I'll be working on a post about Ecuador and another about Colombia over the next several days, while sailing from Cartagena to Panama. We leave at 6:30 in the morning (Thursday the 13th) and will sail for two days straight. Then, we'll spend two days in the San Blas Islands, then, on Monday, continue on to Panama. We'll take a 4x4 from where we hit land down to Panama City, where I'll spend a couple nights before heading to Costa Rica.
If you were wondering about the title to this post, here's the scoop. There are lots of parties going on right now in Cartagena. They're celebrating their independence and having a contest for the Colombian beauty queen (Fiestas de Independencias de Cartagena de Indias and Miss Colombia—unfortunately, I will be missing Miss Colombia, as it takes place tomorrow, after I leave). These parties are going on for a couple weeks. I'm glad I was here to experience a little bit of it, but would have loved to have spent more time here.
I went to a parade yesterday. People were spraying foam all over the place—cans of foam were for sale—and throwing water and flour. Some guy took a handful of flour and plastered it onto my face, getting it directly into my eye. I was okay, though. Didn't make me happy, but no big deal.
Today, I went to another street party. Got a few photos, but was just getting warmed up. There was also lots of paint being shared amongst the partygoers. A girl took a handful of paint and basically grabbed my face, hammering my eye with a finger. My eye was logged with paint. At first, I couldn't even open it. It stung a fair amount and I was quite bothered that particular partier—there are some who are quite inconsiderate, even rude, while others exercise some respect. I began to wipe the paint out of it, but wasn't really making much headway, so I bought some water and rinsed it out. Still, things weren't returning to normal. For a bit, I feared my LASIK surgery had been undone. Those who've had their corneas cut with a razor blade know what I'm talking about. I decided I should go to the hospital. I like seeing.
I caught a moto-taxi to the hospital—they use motorcycles here in Cartagena as taxis, in addition to cars—gave them my info, and got seen pretty quickly. The doctor shined a flashlight in my eyes, had me look in different directions, and had me close my eyes and then pressed on them, asking me if it hurt. Then a nurse rinsed out the questionable eye, put some antibiotics in it, put a patch over it, and gave me a shot of cortisone. I paid them, caught another moto-taxi, went to a pharmacy and got some drugs—more antibiotic creme and a couple other things—then got dinner and went back to the hostel.
My eye feels like it has sand in it, but I'm supposed to be fine. At least that's my assumption. The doctor didn't act like I was going to go blind. I guess I'll find out. I'll have plenty of time to take it easy and let the eye rest, out of reach of crazy partiers, while sailing during the next several days, so my eye should have a nice, relaxing time to heal.