Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cheeky Luxury and Playa Blanca Reunion

The next morning we awoke with similar problems to before. Moving around in the area to the west of Cartegena is not generally a well trodden backpacker route, so things do not fall into place with any ease. As it happened (and indeeed often happens), this worked to our advantage as the only way to move towards Playa Blanca by boat was via a relaxing morning on a luxury island resort – damn. So four quite smelly backpackers arrived on an island that costs 250,000 pesos (about US$120) a night to stay on. We had some breakfast, saw my first toucan and quite cheekily went to lie in their hammocks overlooking the pristinely cared for beach, ordered a beer from the staff and had a bit of a swim – sweet!

After this we took a couple of lanchers to Playa Blanca. This is a beach that would not be embarrassed in the company of many others, with its bleach white sand, palms, and turquoise crystal-clear water lapping against the shore. After failing to recover my sandals from the boat (grrrgh, but at least I have Havanas to replace them) a very pleasant reunion occurred as we bumbed into what seemed like the majority of the Medillin crowd. Amongst others Crispin, Dub, Alessandro, Kye etc..etc and had a extraordinarily chilled out night before collapsing into hammocks. Seeing a whole herd of cows get led along the beach was a notably strange addition to the experience.

The next day was spent in much the same vein (I have not played with buckets on the beach for many years but it proved fun - notably on this occasion we had no spades). Rum coconuts aided the relaxed confusion of a lovely day on the beach. Even stepping on something that left some not unthreatening spines in my foot did not lessen the day as self-surgery was surprisingly successful.

On we all jumped for a final hour or so on a lancher towards Cartegena, the legendary Spanish port where the gold of the new world was send back to the Hispanic peninsular, if they were not rather impolitely intercepted by pirates (or as we like to call our own British ones – naval heroes – god bless Sir Francis). Approaching the extensively walled and defended old city was quite a sight – and the whole bunch of us were rearing for another big Saturday, notably as a send off to Alessandro.
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