It’s always amazing to me how much a good night’s sleep makes everything seem better. I feel more relaxed, more able to deal with stress and think through things in a more thorough way. The last two weeks, I felt like I was fading down the stretch in terms of intellectual prowess, even as I felt I was connecting more with people than ever, especially the second years.
It actually reminded me of my Pearson days– you get to know your class really well in the first few months, and simultaneously the second years are over their stressful hump (in those days, their EEs and college applications, but at SOM, it’s mostly job interviews). You meet a few cool second years and then realize there must be more! As you start this concerted effort to get to know your second years, glean from the wisdom of their 8 month head start, you feel like you’re already losing them as they’re gone in 5 months. But armed with my prior experience, I’m trying not to think of the loss but really focusing on relationships and the fun moments in between.
It was with all these thoughts swirling that I picked myself out of bed, got a coffee and an arepa stuffed with egg and started the day, albeit with no voice due to a cold I’m still getting over. After a few hours of writing, reading and getting myself organized (a constant battle), Kevin and I decided to go into the old city for two hours before I had to take a call.
We started our time with popsicles at La Paletteria. Thanks, Jose for the great suggestion! I had a fruit popsicle that I promptly managed to get all over myself the minute we stepped out from the coolness of the store and into the Cartagena heat.
And then got a coconut as we went to get some more cash. I’m such a sucker for tender coconut. Drinking the sweet water and crunching on coconut meat just reminds of summers at my grandparents, when we cousins would be unsupervised hooligans running around the countryside, only coming home for snacks in the evening, like coconut or jackfruit or treasures from my grandmother’s chip cupboard.
We walked around for a bit and just soaked in the city- its diversity, its people, its sights, sounds and smells. And even in the exotic, you sometimes spot something familiar.
Seeing other people get lunch made us feel hungry.
And then, La Boliche Cebicheria. Up there with Chicha in Peru for one of the best meals ever. Their ceviche was creative and fresh and delicious- what more could one ask? If you go (and you should absolutely go if you’re in Cartagena), get the Tamarindo!
After lunch, we hurried back home. The rest of the gang were back from their diving trip, and were tired. I croaked my way through a call and had to take a nap to recover from that ordeal. I woke up to this beauty.
After hanging out on the balcony for a few more hours, writing, drinking, talking, we decided to go back to the city for dinner. This was the first time we strayed from the walls and it sure looked different that the fairly clean, touristy version that we saw earlier.
Tonight’s spot was La Malagana. We took over the tiny cafe and chowed down on fish tacos and shrimps. The rebel in me ordered a very delicious hamburger 🙂
After dinner, our group split up as some wanted to go to the casino while others wanted to drink and hang (our version of Netflix and chill). I was definitely with the hang group. And that’s how I found myself outside the Cathedral de San Pedro Calver around 11pm, sitting in the square, sipping on wine and cocktails as we talked about drinking in China, family backgrounds and the recruiting process. (I definitely encourage people to do something like this if they go to Cartagena- we went to the San Pedro cafe, mainly because the recommended El Baron was not willing to host 10 or even 5 of us, even though it looked like they could have made the space.)
Because we weren’t quite ready to go home, we wandered over to the Cafe del Mar around 1:30am and hung out for another hour, buoyed by vodka red bulls and stellar views. Definitely a night for the books!