03 November 2023 Cartagena
In search of a calendar
“…there are two kinds of illness. Which two? Bodily illness and mental illness. People are found who can claim to enjoy bodily health for one, two, three, four, and five years; for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and fifty years; and even for a hundred years or more. But apart from those whose intoxicating inclinations have been destroyed it is hard to find people in the world who can claim to enjoy mental health even for a moment.”Anguttara Nikāya Volume 2 – vii (157) Disease translated by Peter Harvey
I awoke to a WhatsApp message from my eldest son asking me to call when I had a chance. As expected, the news was that I now have a second granddaughter – Erin Anna – who came into this world a few hours ago.
I am delighted for my son and his partner, and for my first granddaughter – Robyn Rose – who now has a baby sister.
At the same time I am conflicted. I love both of my sons and both of my granddaughters. My children and grandchildren are free to live the life of the their choice. Hopefully, lives full of joy and happiness, and with minimum suffering. But I cannot guarantee that this will be the case.
In recent years I am increasing drawn to the principles of Antinatalism, which I might explore in more detail on another day. For now it might be suffice to say that were I in a position to have more children, I would choose not to.
I find it interesting to note that the Buddha left home shortly after his one and only son, Rahula, was born. Later, Rahula became a monk and as far as we know did not have children. The Buddha did not have grandchildren. There is no pain or suffering in non-existence.
I had some coffee and packed up ready to check out at midday. But first, I had to log in to Zoom for the monthly board meeting of the Buddhist Recovery Network. It was 10:30 am but I was the only attendee so I had to check that I had the correct Zoom link. Still unsure, I sent a WhatsApp message asking for confirmation of the Zoom link. Then the penny dropped… today is Friday and the meeting is on Saturday! I don’t know what day of the week it is, I need a holiday!
I checked out and took an Uber ride to MarSol bus company office. I arrived shortly after midday and was told the next bus would be at 2 pm. I bought my ticket and went next door to McDonald’s for brunch. McDs wouldn’t have been my first choice of eatery but it was close and I didn’t know what time I might get to Cartagena.
After eating, I returned to the MarSol office at 1 pm where a bus was waiting to leave. The vehicle was a medium sized coach and not overly full. The journey to Cartagena was pleasant enough and without incident arriving 2.5 hours later at about 3.30 pm.
I took a short Uber ride to the Hotel Cartagena Airport, my choice of accommodation for the next three nights. The hotel is very basic and cheap, and just a 10-minute walk to the airport. The hotel staff do not speak English but are welcoming and helpful.
The neighborhood surrounding the airport seems mostly residential but there are plenty of shops and restaurants. I settled on a ‘premium’ hot dog and fries.
Back at the hotel, my room rattles slightly as an evening flight takes off but fortunately, Cartagena is not a busy airport.
- Uber € 2 (including tip)
- McDonald’s lunch € 6
- MarSol bus Barranquilla to Cartagena € 7
- Uber to Hotel Cartagena Airport € 3 (including tip)
- Hotel Cartagena Airport booked through Booking.com € 16 per night with breakfast
- Dinner € 4.50
- Bug spray, snacks, Soda and Water € 3