BACK FROM CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
After Sunday’s Farewell Gala, we enjoyed another short night of rest. For many however, it was a sleepless night. Indeed by 6:30 AM, the Miami group was already en route to Rafael Nunez International Airport. After a two-hour flight, they would be on the tarmac in Florida at 12:30 PM. In the transfer bus, they looked dazed, spaced out.
At 10:30 AM, it was the turn of the New York group to wave a heartfelt goodbye to Hilton Cartagena. For them it was a much more tackling journey, taking them first to Tocumen International Airport in Panama. They landed, in the USA, at JFK, at 12:45 AM, roughly twelve hours after the first group reached their destination.
It took one hour for our luggage to clear the conveyor belt. The time was consumed hugging and kissing farewell, exchanging email addresses and phone numbers, pledging to meet again next year in Barcelona, Spain, on the same week in October, for some studying, some reflection, some networking, some love, and lots of fun.
Outside of the air terminal, the group scattered. Everyone was having the same thought, it was a check mark on Colombia; it was an awesome trip… Maybe, they should do it again.
What a frenetic action-packed adventure that was! In six days, we visited two cities, had four dinner shows, threw five parties (one in the streets), took five excursions, spent 16 hours discussing poisoning and toxicology, made new friends, almost drown in a thunderstorm, and had a firework display just for us on the pier of the city of Cartagena… Could we do any better?
Colombia is one of these special countries that you may never think about visiting, however it is worth the trip. The climate is enticing, the history is striking, the culture is rich, the people are gorgeous, and nightlife is a treat.
Cartagena is not a tourist trap; it is a vibrant, colorful metropolis offering a fair deal for your dollar. The fear of political violence and drug trafficking outburst stops far from the fortifications of the UNESCO-protected walled city.
Not long into the future, the young nation strong of 47 million will resolve its internecine conflicts and share with the world its social and scientific progress. The third largest economy in Latin America will join the G14.
Travelling is the best of all universities…
Once again, I traveled abroad. In six years, that was my second trip to Cartagena, the City of the Pirates. This time, we were 83 friends and colleagues. It was a blast. I saw the Colombians in their natural habitat, rich or poor. They are just like us, making sense out existence, thriving to live a decent life, to secure the future of their children… This is a universal philosophy that transcends all creed, all races, all religions. It makes all of us the same….
I reached home, at 3:30 AM, on Tuesday. Later I learned that at the same minute, a colleague from the trip, driving home with his wife, was victim of a major car accident. The car was totaled. The passengers escaped with minor injuries. They are back at work. So am I, back, running the rat race.
If Haiti is my homeland, Warrenville is my home, and the world is my patria. I am a Citizen of the World, but it is so comfortable for me to back home…
Until the next adventure, it was The Traveller…
(The Traveller, Saturday, October 18, 2014)
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