So, if you ever decide that a slow paced wander up the coast of Chile toward Valapraiso sounds like a good idea don´t start your voyage in Cartegena. The guide book claimed that Cartagena had a special ¨soul.¨ I think they meant ¨sole¨as in the sole of my shoe afer I just took a run through a dog park. Seriously, don´t go to Cartagena.* Why you ask?
1. The town hobby seems to be rubbernecking at tourists, especially blonde and red haired ones.
2. The restuarant promoters are far more persistent even though their establishments are more shabby.
3. The town is small, but packed with taxis constantly honking at you in hopes you want to go somewhere.
4. The populace seems unable to understand simple directions, such as ¨dos noches.¨
5. The whole town has a feel like and X-files episode where the outward look is a facade to cover up some devlish cult that will eventually entrap you in order to use your body to incubate their alien overlord.
I could go on, but I won´t. The one day we spent near Cartagena was a few miles north in Isla Negra at the home of Pablo Neruda. This town had a great vibe. Our arrival today at Vina Del Mar has been a relief, even the weather is better. Our taxi cab driver gave us a discount and the hotel guy spoke slow enough so we could understand what he was saying for a change.**
*Cartagena is in no way representative of the rest of Chile. In fact it seems to be the exception to the rule that the Chilean people are welcoming, friendly, and the country is a pleasure to travel in.
** He informed us that people named ¨Mateo,¨in Chile, the Spanish version of Matt which I quite like, are nerds and when asked to go out and party say that they have too study.