My Second Day In Barranquilla Colombia
My second day in Barranquilla Colombia started off with a rather disappointing breakfast at the hotel. One scrambled egg with what seemed to be ketchup on it. The restaurant was a bit crowded so I was seated in a small room next to the kitchen. Before my food arrived, another lone traveler came and was seated with me at my table. He turned out to be an American named Gonzalo.
Gonzalo had spent summers in Barranquilla with parts of his family but hadn’t been back in a while. He was excited to go and visit some of his old favorite places and offered to take me along with him. I agreed. We exchanged contact info and agreed to meet later in the day.
Shopping in Barranquilla
I hung around for a little while longer and then decided to take a stroll. The area that my hotel was in was completely dead and I was hoping to find some real food and a place to buy some sunscreen. Another 9 hours of parade like activities was likely to completely bake me. I finally found myself drifting through an open air shopping center that I initially passed by. Another block and I found an open store with a pharmacy. I purchased the sunscreen, applied a light coat, and went right back to the open air shopping center.
The area was full of life and random items. Most of the shops centered around t-shirts, hats, costumes, and other festivity items. I purchased a couple random tokens of my travels on my walk through but spent most of my time just taking in the environment. I eventually tried to buy a hat and was told it would cost 250,000 pesos (about USD$150). There was an obvious gringo tax going on by this lady and I kindly left.
The “Real” Barranquilla Colombia
Around 4 PM I received the call from Gonzalo. He was ready to show me the “real” Barranquilla. I didn’t know what this meant, but I gathered that it included some drinking. So I put my camera away and met Gonzalo in the lobby.
First, we stopped at a local restaurant for a bowl of soup. I still hadn’t found anything worth eating and this seemed to be the only place in the area that wasn’t closed for the festival. The waitress chose to use Gonzalo as a translator rather than slow down enough for me to understand what she was saying. He essentially ordered a bowl of chicken soup for me and I enjoyed it immensely.
Then we caught a cab to the downtown area. This area, while not overly crowded, was rather vibrant. Bars and street vendors were all open for business. We hopped from bar to bar making a couple stops at street vendors for some tasty snacks.
Later, we hopped another cab to the area where Gonzalo had grown up. The house his uncle had lived in now housed a family that was selling steak kabobs from the front porch. We had a few beers at the convenience store next door and then wandered over to the gate of the house. We ordered some kabobs and the lady let us in the gate. The two of them talked for probably half an hour about him growing up in the house and how things have changed over the years. I stared at hot chicks.
The long and short of this day is that, even though I didn’t partake in the carnival, I had a great time and got to experience a lot of what Barranquilla Colombia has to offer.
Special thanks to Gonzalo for sharing this experience with me.
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