24th July 2015
Heaving myself out of bed, I decided to hit the beach today to chill out before the wedding tomorrow.
I grabbed a taxi to Bocagrande, the Miami of the Colombian coast (or rather, building site of the Colombian coast).
Not really knowing where I was going I opted for the beds and parasols of the Four Seasons Hotel. Well, you have to don’t you :-).
Bocagrande isn’t the nicest beach resort I’ve ever been to but when you’re tired and hungover and don’t want to think, it’ll do.
The sea is quite silty and the lifeguards only allow you out to a certain point because of the currents. Or maybe its because there are a lot of jet ski touts who come zooming into the swimming area on their motorized steeds with no concern for us bobbing tourists.
Beach waiters come and take your order for whatever cocktail or mocktail you fancy and you can happily people watch all day. Your belongings are sort of safe. There are plenty of people around who know you’re there so there has to be an element of trust and I guess if you tip the waiters they’ll look out for your things for you.
One of the downsides to Bocagrande is the amount of hawkers. Sarong sellers, friendship bracelet sellers, fruit sellers, coral and pearl jewellery sellers, soft drink sellers, beer sellers, masseuses – you name it, they have it. They come right up to you and hang around so my defence was to pretend I was asleep which put a kibosh on my people watching.
Out of all of the sellers, I definitely wouldn’t recommend the massage. I could see what the women were doing to the people on the loungers next to me and my god it looked painful. These women had no idea what was bone and what was muscle.
I did talk to one ‘tropical’ man who was hugely charming and entertaining and I’m a sucker for a charming man.
He lived on an island and travelled four hours each way per day, three times a week to sell his jewellery in Cartagena and the other four days he fished.
With a lovely smile and laugh, he said he enjoyed talking to English and Dutch people because we’re so open and proceeded to tell me about his love life.
He had a wife, five girlfriends and five children and lost his virginity to a donkey when he was a teenager so he would grow a big dick! As did his uncle and father before him.
Smiling indulgently, at first I thought he meant the donkey was a prostitute but as the story unfolded I realised it was a proper animal! OMG!!! WTF!!! He was totally unapologetic about it as its part of the traditions for his island culture.
My thoughts were, ‘how can women sleep with him knowing that he’s done the business with an animal?’ Yuck!
His charm, as you can imagine, wore off quite quickly but I’ve got a wonderfully evocative story out of it and I felt the need to buy a rather lovely bracelet from him :-).
Leaving the beach I went back to the old city and watched the sunset at Cafe del Mar.
Cafe del Mar is THE place to watch the sunset with a drink. It sits on one of the corner battlements of the old city wall with high tables and chairs propped next to the parapet so you can overlook the open sea. Pelicans swoop down to find out what the fishermen’s catch of the day is and the gusty breeze flaps the Colombian and Cartagenan flags over head and keep you cool.
The menu is quite expensive but they have got a captive audience and the best location. There’s nothing like supping a beer or cocktail watching the huge, bright orange sun set on the horizon with the DJ nestled into the bartizan, spinning his chill out tunes.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to spend money to watch the sunset as as you can view it from literally just outside the Cafe as it only takes up part of the space on the wall. There are plenty of gun ports where lovers sit spending a romantic dusk kissing, hugging and stroking.
It made me feel all gooey watching the lovers hang out (there are so many of them you can’t not notice them). My favourite Colombian saying, which I heard all the time, is ‘mi amor’. My love. My honey. My darling. My one. So lovely :-).
Heading back to my abode, I bumped into the bride-to-be (it really is a small city) who was on her way to meet some of her guests for more partying, and told her about the donkey man.
Its true apparently! Her fiancé and her looked it up on the internet – there are documentaries out there about it!!