|Our impression of Tampa is one of highways and waterways|
|Juliana was such a sweetheart!|
We got up early the next morning in order to re-pack our bags, which was going to be a challenge! See, those giant boxes that Juliana and Carlos had so kindly received on our behalf came from our friend Rob Englehardt in West Hatfield, MA, and contained about 34 pairs of boat shoes from the boats we are shipping to Colombia.
Because of a ridiculous regulation, it is illegal to import used shoes to Colombia (it might damage the local shoe industry), and even though we explained many, many times to the importation office that these shoes were a part of the boat and were useless for any other purpose, they told us we could not send the boats with shoes attached. So, both Maurizio and I had packed an extra suitcase inside of a larger one, and we now went about the process of filling them with shoes. It was more difficult than you might think, as they all had footplates and screws attached to them, and it was a fun game of Tetris trying to make them all fit. We had also planned to stop at a nearby mall to buy me some trainers (still can’t find shoes in my size here in Colombia) and him some sunglasses (I got some too), which would also have to be squeezed in. All of this accomplished, and a fond farewell said to our gracious hosts, we made our way back to the rental car place and returned our car with only a little hassle. Finally, we made it to the airport pretty much just in time for our flight, which went first to Cartagena de Indias, and then to Bogotá.
|Hey, buddy! Wanna buy some used shoes? Cheap!|
We had, ostensibly, a 6-hour layover in Cartagena, so we had planned to visit the home of Maurizio’s mom’s cousin, Soledad, and to take a little walk around the Old City. We arrived in good time, but we were stopped at the airport because of our bags full of shoes, which probably looked very suspicious on the x-ray machine. We had to open the bags and explain that we were coaches of a rowing team which had just come from a competition, and that we were transporting equipment. When he saw the old, battered, smelly shoes with footplates attached, the security guard was happily convinced that we were not damaging the Colombian shoe industry in any way, so he cleared our bags to go on the next flight.
|Lots of these in Cartagena!|
|Up on the windy wall, looking back at the city streets|
|Hanging out with a Botero|
Thus ended our US adventure...but we were looking forward to the Colombian one scheduled for the following week!