SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2007. CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. We have arrived to hot and humid Cartagena. The old walled city, where we are staying, is a beautiful place to wander, particularly since many of the streets are empty of traffic. Many of the multi-hue colored buildings have been restored or are undergoing restoration. The most notable architectural feature are second floor wooden balconys that overlook the streets below. The downside of the restoration is that the old city looks new. Many of the retail shops and restaurants that occupy ground level of restored buildings are upscale and tourist oriented--well out of the price range for a typical Colombian.
I'm glad to be back in a Spanish speaking country, mostly because it's easier to understand than Portuguese. One hassle, however, is that people on the street continue to call out to me with ¨Happon?¨ (Japan). I haven't been here 24 hours yet and close to a half dozen people have approached me on the street with this same refrain. It's quite maddening.
Today marks the beginning of my final full month of travel. At the end of this month, I will conclude 20 months of travel around the world over the course of the past 22 months. It feels like yesterday that I began this journey in Istanbul, Turkey, back in July of 2005. Since then, I have travelled to the Middle East, Africa (Cairo to Cape Town), India, Southeast Asia, East Asia (Mongolia, China), Australia, Antarctica, and, last but not least, South America.
A bottle of Dom Pérignon awaits me in Los Angeles to celebrate my return to the United States and the end of my round the world trip--It has certainly been the adventure of a lifetime. As this chapter in my life comes to a close, I have been thinking about the next chapter, a work in progress. One thing is for sure, it will certainly be another Funchun adventure. I wouldn't have it any other way.