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May 26, 2014 / Andee Frizzell

Seize The Momment

assIn Cartagena, it seems to me, that everything that makes life easier; gas, refrigeration, paving and repairing broken sidewalks, is expensive. And things that make life truly worth living; beer, cigarettes, brand name sunglasses and watches, are inexpensive.

Cevezas average 3000 pesos ($1.50) and can be consumed anywhere, restaurants, beaches, riding on the back of a moving motorcycles. I set a mission for myself while I was here, find the cheapest beer sold. And to date, it stands at 50 cents. This beer will never win the ‘Brewers Award’, but it was only 50 cents!

Food is also extremely cheap. Menu Del Dia (Menu of The Day) consists of soup, salad, an entrée and a blended fresh fruit juice for 8000 pesos ($4).

Note to other vegetarians, in Colombia, there is meat in EVERYTHING!

I found simulated bacon strips in my ‘plain’ chips and pollo (chicken) flavoured gum! I have had to forge a diet of fruit juices and salads made from cabbage and onions, (the latter was the reason I accidentally discovered the pollo flavoured gum).

Fresh fruits of the most exotic variety are available in abundance at grocery stores, in baskets atop colourfully clad damsels heads and from pull carts parked on sidewalks.

Fresh zapota (tastes like an apple and kiwi offspring) lulo (tastes like pineapple and lime) guanabana (tastes like kiwi and lime), mora (tastes like a blackberry raspberry combo) mangos and papayas, are sold whole or sliced (flavoured with fresh lime and sea salt) for a few cents.  And for the truly adventurous, you can get a side of hot sauce to drizzle over your fruit.

A vendor yelling, “Fruta Fresca” (fresh fruit) caught my attention the other day.

What drew me to this particular vendor was not his melons but his ass, literally, his ass, burro, (donkey).

In the shade of a palm tree, stoic and proud, stood the man’s charge, and I wanted a ride.

I approached, tentatively, not wanting to frighten the beast or man and said in Span-glish (English words spoken in a Spanish accent), “Can I ride your donkey?”

Displaying a near toothless grin, the man understood my request and waved me over. He untied a machete the length of one of my legs and an axe, Paul Bunyan would have swung, from the saddle strapped to the beast and hoisted me up.

The saddle was made of wood and heavy woven wool which made maintaining an upright posture near impossible. I crossed my legs across the back of the donkey’s neck and engaged every abdominal muscle I have, praying I wouldn’t fall off.

With a sharp slap to the rump, the donkey lurched forward and began walking in a tight circle. Wobbling in the saddle and holding onto the vendor’s hat which I borrowed to complete the look (a drunken college student riding a mechanical bull) I posed for pictures.

For the cost of two mangos and one papaya and most of my dignity, I can now cross ‘ride a donkey’ off my bucket list.



Leave a Comment
  1. Slam / May 26 2014 3:32 pm

    LOL. Glad you are getting some ass in Cartagena.

  2. eugene / May 27 2014 2:51 am

    My mind reels at the potential captions for the photos,,,

  3. arcticgoddess / May 28 2014 12:07 am

    He has obviously been asked more than once for a ride on his ass. LOL

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