Backpackers of Cartagena

Waking up with a massive hangover and minimal sleep under my belt, I was still super excited that MuiMui would be arriving in the afternoon.  As part of my older sister duties, my parents had instructed me to pick up the little one at the airport and get her safely to the hostel.  Did I mention the “little one” is twice my size and twenty-four years old?  And still can’t figure out how to take a ten minute, five dollar taxi from the airport to the most well known hostel in Cartagena?  Do you want me to wipe your ass too, because you don’t know how foreign toilet paper works. (Side note: the toilet paper actually has to be thrown in the trash since Cartagena has old sewers prone to clogging)

When I woke up at 8am with as many hours of sleep as I had consumed bottles of Aguardiente since I had arrived, I checked my phone and unsurprisingly MuiMui hadn’t remembered to text me when she left from New York.  Annoyed at her stupidity, I texted my dad to confirm that my idiot sister had gotten on the flight.  To which he responded “it’s not till tomorrow morning.”  Who’s the dumb idiot now?

I took her next day arrival as a blessing and went back to bed until I got a message half an hour later from Suffern, the guy I had sat next to on the plane.  We had met up, and run into each other at various points while incredibly intoxicated the night before, and his friend still hadn’t returned to their apartment from the previous night’s bender.  Both of us having nothing to do we agreed to meet up and check out the beach at Boca Grande.  My Colombian friend (the actual one, not Barry) had told me that it should cost no more than 6mil, so when we got into the taxi Suffern inquired “Cuánto cuesta?”

“Seis mil.”

“Diez mil?”

“Seis mil,” the driver responded holding up six fingers. 

Awesome bargaining skills.  When we got dropped off Suffern gave him a ten, got four back in change and then gave it back to him as tip.  Well someone is clearly not a backpacker. 

the beach at Boca Grande

When we go to the beach it was the same routine of vendor attack as in Crespo, which lead to the game of “How many times can I say ‘No, gracias’ in two hours.”  The answer is a fuck ton.  But the more aggressively you say it, the less times you have to.  Not lasting long at the beach with both of our hangovers, though a coctel de camaron, and a dip in the water did make me feel a bit better, we headed back into town to catch the Red Bull Cliff Diving championship.  We stayed about as long as it took us to walk from one entrance to the other, since there was approximately the entire population of the city on the waterfront, with the humidity of a set of balls on a summer day, and the wind of a Rihanna guestlist – no Breezy.  Instead we opted to watch the diving from his roof while enjoying the panoramic city view and limonadas.  Unfortunately halfway through the first round my hangover started raring its head and I headed back to the hostel to attempt to nap without air conditioning. 

roof with a view

Later in the evening I headed over to the other hostel for an evening of international cooking.  For about $10 we were able to feed four people schnitzel, shakshuka (learned Israeli food!), chicken skin chicharon and a loaf of bread.  I eventually wandered back to my own hostel and got into bed.  I was chatting with an English guy sleeping across the room when one of our ten other roommates came in – a geriatric old man.  I know I’m getting a bit old for hostels, but by the time my tits are sagging as close to the ground as his balls were, I think I’ll call it quits on sharing a room with a bunch of drunk twenty somethings on gap year.  Oldie Moldy immediately jumped into our conversation about New York hostels stating that where he was from in Canada, they were having problems with debris from the Japanese earthquake of 2011 now washing up on the shores, all said while giving me some serious stink eye.  Chill dude, I didn’t personally bomb you when you were in Pearl Harbor.  After stating his piece about the Japanese, he left the room to wash his dentures. A few minutes later he returned.  He walked to his bed next to British Boy, turned his back to him and bent over to drop his pants and sleep in his tighty whities.  Sorry British Boy, and good luck getting that vision of eighty year old butthole out of your head.

The next day was the day MuiMui actually arrived.  She texted me when she made her flight and was at the terminal waiting for me when I arrived.  Good job, little one. I got her back to the hostel in one piece, and left her in the dorm to change while I talked to the guy sleeping under me about his new girlfriend, AKA the Colombian girl he had been on three dates with from Tinder.  He said he was hoping to move out of the hostel soon.  Apparently Tinder is the new CouchSurfing. 

When my sister returned she had befriended another Asian girl from our dorm whom I invited to lunch with us.  Lunch was with 007 and Nietzsche, two guys I had met the night before so I stepped up to make introductions.  “This is MuiMui and this is Banana.  My sister is this Asian one,” I said pointing to MuiMui. Call me racist, but if two Asian girls around the same age showed up, how were they supposed to know which one was my sister. 

After lunch MuiMui, Banana and I decided to head over to Castillo San Felipe, which was a major part of the fortress protecting the city.  As an experienced traveler I should’ve known better than to visit a fortress, because staring at old walls gets boring really quickly.  But at least there were some decent view of the city. 




Afterwards, we walked back to town getting slightly lost at every turn, because three Asian girls are not only bad at navigating cars, but their feet as well.  Eventually, we made it and then managed to get lost on our way to the sunset at Cafe del Mar.  We missed the sunset, but the ocean breeze was more than welcome as was the entertainment of hearing about Banana’s crazy adopted family of eleven siblings from a bunch of different continents.  I’m pretty sure she’s a Jolie-Pitt and was just hiding it from us. 



Enjoying the breeze until the sun went down, to quote my sister “Niggas is hungry,” so we headed to dinner.  MuiMui had gone to dinner with my dad’s favorite cousin a few days before the trip and she had generously given MuiMui $100 to spend on a nice dinner so we wouldn’t be eating street food every day.  Seeing as my average lunch was about $5 I thought eating $100 in one meal would be nearly impossible.  Maybe I haven’t met me yet.

Being admittedly a bit of a foodie, I always check out Anthony Bourdain’s recommendations when I enter a new country, and if feasible, I try the places he’s visited.  For Cartagena it was Cevicherria. We invited Banana along with us and MuiMui and I immediately ordered a round of drinks – because there’s no faster way to run up a tab than sending it straight to your liver.

Once we were seated, we proceeded to try and narrow down the whole menu and settled on ordering octopus ceviche because we’re both obsessed with octopus, and then what the waiter recommended, which happened to be the most expensive item on the menu.  Sold.  And with another round of drinks please. 


When the food arrived, we were not disappointed.  Our ceviche was light and citrusy, with melt in your mouth octopus and the Seafood Volcano was beyond words.  It consisted of calamari, conch, crab, shrimp and a whole lotta other things in a rich smoky vegetable sort of dry stew.  


“oh you look smart, you look smart”


We finished just about everything, and decided the best way to close the meal would be to have a shot of Aguardiente because, Colombia.  We also bought Banana one and made her do a shot with us because she doesn’t drink, and we’re assholes.  MuiMui and I’s food and drinks alone came to over $100, so I would say mission accomplished.  And not a bad first day of traveling for the rookie. 

guaro all day, errrrryday


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