It is also a city where you feel safe walking around and people are very friendly and helpful. English isn't spoken by many - so it's good to be challenged with Spanish and we are becoming more comfortable in the language as we are immersed in it.
The last few days have been busy as we settle into the city life of Cartagena. We've found a woman to make cockpit cushions for us. She was recommended by a cruiser in Curacao and we think she'll do a nice job. On Saturday, it was a kick for us as we went looking for the fabric store so we could be more prepared for when she returned to make the patterns today. We had rough directions. Barbara asked someone, but finally an old man on a bicycle told us where it was - then when we turned on the wrong street - he chased us down to send us in the right direction. Too funny and way too kind! We went through a part of town filled with vendors of every type - from interesting foods to old repaired fans and blenders; from plastic goods to cellular phones. It was interesting to see all the booths that would repair things like shoes, appliances, electronics etc. This is a country where things are still fixed - not simply replaced.
We also roamed to find a sign maker (we're putting the name "Astarte" on the boom) - and that project is completed (now we have to put the letters on the boom - straight!). And finally - propane still haunts us. The tank that had the broken valve in Curacao was replaced - but we thought it would be good to see if we could get a new valve here. On Saturday, Michael brought the tank to Lorenzo - the propane man (Mondays and Saturdays). He said he could replace the valve - no problem. That afternoon, it was back - with a new valve. Only - it was the wrong type of valve. The size wouldn't work with our hoses. So now we have a full tank with the wrong valve. So we talk to Lorenzo - and he says bring it back on Monday and he'll see what he can find. So, on Monday, for another 13,000 pesons (about $7) he says it can be repaired. Later he tells Michael it will cost more - Michael hears another 7,000 pesos - but the reality is it was 70,000 (those darn extra zeros). So this new valve now has cost us more than $50 (so far) - and its still not on the tank and we are still not certain it will actually work! Propane is our new "outboard."
We've walked a lot - over bridges, across walls and through the town. It's fun to explore the neighborhoods and city center. We still have a few projects to complete - a welding job, the search for hydraulic hoses (still going on since Guadeloupe); a new straw hat for Michael (his is being held together by gaff tape), and some additional provisioning for San Blas. So we'll continue to explore the town and discover new places and meet new folks.
There are some new pictures (uncaptioned) on the web page under the tab "New photos" - we had to eliminate the first album (but kept the swimming pigs). Interet is hit or miss here (more miss than hit) - so if you've contacted us on the web page or log page - we apologize for not getting back to you yet. We're trying to Skype - but again - the connections have been bad.