Jesus was at the hotel promptly at 7h30 to pick us up.
Today was Sunday and, unlike the day of our arrival, there was hardly any
traffic on the roads. Carlos and his wife were at the aeroclub to greet us
and Jesus accompanied Flemming in the plane to the airport apron while I
drove with Carlos and his wife. Like on our arrival, Carlos and Jesus took
us to the various airport offices to speed things up for us.
We said farewell to our new friends and took off for Cartagena. Jesus had
advised us to fly as much over the sea as possible due to drug traffickers
who might mistake us for anti-drug police and shoot at us. As it turned out,
on the odd occasion when we were flying over land, we were mostly above the
clouds, so invisible to those on the ground. It was good to know that the
stormscope was working because we had to go through some rain showers this
time. The flight took just over 5 hours Ė the last of the long ones for a
Upon landing we were greeted by a whole army of customs officials as well as
the anti-narcotics police with their Labrador. This was the second time we
had to take everything out of the plane. It was boiling hot on the tarmac
and difficult to keep our tempers. Also I had a splitting headache. The
anti-narcotics police were pretty thorough, even sniffing our herb tea and
my Agiolax laxative granules! I had thought they would only bother to do
this on our departure from Colombia but, as Flemming said, we had been
flying in Colombia before arriving at Cartagena and just might have picked
up some drugs on the way.
Cartagena was one of the first cities to be built by the Spanish in South
America and it has a beautifully preserved colonial centre. There are a
couple of 5-star hotels in converted convents, but they didnít give generous
discounts to pilots and were over 200 dollars a night, so we stayed at the
Hostal San Diego in a lovely old house in the northern part of the colonial
centre where the middle class used to live. Having saved on the room, we
decided to have dinner at one of those 5-star convents, the nearby Santa
Clara Hotel. One of the waiters showed us round the tastefully decorated
hotel and swimming pool area. Later, we enjoyed a gourmet meal al fresco at
their French restaurant.
Had a great time exploring the streets of Cartagena. We went into probably
the best shop for quality handicrafts and replicas of pre-Columbian artwork.
The owner was a charming Colombian lady married to a French archaeologist.
When we told her we were living in Geneva, she said her husband supplied the
Barbier-Mueller museum that specializes in pre-historic artwork. Quite a
coincidence since, as I told her, I used to work as an au pair for the
Barbiers back in 1967!
Another gourmet dinner, this time at the lively El Mar de Juan, frequented
mostly by well-to-do young Colombians, and good looking ones at that. Some
of the girls could have happily competed in the Miss Colombia beauty contest
that was held that evening in Cartagena. One of the contestants had
gracefully posed for me that afternoon.