May 4. Aguardiente.

At 5:30am the bus to Cartagena leaves. It will take almost the whole day and I enjoy the Colombian countryside from the comfortable bus chair. Why don’t we make up more proverbs ourselves? Let’s found some institution for the creation of new proverbs. After so many busrides…

I arrive in Cartagena, the port town and the end of the overland road. I have to rely on boats now. From the terminal I try to take a taxi to the city center, but they say my 20.000 peso bill is a counterfeit. Back in, the toilet lady tells me the same. I am ashamed I tried to get rid of the bill once again. But after all, it’s nice how such a piece of paper can generate stories. A couple of days later I’ll be arrested for it. Nothing to worry about, though. So, I have a meal in the terminal. A black girl starts talking to me and asks why I’m not married. They marry very young here. She is twenty-one. The woman tells me about her life but I can’t remember much. I was more concerned about the change she’ll bring me. Bah! Only money on the mind.

A very slow bus took me to the center of the city. That ride was more like a carnival parade. I meet Ivan on it, a countryman of mine with a similar mentality, which we will live out with two bottles of Aguardiente that night. The old town is very touristic. There are security guards everywhere, and people that want to sell juice and fried snacks. We find the Hostal Real and sleep in a dorm. With two bottles of Aguardiente, the local liquor that tastes like Pastis, we have a good conversation about what two grown-up men talk about. Use your imagination.

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