In the morning Michael and Martina (the Swiss) left for the beaches further north around the coast with time to kill before their shipping in two weeks. Meanwhile we moved to a different and slightly cheaper campground/hotel carpark a bit further out of town, but with a swimming pool and good wifi. At 2pm we met Manfred and the French family back at the supermarket. The French family turned out to be the same family with the huge Renalt overland truck we had met back in Cusco. Here Manfred told us the idea was a no go as the shipping company said the fit was too tight for us both on the same 40 foot Flat Rack. Disappointed we advised Manfred that we still wanted to ship on the 9th and could he please then arrange a 20 foot container for us, he said yes with a huge sigh and promised to get back to us in two days time as the next day (Wednesday) was a public holiday.
Our evening in the famous walled city that most tourist's visiting Cartagena never leave was lovely at first, we even went on a horse and cart ride, had a beer in the plaza then strolled over to a restaurant for dinner. Heres Wills description of what happened next….
So last night at about 9:30pm Rochelle an I were walking to a bus stop in Cartagena, Colombia where we were going to catch a taxi back to our camping ground. We had had a great afternoon/evening in the 'old city' walking around enjoying the beautiful spanish buildings. We finished with a wander along the top of one of the huge fortified stone walls that bounder the old city. It was here when we had just left the walled area, crossed the road and were walking along a footpath to a bus stop where we had seen a number of taxi's passing. It was a relaxed evening and I guess I had let my guard down a little as for the past 8 months in South America we had been greeted with nothing but smiles and friendly hellos. Then out of the blue I was struck with a heavy blow to the back of the head. After being stunned for a second I spun around to see a man clutching my sunglasses which had been on my head from earlier in the day. Against the preached procedure to let muggers have whatever they demand rage took over and seeing my advance the guy took off across the street. One the other side I caught up to him and after a short struggle had him on the ground in an average headlock. Unfortunately he slipped an arm and landed a shot to my head giving me a purple shiner. At this stage Rochelle tells me she caught up and put in a few kidney shots to help me out. Seconds later there were cars stopped in the street and nearly a dozen people around including one big fella who dealt to our attacker. The next moment all I could see was blue and red flashing lights as the police roared in on two motorbikes, instantly they had guns out and the chaos calmed down pretty quickly.
And so with that we had been attacked in the streets of South America. I know its something that could have happened anywhere in the world but certainly as a foreigner in this continent you need to keep your whits about you all the time. It certainly wasn't something we hadn't thought about or been careful of but yet it still happened. I guess now all I can say is I'm glad he didn't have a knife or a gun and all I walked away with was a bruised eye and a few cuts and scrapes…
The next day to add to our run of bad luck our clothes were stolen off the line at our so called 'campground'. Despite being called Hotel Boquilla Camping no one would ever really camp there because they leave the gates open all day and refuse to close them. Its defiantly not safe for tents and not even really for car campers with random people using the car park as a thoroughfare all day. So we moved back to the Bellavista hotel with its round the clock parking guards having had enough of Cartagena and hoping to be leaving on Friday. Sadly though it wasn't to be; Manfred called and explained he couldn't get us on Fridays ship. Later we discovered this was because he had stuffed up and not realised that due to the public holiday on Wednesday the shipping papers needed to be in on Tuesday, this meant that the French family who had already been waiting two weeks wouldn't be on the ship either and they were furious!
We were super eager to get to Central America and begin the next stage of the trip but life had other plans… Our sailing yacht broke down and had to return to Cartagena after only one day, can you believe our luck?!?!
More about the sailing in the next blog...
Rochelle & Will