Monday, September 17, 2007

Boy! Is there a lot of lightning here!

September 17, 2007  Monday

No more Chocosanos over the weekend, thank goodness.  Things have been quiet except for a couple of unbelievable lightning storms.  Really glad our insurance rider is in effect!    We have walked around, nothing too adventurous as it is too hot and humid.  We just cannot seem to get out and get moving early in the morning before the day heats up. 

We tried out a restaurant called Arape that was recommended for steaks.  Bill ordered the medium size lomo fino which was 300 grams of beef.  The regular size lomo fino was 500 grams.  Who could eat that much at one dinner!  As it was, even though he liked it; Bill only ate about half of his meal.  What a shame to waste that good steak.  I ordered a dish called pollo relleno, knowing full well that it would not be anything like what would be served in Houston, Texas.  And it wasn’t.  But it was very good.  It was chicken breast in a very tiny amount of red sauce of some kind that had almonds in it.  The nuts really completed this dish; it was quite good.  Like Bill, I could only eat about half of the amount served.

Bill has wanted to try the marina restaurant for lunch but hasn’t yet been able to wait until their hours of lunch service.  He is accustomed to eating lunch promptly at noon, and lunch isn’t served locally until about 2:00 p.m.  They also eat dinner very late.  You can tell the cruisers in the local restaurants because we all want to eat between 6 and 8 each evening.  The locals don’t eat dinner until more like 10 to 11 p.m.  Different culture; but Bill will never adjust to those meal times, no matter how many packages of crackers and cookies he eats between meals.

I think I am going to get my hair cut this afternoon.  After we left the restaurant Saturday night we noticed a hair salon down the street.  It was open at 8:30 on a Saturday night, which I thought was odd for a shop that is not in a mall.  So I walked in and tried to get a haircut.  They would have done it then except that there is only one guy in that shop who cuts women’s long hair.  Others were doing men’s hair and others were doing women’s short hair cuts, but only Alain does long hair cuts for women.  So the receptionist made an appointment for me for 2:00 p.m. Monday.  Mind you, all this communication is being done with no one in the shop speaking English and me not speaking Spanish.  But I think we managed to communicate okay.  Will know for sure when I show up for what I understand to be a two o’clock appointment this afternoon.  I figure a haircut here can’t possibly be any worse than the cut I got in Grenada in May.  Wish me luck. 

September 18, 2007 Tuesday

Yep, did get my haircut; it cost only $9 USD vs the $55 I paid in Greneda and this guy did a much better cut.  Nicely appointed L’Oreal salon.  Couldn’t believe the price was such a bargain.  Of course, other cruisers here have found places to get haircuts for as little as $3 but I'll stick with the L'Oreal salon.

We are spending the day holed up inside our air-conditioned boat.  Feel like we should be out sight-seeing, but since we plan to be here about 2 months it is hard to feel any sense of urgency about it.  Bill has been searching the internet today trying to find a hotel in Old Town section where we can stay for a couple of nights next week while our boat is hauled.   I have been searching the internet trying to find just where we might want to visit for tourist stuff.  Can’t believe we did not buy a visitors guide for Cartagena.  Too late to do that now because everything sold here is in Spanish.

Remember the photo of the fruit lady that I posted last week?  I found the following letter online to a newspaper about these women:

“Fruit, fruit juices and fruit sweets are among the unforgettable experiences in Cartagena. No one has described them better than Anastasia Moloney in the Guardian Weekly:
Every day black women draped in flowing, colourful dresses stroll along Cartagena's stretch of grey-sanded beach. They effortlessly balance large bowls of tropical fruits on their heads. These sturdy women are known as the palenqueras, named after their native town of Palenque. Over the centuries these fruit queens have become a symbol of the city.
The palenqueras carry an array of fruits that are commonplace and in abundance in Colombia all year round. These range from oversized papayas, mini-mangoes, yellowy banana passion fruits, bitter tree tomatoes, guavas, pitayas, succulent pineapples and sweet green feijoas to tangy orange lulos shaped liked tomatoes and the juicy white flesh of the soursops.
Using a small machete, the palenqueras peel and slice these fruits with the flair of an artist and in a matter of minutes rustle up a fruit salad to your individual tastes for less than $4 a go.
The king of fruits, as it's the most expensive, is the mangostino. It is a rare leathery deep purple fruit that looks a bit like a pomegranate. Inside is a succulent aromatic white flesh, with a similar texture to a lychee.
My favourite is granadilla, a round, orange shiny fruit with a thick, brittle rind, known to be good for the digestive system. Inside are fragrant crunchy black seeds in a jelly-like pulp, which despite looking like frog spawn, is delicious and refreshing.
Street vendors sell peeled strips of unripe mango served with honey and salt, giving a bittersweet taste that Colombians crave. Along the narrow streets, fruit-sellers wheel carts laden with pyramids of ripe avocadoes the size of small melons.”

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