Here’s wishing you a Feliz Navidad from Cartagena, where it’s 88 degrees, but feels like 100 due to the humidity. Not much is open on Christmas day except some restaurants, so we’re just kicking back and sweating, reading, and waiting for the cool of the night to venture out to treat ourselves to a fancy Caribbean Christmas dinner, with wine and shrimp cocktails.
We also decided to treat ourselves last night as well, and ventured into this cool looking Chinese restaurant we’d passed before. Though the interior is one of the nicest we’ve seen, really decked out with lamps and lacquered wood and what not, the experience as a whole was dampened by the fact that out of a giant menu of Colombian-style Chinese food (much heavier on the Colombian side of things), my girlfriend somehow managed to pick fried chicken and french fries. It didn’t look like that on the menu, by the way. She was highly disappointed. We were both somewhat disappointed by the experience, as we’d both ordered dishes, which turned out to be gigantic, and we could only eat a third of each. Meanwhile, another Colombian couple came in (the only other people in the massive joint, and of course seated right next to us) and shared a plate, as we should have done. Another interesting facet of this dining experience was the music, which was a continuously looped 2-minute song that was obviously the only and closest thing to Asian that they could find. This loop consisted of one of those Chinese sounding string instruments playing, then a little light snare and organ action comes in and makes it kind of funky and modern in a tasteful and conservative fashion. Can you tell that I was really listening to it? Couldn’t really help it. I can say that there was one redeeming feature of this dinner, however: we were given cool little pens and a calendar along with our (too expensive) check.
Tomorrow we are off to visit the Volcán de Totumo, which is essentially a huge mound of warm mud. Yes, because we did not get enough mud in the jungle. Now we are going to slather ourselves with it completely, dunk into it, immerse ourselves in it. It’s supposed to have beneficial properties for the skin. Basically, I just realized that if we didn’t visit this thing when we were this close in Cartagena, we would regret it the rest of our lives. How often can you take a dip in a volcano of mud? It’s just one of those things one has got to do, given the chance. More later, with pictures.