I slept late again, and struck out on a mission for cash and Colombia guidebook (in English). I tried at least four local banks, all of which denied my request for a cash advance against my credit card. One gentleman did point me in the right direction, toward Plaza del Sol, the city’s commercial and tourist center.
After walking around the busy plaza for a half hour, I finally walked up to a Change place right outside the metro stairs, where I was happy to see a piece of paper in the window indicating they handled cash advances against credit cards. But I decided to hold off, as I would be flying to Colombia the following day. Instead, I cashed my final traveler´s check.
A little extra cash in my pocket, I headed off to the bookstore Yair looked up online which had the Colombia Lonely Planet in stock. I found it easily, paid the hefty price for a book with so few pages, and ate a Spanish omelet at a big restaurant nearby. Sitting at the bar, I paged through the guidebook, only to see a familiar face as a contributing author. Thomas Kohnstamm, author of Do Travel Writers Go To Hell, worked on the 2006 edition. On the television, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup was being broadcast live from Jungfrau, the mountain region I had recently visited in Switzerland.
I was split between visiting the city´s modern art museum, or the Royal Palace. I was closer to the palace and had already been to a museum the previous day, so I spent an hour walking through an ostentatious display of interior design (fit for a King, of course). No photos allowed.
After touring the palace, I returned to Yair´s apartment where I laid down on the fold-out futon, hoping my gurgling intestines would relax. As 9pm rolled around, I got up the energy to join Yair for a night out in La Latina – a popular and lively nightlife area near the city center.
The first bar we went to was packed. He introduced me to his friend’s friend whose birthday was call for the get together. We had a few small beers. Yair explained the small glass size was to ensure the beers didn’t get warm before being fully consumed. After hanging out for awhile, amongst more than a few English teachers, we went for a short walk to the basilica but it wasn´’t lit up.
We went to a smaller, less crowded bar for another beer, and I managed to order some potatoes with a spicy sauce before they completely closed the kitchen. One of Yair’s friends met us there before the bar closed completely.
Barely 6 hours sleep to my credit, I awoke at 7:45am, showered, and tried to buy an Avianca flight from Cartagena, Colombia to Miami, but my Capital One card was rejected, and then the website didn´t work. Due to the theft, I had canceled my E*Trade card so I couldn´t use that either. Visions of being rejected entry into Colombia (a la South Africa) for lacking proof of onward travel kept my stress levels high.