Friday, March 3, 2023

February 1, 2023 – Cartagena, Colombia – Mostly Sunny – Humid – 85 F

We are due to arrive in Cartagena midafternoon, so the morning is still a sea day.  It was a very bumpy night, which was verified by the small number of people up in the Windows Café when it opened.  I didn’t see anyone out on the veranda and people were having difficulty with the moving floor so I grabbed my favorite table, the last one on the port side.  Today, I ordered two pancakes and two egg over medium – the pancakes were covered with chocolate and regular syrup and banana slices and walnuts.  The coffee was hot and the sea was wild and the breakfast was good.  I brought a similar breakfast down to Ellen but included some fruit as well.

I have a pre-arrival lecture – “DNA Testing: Cold Cases Solved” - scheduled for 11:00 AM in the Cabaret Theater.  It’s been my experience that these types of lectures do not have the best turnouts, and this was the case this morning.  I would estimate that about 65 percent of the seats were occupied.  I thought that my timing was not that sharp with this lecture, and it ran exactly 51 minutes.  I had a few people come and chat afterwards – the enthusiasm of the attendees is still pretty high.

It was warm on the Sunset Veranda – there was no shade so we ate inside.  I had another tuna sandwich, this time on a large focaccia type bun, garnished with tomatoes and onions.  The tuna continues to be great – I don’t see a lot of stuff in the tuna, so I don’t know why it’s so good.  I had a Grolsch Beer, which also added to the nice lunch. 

We arrived in Cartagena at the commercial port in the berth next to our usual spot.

We pulled in alongside the huge German Cruise ship, Mein Schiff 1, who was in our usual spot.  

Our Deck 9 was in the middle of their balcony decks.  The ship carries over 3000 passengers and all of our passengers would fit into two or three of their life craft.  We spent the afternoon in the relatively cool of the Living Room.  I have a new Reacher Novel, “Plan B”, that I have started and hope to finish by the end of the first cruise.  The ship was essentially empty with most of the guests out on excursions.  Roy still showed up for the afternoon trivia activity but there were only four people there to play so he was their personal question person.  It was geography so I stayed away. 

We had dinner in the Windows Café – the Discoveries Restaurant and Windows both featured special buffets since tonight is the Azamazing Evening activity.  We concluded that eating upstairs was better, but we were unable to get seats outside.  I had Sarah, the chef who makes my waffles and pancakes every morning make me a fresh pasta at the pasta station.  Onions, peppers, and tomatoes plus garlic, spaghetti, and tomato sauce all stirred together in a frying pan made for, and I am not exaggerating, the BEST pasta dish I have ever had on a ship. All I needed with that meal was a small Cesar Salad and a dinner roll.  Perfect.

I did get a nice picture of Cartagena at dusk.

The German Ship left around 6:30 PM and Martin started calling deck numbers to board the busses to the venue.  We went with Deck 4 and wound up on Bus 12.  

Artur, our guide, gave us a min-tour of Cartagena during the 30 minute ride to the Teatro Heredia, the site of the Azamazing Evening.  Once there, we all queued up

 to get in and were greeted by local dancers.  

Ellen headed for the upper levels so we could get a box with seats against the railing.  We eventually did find such seats on the second to last level.  

A lone guitar player provided pre-show entertainment.

Introductions by Captain Carl and Marlin preceded the show.

Wine was served and I actually liked the wine.  I tried to finish it but someone from the staff took all the glasses away mid show.

The show was a typical folkloric show 

– I thought it would be more “Carnival” like but it was pretty much standard with two exceptions – they had a very good vocalist, who sang in Spanish, and one of the dance numbers was contemporary (“funky”).  The dancers were all very good.  Pictures from the show.

The show got real loud at the end, and we headed for the door before it was all really over. The show troupe was in the lobby still singing and I got a picture of them.

We met Artur outside and waited for our bus to show up. 

Bus 12 did finally come – it was actually a bit chilly outside – and we went back to the ship a different way - through some residential areas and local parks.  Lots of kids and young people were out and about. Artur also gave us recommendations for hotels and restaurants should we return to Cartagena one day.

In about 15 minutes, we were back to the ship and we boarded pretty quickly.  We decompressed in our room.

Our clocks were turned back one hour putting us on Central Time. 

The ship is rocking and rolling but mostly shimmying.

Lights were out at 10:00 PM.

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