Enter our new friend Laura, a lovely young lady who lives in Baranquilla and offered to help us find our way.
Just getting to Barranquilla is somewhat of a challenge involving a bicycle ride from the docks to the clubhouse, a moto (motorcycle taxi) four kilometers to the highway, where we wait in the hot sun under the shade of an umbrella for the yellow and red bus which runs every half hour or so. There's a bit of road construction underway so it's about a 30 to 40 minute ride to the city. The bus is always crowded and it can be a challenge to look out the window through the crowd and find the right stop. The "air conditioning" is having the windows open, which works great until you are stuck in traffic. Several times along the way, vendors hop on and off the bus, trying to sell boxes of cookies, snacks or even ink pens. They have a tricky marketing strategy where they hand one to everyone on the bus, give their spiel and then take back the ones not sold. It's a bit hard to give back a box of cookies that only cost 75 cents... so it usually works on me.
We had plans to meet Laura at a the Exito, a huge supermercado, very similar to a Walmart. We looked at the mattresses they had to offer, but none were the right size. We walked a couple of blocks and had a great lunch in one of the nine shopping malls of Barranquilla. Laura encouraged me to try a dish local to Medillin which involved a lot of meats, rice with coconut, fried egg, plantain, beans and an arepa. It was a lot of food, but quite good... meanwhile Coleen had a Subway sandwich. We had fun learning new spanish words and helping Laura with her english (which is already quite good). Oh and that huge drink is a limonada, a great non alcoholic drink made with limes.. my favorite Colombian beverage.