Travel Lesson #2: Be Creative

I’m a girl with a mission. For over a year now, I have been traveling the globe in search of truth. Along the way I am discovering myself. Here is one tale from the road, of which there will be many forthcoming…
I’m a travel writer, so I don’t have a lot of money. I barely earn what I can spend, and sometimes I can’t even get by. Do I complain? No, not at all. There is a resourcefulness that comes with this job that I didn’t know I had until recently.
An illustration:
My friend and I are currently in Cartagena enjoying ourselves tremendously on the first stop of our tour of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Seeking a much-needed break from the heat, we decided we would try to sneak our way into the Sofitel pool. Otherwise known as Hotel Santa Clara, the Sofitel is one of Cartagena’s premiere hotels, and its employees don’t hesitate to show it. Dressed in our “finest” (she, a white dress with golden slippers; I, a nice tank top, black mini skirt and flip-flops — neither of us looking particularly elegant), we immediately draw attention from the three guards standing at the entrance.
“Where are you going?” one guard asks us.
“We are visiting,” my friend says.
“This is a hotel for guests only,” he says.
Pulling out my “I work for a travel guidebook and would like to write a favorable review of your hotel” card, the guard escorts us to reception. There, we ask the concierge if we can sit in the café. As we survey the café, really just wondering how we can sneak our way into the pool, we are greeted by another guard.
“Where is your pool?” My friend comes right out with it.
“There is an event today,” this guard tells us. “Come back tomorrow.”
“Yes, but where is it?” my friend insists.
The guard remains mum as we walk toward the opposite end of the courtyard, thankfully finding the entrance to the pool. It is a small pool situated inside another courtyard, but it will do. My friend and I sit at a table, order two drinks and two towels, and then she hops in the water.
Our server places our towels on the table, then asks me for our room number. I should have seen this coming but, never a good liar, I tell him the truth — that we were hoping to enjoy the pool and relax at the hotel, but were not staying there.
“You really must be a guest to use the pool,” he tells me.
“Oh, I see,” I try to act surprised.
“Please, tell your friend to get out of the pool.”
He huffs away, taking our towels with him. Both stunned by the severity of our situation we decide to leave the hotel without paying the bill.
Tomorrow is another day. My friend and I have discovered another, better pool at the Hotel Charleston down the street. Having already been in the pool twice, my friend is now reading Vanity Fair and sipping on her second mojito. Between sips of my own “limonada de coco” (which must be where that song “Lime in the Coconut” came from), I too am enjoying an afternoon poolside refresher.
I guess there are two morals to this story:
1. Stick it to the snobs
2. Success is sweet

Letter From Your Editor: April Showers Bring…Stress
Letter From Your Editor: April Showers Bring…Stress
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