I love getting up early in a new place to wander around and take pictures.
Since Jack tends to wake up later than I do, I have a couple of hours in the morning by myself give me chance to wander around in my own pace.
My early morning walks is my chance to go as slow as I want and make as many photo stops as I want, it’s a taste of selfishness that’s a privilege to solo travelers out there.
Making new friends is also easier when you’re by yourself.
Besides, there’s something I quite enjoy about seeing a place waking up especially in a place as full of character as Cartagena.
In Cartagena, I’d end my walk by getting a tinto (200 COP) or an ‘aromatica’ from one of the street vendors. Carrying my cup, I’d sit on my favorite corner in front a church, and watch the town getting ready for the day.
In these hours the streets are quiet, and the air still retains its coolness from the night. It would be hard to believe that the day would get as hot as it will.
On their way to work, locals would stop by to get a tinto from the street vendor. Some would stop for awhile to chat.
After awhile I started noticing the same faces morning after morning. They tried to talk to me, unfortunately my lack of Spanish restricted the conversations to ‘Good morning. How are you.’ Then through gesture, they’d tell me to sit down.
And I did.
Then I watched the delivery men pushing carts piled with stuff on the street and people stepping out of these colorful buildings on their way to work.
I saw the tinto vendors get their thermoses filled up from a gigantic metal container from a store just around the corner from our hostel.
I got to watch the street cleaners picking up discarded plastic tinto cups and the previous night’s garbage off the street.
I got to see those who tend to be invisible in the excitement of sightseeing during the day.
The shadows cast on the colorful buildings were soft but I could see it getting sharper and I could feel the air temperature rising.
In a couple of hours the heat would become almost unbearable. In a couple of hours the touts, the taxis, and the other backpackers would pour out onto the street to start their day and reclaim the streets.
But not yet.
For these few hours in the morning, the streets belong to us, the early risers.