The southernmost

Moving from the subtropics to the tropics didn\’t make it any warmer. Key West was windy and rainy. Luckily the sun started to shine on Thursday so we were able to join the sunset celebration at the Mallory Square. The best act was the money-eating dog. Or actually it collected money for the banjo player from the audience. I don\’t even remember the songs the man played but I will always remember the money-collecting dog. If I could teach this trick to a dog, I would not have any difficulty in getting a permission from Minna to actually get a dog…
We stayed at the Authors of Key West for the second time and the Hemingway cottage was very cosy. I recommend the guest house because it is within a walking distance from the Duval Street and it is really well-kept property. In my opinion it was the nicest accommodation on this trip. We even got an extra heater for the second night… It was quite cold at night. The highlight for the rest of our crew was when I got dog crap on my sandal.

Ingrid at the Islas del Rosario

The Bocagrande beach is not very nice with its hotels and touts. I decided to take a tour to Islas del Rosario which is a national park south of Cartagena. It was worth every peso. Although I accidentally selected Isla del Encantada (which is not even on the map of my Lonely Planet Colombia), the beach was excellent and snorkling was affordable. The day tour was 95 000 pesos (lunch and tax included, 29 euros). The snorkling trip, gear included with one hour of water time) was 30 000 pesos (9 euros). The fish at the lunch was _fresh_.

What I will remember most from this trip was Ingrid, the tour guide. She was just a lovely person with a great sense of humor. I think the best thing about Colombia are its people. Although I was the only non-Spanish speaking customer (maybe there was another one, but it felt like I was the only one) on the boat, Ingrid always found time to give me her presentation also in English. Ingrid promised to include me on her email list so I will be looking forward for her \”funny\” emails she promised to send me.

The only drawback on this day trip was that the touts were bothering us even when snorkling. Can you believe that?

Santa Fe de Bogota

It\’s been a long time since I\’ve been to Colombia. Last time I was here, I sent postcards to everyone thinking that I will possibly not come here. Well, here I am again.
It was not because I didn\’t like Colombia. Actually I like it more than I like Brasil but it\’s difficult to say why. It must be the people. Bogota is definitely not a tourist destination but last time I was here I met the best taxi driver ever. Angél was the only English-speaking taxi driver at the Radisson hotel. I had a day-off back then and he was driving me around Bogota showing me the sights. He even took me to his home to meet his family. I remember him driving me to the hills above Bogota where I could see the panorama of the city drinking Aguila beer. Maybe it was five years ago. Maybe it\’s because of him that I like Colombia. And it has nothing to do with the fact that when I got back home, he called me and asked for an invitation letter for a visa…
It\’s been two days since I arrived and I still don\’t have my luggage. The luggage handlers at Charles de Gaulle are taking it easy. Maybe it has something to do with the closing of terminal 2F just before my plane left. I almost missed the flight becaue there was some incident in the terminal. The terminal was empty and there were some police doing some investigations.

As I will be flying back on Sunday, I am planning to visit the Caribbean shores before I leave. My first option was San Andres Island but I wasn\’t able to get a hotel so I decided to go to Cartagena, which is not bad either. I will fly to Cartagena on Friday and return on Sunday. Cartagena was recommended by my taxi driver Angel (he also recommended San Andres) and my friend Pekka who has lived and worked in Colombia as a scuba instructor. Hopefully Cartagena will be more photogenic than Bogota.

Mo\’ what?!?

I took the skytrain to Mo Chit today. The ticket is merely 70 cents and the train is air conditioned and clean. Mo Chit is the station close to Chatuchak weekend market. Luckily it was a cloudy day because it can be intolerably hot in there. You can by anything from there: furniture, clothes, lamps, soap, beer and squirrels. You can also see fighting cocks. I must say that the animals are not treated very nicely there. I would also assume that cock fighting would be illegal but apparently it isn\’t.