Each morning a glass pitcher of fresh, mysterious juice entices me at breakfast. The ladies who serve the desayuno bring fruit from the kitchen to show me what I am drinking. The other day the bended orange beverage was made from a pulpy fruit called tomate de árbol; today a lady shows me cerezas, a sort of tropical cherry with the zip of a current, used for this morning’s crisp drink.
Arepas cooked at fire
An Arepa (a fried patty made from corn flour) accompanies my eggs. The peace of my hotel, tucked in a hushed alley of San Diego with palm-filled courtyards, contrasts with the commotion on the streets and squares of the old town.
Dodging traffic and sales people on the streets is like a game of Pacman and requires some skill! Before you cross the street, you need to check where the cars are , gauge their distance, and decide whether to make a dash for it. They may or may not stop, so it is best to err on the safe side. Once you are happily on the sidewalk, you need to watch for vendors and promoters. It seems that every store has someone positioned outside whose job it is to lure you in. (This is how I met Jose outside his neighborhood restaurant.) Most of these savvy fellows work for emerald shops — Cartagena has as many emerald shops as Seattle has coffee houses Your task is to say "no gracias" and keep moving. If you break down and go inside, you might anticipate pressure akin to facing a firing squad;instead the sales people are so polite and easy going that if you decide not to buy anything, they will happily engage in a conversation then cheerfully wish you un buen dia.