04 November 2023 Cartagena

In search of a Cafe del Mar

Link to more images at @Kapikoy100

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
    They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself. 

“This Be The Verse” – Philip Larkin

When I first heard this poem I couldn’t agree with the final line. I thought that maybe you can stop handing on misery to our children, and teach them to do the same. Perhaps this is true, but the mere fact of ‘existence’ is misery whether we want to call it that or suffering, or unsatisfactoriness, or pain… whatever. There is no animal alive including humans who will not suffer. Suffering is Universal but there is no suffering in non-existence.

At the Cartagena Airport Hotel breakfast time is 6:40 am until 9:40 am.

It’s a simple Colombian Breakfast – eggs and corn cakes with some slices of apple, juice and coffee.

My room has a dressing table but no chair so I borrowed one from the breakfast room for the BRN meeting on Zoom.

I’m the afternoon, I took a very long, hot walk, mostly along the beach from the Crespa (airport) niehbourhood to Cartagena old town with a view to have coffee at the Cafe del Mar. The café had been recommended to me by Alejandro, one if my fellow passengers on the boat from Tabatinga to Manaus in Brazil. He was quite a character, travelling with a motorized wheelchair and pair of crutches. He may have been differently abled but that wasn’t going to stop him from travelling.

The walk took nearly 90-minutes, and perhaps was inadvisable at that time of day. Thank goodness I had a hat otherwise the little hair I have left may well have spontaneously combusted!

I reached the Cafe del Mar at around 3:45 pm but the open air establishment doesn’t open until 4:30 pm. It is located on the walls of Cartagena Fortress with a great view of the sea. Walking the Fortress walls is a popular po as time with tourists and locals alike, so there were already many people, including many street vendors, milling around. I actually sat down on the pavement with a wall behind me shading me from the sun. 

At 4:25 pm I picked myself up and checked out the queue waiting to be seated at the Cafe del Mar. It was too much for me particularly because none of the tables had any shade so I headed for an early dinner at a nearby restaurant below the Fortress walls, to savour a simple dish of beef kabab and coleslaw.

After eating, I had a stroll around this busy area of Cartagena. The Café del Mar was now full with a very long queue still waiting. There were even two different weddings in progress as the sun set.

I took an Uber ride back to the hotel and that was it for another day.

Good night.

Budget costs:

  • Uber € 2 (including tip)
  • Dinner  € 9.50
  • Uber to Hotel Cartagena Airport € 3.50
  • Hotel Cartagena Airport booked through Booking.com € 15 per night with breakfast
  • Water € 1..50

Link to more images at @Kapikoy100

Links for reference and further reading: 

In Search of… something