo. That was the cheapest option. The edges of Cartagena looked messy but at least real, with several favelas. The bus driver stopped for food or coffee at all corners. That was a nice delay.
When in Passacaballo I was left alone with a crowd of motorbiker assaulting me, who knows if it was for getting money for their “business” or to hook me up. That line was always too blurred for me to be confortable. On the end a guy put a helmet on my head and drove me through the bridge till the very beginning of the reserve. When I left I told him to not come back cause I was already in the mood to ask for a Lancha (boat for turist) to bring me straight in the harbour before the sunset instead of dealing with all this “compliments” around. The beach was certainly beautiful but packed and it was impossible to find a spot far from the noise of waterscooters. It is pretty common there that drivers hang like bees on the beachfront to show their service and on the end, the noise and smoke that they produce drove me crazy. I moved on the very end of the beach in a rocky and shady part. Best think you can do there is to sleep and chill, also because there are all kind of people trying to sell you massage, snorkelgoogles, fruit. I mean, it sounded like Mondello beach in Palermo, but way more intrusive. The other tourists seem to enjoy this madness so I might be too used to desolate rocky places like the ones I find where I come from. I thought I wasn’t ready for this and in a certain way a mix of bad impressions might have polluted the whole idea of Cartagena surroundings. The lancha passage was my last option… Pay a bit of more money but avoid to deal with marriage offers from all the biker had no price. I tried to fit even if most of the lancha
were packed of people already settled for a return trip from the harbour. That made sense cause everybody else was coming over by boat. It is not that common still, to go through the bridge, cause it is quite a new thing. Many people in town infact were telling that this bridge was not welcomed especially for those who were living a quite life in the reserve. I was freezing sailing back to Cartagena. We stopped in an other island to drop some customers and kids were swimming and climbing the boat hoping for some pesos from the tourists.
I thought that couldn’t be the Colombia I was hoping to find. Infact I had to change opinion very soon, but for sure, those big contraddictions of money chasing of a rising caribbean coast and the pushy adventures made me wonder a lot on how I could turn my trip into something less disappointing and made me wonder on how this beautiful pieces of world are turning from a simple living to a poor living.
At that time I didn’t know that my instinct of not following suggestions about where to go or what is worth to see was absolutely correct. After that, I never betraied myself anymore. And everything turned out better.
Sometimes we have to be brave and face ourselves. My problem wasn’t the beauty around which I could see, my problem was to be truth to my self and never accept sugestions. That was the first and last time having something that couldn’t fit my personality and my idea of travelling.
Weeks later I would have paied for the mistake of having somebody putting a dirty helmet (with lices) on my head.