The video is at the bottom, to keep you in suspense. But if you don’t care to read, go ahead and scroll down to watch it.
As of today, school is back in session. It is still to be seen how populated classes will be this week, but there will be students at the school again. Fortunately, last week I got to do a bit of adventuring in the name of work. While all of my time was spent in the municipio (municipality) of Cartagena de Indias, only one day was actually spent in the casco urbano (urban center). Basically, the governing body of Cartagena reigns over a much larger land area than what includes the city proper. Rather than the smaller populations within that land area voting for their own mayor, they vote for the mayor that works in Cartagena proper.
So on Monday, July 4, I went into Cartagena to meet some of my fellow volunteers for some American-style burgers and fries at Hard Rock Cafe, and explored the city a bit, much like the last time I was there for a day.
That evening instead of staying in the casco urbano, I headed to Manzanillo del Mar, where one of my cohort members lives. Manzanillo is a pretty small town with a largely Afro-Colombian population that has a beautiful beach, super friendly people, an adorable church, and very little urban planning. My friend started school that day, so while she went to work, I spent my day soaking up some rays on the beach and exploring the winding paths of her town.
The next morning I headed back into the casco urbano, but only so that I could catch a boat to the island where I would stay the next two nights. On the map I linked to above, the archipelago I went to doesn’t even show because it is pretty small. I was headed out to the island because we have a couple of volunteers working there, and one of them has a project going with owners of small eco-hotels, basically creating an association for them to be a part of so that with their combined resources they can gain more traction in the budget traveler market. I went to talk to them about how to show up on Google and how they can use social media to market their hotels better. Because there aren’t actual addresses on the island or any mail, I have some phone calls to make to Google this week.
Besides work, I enjoyed a morning at the beach and an evening walk to explore the greenery of the island while my hosts worked. We also had some great conversation over delicious dinners and amazing homemade on a stovetop “oven” banana bread (future at-home project for me). The kicker, though, was the magical night-time bike ride across the island under a new moon with a sky full of stars, to arrive at a very dark lagoon. Living in the lagoon are plankton that are bioluminescent. Basically, you hop in, and as you move plankton around they shimmer and almost glow in the dark. Thanks to the new moon, the bioluminescence was really easy to see and made me feel magical. Of course, it was too dark for any attempts at picture or video to work; comparing to the photos in this article, it was closest to the picture from Maldives.
Since I’ve been obsessed with videos lately, I decided to make a short one showing clips of my week in Cartagena de Indias – inside and outside of the city. I also included a couple clips from my “welcome home,” one of lunch with another cohort member back in Barranquilla, and my puppy Teo excited to have me back.