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Journal #18: Panama -> Cartagena

This is from a journal written on January 22, 2022.


We arrived in Cartagena last Saturday, although I was sure our flight was on Sunday until I got the flight check-in email Friday night. We were gearing up to have a wild night in Panama City, and then, whoops! Our flight was the next morning.



Note to self: always check your flight time before drinking hour the weekend you leave.


Thankfully it was only 6:00 pm, and we were eating at dinner, a place recommended to us by a guy at the brewery we were just at. So we went back, packed, and hit the roof for a few more drinks.


While on the roof, I noticed this guy at the bar wearing a Santa Cruz t-shirt.

”Hey! You from Santa Cruz?” I yelled over the thumping reggaeton.


“Huh?” A thick yet confused Southern accent crept through his short question.


”Your shirt. You from Santa Cruz?” I pointed at his chest.


”Oh, no. I’m from Tennessee.”


Now, looking back, I’m not sure if people from Santa Cruz rock the Santa Cruz swag, but it was an entry to the comical conversation we were about to have.


”My buddies and I are here on our yacht!” He eagerly motioned towards a group of three dudes about our age, sipping margs at the end of the bar.


This is curious, I thought.


”Yeah! We hit it big in Bitcoin and bought a yacht! It’s a hundred somethin’… uh a hundred filter foot yacht!”


”you’re shitting me,“ I scoffed. “Is this a joke?”


”No, no. I’m serious! We were in Cartagena and just took it through the canal this morning.”


I gave Brett a ‘what-the-fuck’ look and then looked back at this guy.


”So, uh, if you don’t mind my asking… how much did you make? Off your Bitcoin?”


”Well, you see, I made $150K, and my buddies made a bunch off it too. So we cashed in and blew it all on this yacht. You only live once, right?” He chuckled.


Hm, $150K and a 150-foot yacht. Either his buddies made a lot more than he did, or something’s not adding up.


“Yeah, it’s true!” he insisted. “I’d show you pictures of the boat, but I don’t have my phone on me.”


He proceeded to call his boys over, made introductions, and elbowed the tall one. “Tell ’em! Tell ’em about our yacht.”


”Well, it’s not really our yacht. We’re just chartering it,” the tall one admitted.


”Yeah!” Tennessee boy said in agreement.


I don’t think he understands what chartering a yacht means. But, hey. That’s more yacht than I have, and Tenessee boy was psyching in Panama with his best buds.


Go, little rockstar.



Flight time


Fast-forward about 18 hours, and Brett and I were sippin’ Aguila Lights on a new rooftop in the next city, Cartagena.


A group rolled up to the roof; a couple of confident Latina women, two fem Latino men, and a fútbol americano player from Bogota.


The first thing Brett noticed was, “Football guy has a puff.”


Brett being Brett, he popped right up and went to ask the man where he got it, in broken Spanish, of course. Football Guy gladly informed Brett that we could get them in the streets. He and Brett walked up to me at the table, and we chatted for a while using Spanish and English words interchangeably.


Yes, I thought, we’ve finally hit a country where we can practice our Spanish!


We found out he and his squad were here for the weekend to party. Perfect. It’s our first day in Colombia, and we have already found some Colombian friends to get lit with.


Brett and I left to change, get a puff in the street, meet back on the roof, drink in the pool with our new friends, and plan the night.


Chris, Pipe, Daniel, Charlie, Sandra, Bert, and Tay. Night squad.


Chris proposed a ‘dynamic’ for the night where los gringos must speak only Spanish, and los Colombians speak only English.


We partied, ate pizza, and started the dance floor back at our Selina rooftop to end the night. It was una no he muy diverting. The streets come alive at height here in the walled city. The energy is electric.


First night out in Cartagena = great success!

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