14 June 2009

Adventures + +

I have been lucky enough to travel around the world (and live in Paris) thanks to my job. But the most adventurous trip (if adventurous includes having to get 4 immunizations first and to brush your teeth with bottled water) was this week to Cartagena, Colombia. Cartagena is considered a major resort within Latin America, and thus driving from the airport you get to view the extremes of poverty (the area near the airport; there were guys in camouflage holding machine guns every block along the major road) and wealth (the resort-y part is on a peninsula conveniently separated from the poor parts by a naval base).

I stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which here is a 5 star joint. It is also the site of the annual Miss Colombia contest. Covered in a thick layer of DEET, I ventured around the hotel and out into the old city.

The beach, which actually looks nicer in the picture than in real life. The Carribean is not its normal bright blue but rather a dull brown, reflecting its use as the receptical for the city's sewage. Uhh, the pool looks more appealing...

The historic old city is really charming. Here's a view (from the inside) of the 11km wall Spain built around the city, being tired of repeated sackings by various pirates. It was then, as it is now, a major port in the region.

The cathedral.

The plaza across from the cathedral; the statue is of Simon Bolivar.

Another major church.

A view down a typical street.

Beautiful window boxes.

So I did not get kidnapped, food/water/mosquito born illnesses, and after 3 separate security checks was allowed to leave the country.

The next phase of this trip was a day in Atlanta. The suburban wasteland around Atlanta is generally not very adventurous, but I managed to grab a sushi dinner prior to my flight out of town Thursday night, and since I was the only one in the place, got to chat with the sushi chef. He understood that I liked and was willing to try everything, so he made me special Sweet Shrimp- the tail raw sushi as usual, but the head section battered with tempura, fried, and the whole thing to be eaten. They were actually really good, once I got past eating the staring eyeballs.

So on Friday I returned to Paris. As Rolf mentioned, I've had pretty nasty jet lag (it really is worse going east). My biggest Paris adventure, then, was finding out that when we got home from dinner yesterday that my wallet was gone. I paid the tip, so had it at the end of dinner, and noticed the top flap of my purse rattling because it was undone as we went down to the Metro (so secured it, but didn't look inside), but no idea if I dropped it, got robbed, or what.

Luckily my passport and residence card were not inside the wallet (that would be a nightmare, especially since we go on vacation on Friday); I've managed to cancel the credit cards and will get shiny new ones sent to France. I did lose my cash, but the cards did not get used; finally an advantage to nothing being open in Paris on Sunday. The biggest headache is going to be replacing my driver's license- no Penn DOT outposts in Paris. Even though we don't drive in Paris, I actually do use it while traveling, but won't be renting cars anytime soon.

Finally, today, since Rolf was riding with the boys, I did my first solo ride in the area surrounding Paris (and between a map, GPS, and having done the same ride 2 weeks ago, did not get lost).

I'm hoping for a less adventurous week coming up.

No comments:

Post a Comment