Sunday, April 17, 2011

Land bound in Cartagena and getting back our Sienna!

Details about shipping our van see

Arrived late in Cartagena, Colombia and still getting that feeling of WOW we're in a new country but wait can't step on land yet we don't have our visas stamp yet. You see when you arrive to a country by sea the captain of the vessel is responsible for the people on board until they leave so we had to spend another night on the boat until we got our passports back. Was ok for me, save a hotel night but for Ji, she really wanted to get off ASAP. Next morning 9 am the agent came back and with our passports in hand we all legally step foot onto Colombian soil.

this street was full every night with bums, tourist and ladies of the night

good morning Cartagena

 colorful shop under an arch way

just one of the many town squares full of sites

First we headed to the old part of town and if anyone has been to Havana Cuba, it kinda has that feel with tinny streets, full of people, loads of stuff going, hot, street venders selling everything, colorful but rundown buildings, and tourist making their way around the maze of hotels, bars and restaurants. We found a hotel in the old part without parking but we don't have our car yet so as soon as we checked-in we set out for the office contact in Cartagena. When we arrived we found out Boris, our Panama shipping agent gave us the wrong address but the lady was so kind she arranged her driver to take us to the right address and lucky she did because we would have never found the place, it was a small yellow house converted to an office near the port. They made a few copies and gave us the bill of landing than charged us $35 usd and sent us on our way. We had to run back and forth from the custom office to the port office finally they told us to go to another port office the following morning at 7 am and not to be late. Next day 645 am sharp we had to wait another hour to pay another bill $130 usd and told to go back to the customs office in the afternoon to pick up our permission papers. 2 pm sharp after their 2 hr lunch break we waiting some more and more back and forth now its 5 pm and we are told we have to go back to the port that has our cars to pick them up before 6 pm or be charged a late fee and have to do all the paper work again tomorrow? crazy we rushed to port and sure enough are cars are not ready had to wait past 7 pm to get our cars out and luckily we found a traveling pair on motorbikes that lead us back into town to a parking lot near the hotel, turns out the couple are American and trying to ship their backs back to the states. Thanks guys and best of luck.

Church on Sunday
just one of the many gold museums of Colombia

good bye to Cartagena in the rain without wipers!
For us 4 days of Cartagena was enough, we are heading south to Medellin, home to the famous drug lord Pablo Escobar, and famed artist Fernando Botero, makes a ever lasting impressions in the hillside city.