spikesgirl58 (spikesgirl58) wrote,

Panama Day 15 – Santa Marta, Columbia

Weather – cloudless, sunny, 29 c and calm seas

We had a problem finding an excursion that we wanted to try at this port, so it was decided that we would just look around in town and leave it at that. It was a decision that we were all glad we made later on.

We got up, had breakfast and decided to wait until eight before doing anything. We went down to the gangway, grabbed a free shuttle through the container port where we had docked (it was too dangerous for us to be walking around in a working port).

I sort of knew we were in trouble when the information booth refused to give us a map because she only had one. She told me to take a photo of it, so I did. This proved to be a smart move, too. For the first time ever, my Spanish came in really handy as most of the locals did not speak English to any extent.

We shopped for a bit and Sparky finally found what she was looking for. By nine, we were drenched with sweat and shopped out. I flagged down a taxi – literally. I’d never done that before and we headed back for the port… except our driver spoke no English and I didn’t know the words for cruise ship. Yikes, thankfully the map I took a photo of showed el Termino de Santa Marta and he took us there. From there, it was a short walk back to the ship.

However, TBG decided that he wanted to go to a grocery store, so he got a taxi and took off. I was a little nervous about him going, but he had a cell phone and could call me for help in translating if need be.

Got back to the ship and appreciated the a/c. Sparky and I part ways then, as she wanted a shower and I really wanted to change shirts. I spent the rest of the morning writing, reading and waiting. At eleven, I heard the cabin door open and knew that TBG had made it back okay. He was hot and tired, but happy. He reported all that he’d found at the store (El Exito) and even visited their version of Home Depot.

We went up and had lunch, chatted with a Cruise Critic member who was very much lost with the website. I promised him my e mail the next time I saw him so he could ask me questions. He isn’t very Internet savvy and was happy for the help. We headed back to the cabin for a nap, then while TBG finished up some work, I headed to the pool to swim. Except that it was shoulder–to-shoulder. There was a large group occupying much of one end, but I managed to get a few laps in. TBG joined me and we ended up having a lovely conversation with our downstairs neighbor. She was even less savvy with things and TBG ended up giving her and another woman a lesson on how to deal with their cell phone overseas. She told me some horror stories of her time on excursion, which were echoed by others in the pool. Apparently the poverty in Columbia is considerable and away from the port, just a few streets in, there is squalor and abject poverty. The further you go from the city, the worse it is. I was glad that we’d stayed on the main street and didn’t stray. Even TBG said it was apparent when he went to the grocery store, although there are nice parts of town, most of it isn’t.

After a nice shower, I called Sparky and she came over. We finished watching My Neighbor Totoro just in time for dinner.

Dinner was nice and relaxing. Sparky started with a cold cucumber and yogurt soup, followed by wonton soup and then she had a veal cordon bleu. TBG had a potato, blue cheese tart (it was the veggie entrée) and shared it with the table. He also had the wonton soup and the veal cordon bleu. I had a shrimp cocktail, a Caesar salad, and a steak. The piece was big enough to feed three people and I confess that I couldn’t even make a dent in it. TBG tried, but even he didn’t do much damage. I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to eat that much meat.

Dessert Sparky had something chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. TBG had ice cream, a scoop of each flavor and I have a puff pastry swan, mostly because I wanted a photo of it. We headed back to the cabin while Sparky checked out the ship’s shop. I was out on the balcony enjoying the warm night air and star gazing. She joined me for a while, then we went in to start Up on Poppy Hill, another Ghibli. It didn’t take long, though, before we called it a day.

The ship was rocking and sleep came easy. Tomorrow is yet another day at sea. I hope it’s calm.
Tags: columbia, cruising, food, friends, travel
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