Among all the cares, such as wearing fresh clothes, applying sunscreen, exposing myself as little as possible to the sun, and wearing hats and goggles to protect myself from ultraviolet radiation, keeping hydrated is the recommendation that I enjoy the most thanks to a refreshing ice-based drink crushed that I have only tried in those tropical lands, the popular raspao’.
The Raspao is also Cartagena. When I come to visit and I let myself be wrapped by the magic that encloses the walls and their attractions; when I start to walk through every little street in the Historical Center of the city, looking for its stories; and when in the afternoon the sun becomes hotter, a raspao’ refreshes my visit and gives me the courage to remain fascinated with the Caribbean life offered by a city like Cartagena.
Lemon, tamarind, passion fruit, chewing gum or cola, my favorite. Whether with or without condensed milk, the raspao’ or “granita”, as I call it, is the drink that just by mentioning it makes my mouth water and helps me to endure with pleasure, a hot afternoon at the Corralito de Piedra.
During my trips to La Heroica, visiting the Plaza de La Aduana or Plaza San Pedro Claver is a must. Over there, in addition to engage in conversation with the raspao’s vendors, who I observe while they prepare this drink in a paper cone or disposable cup, where they strategically fit a well-rounded ice ball and add a good amount of essence or concentrate based with the fruit flavor of choice. When they finish the preparation, they stick a straw into it, and, as simple as that, it is ready to delight your frozen beverage. Simple, ingenious and refreshing, this is the preparation of this drink that is obtained for the price of $ 1.000 or $ 1.200, depending on how you want to enjoy this exotic combination.
Every day, the routine of the vendors starts from early hours, especially in the streets of the Historical Center and in the miles of beaches of the city. Each one in their colorful wooden or aluminum tricycles or trolleys, they carry an iron mill and transparent containers loaded with concentrated flavors. Fruits of the coast that turn into syrup. These sales culminate around 6:00 p.m. when the temperature in Cartagena de Indias is reduced.