I spent a few hours touring the city on my own.
and I ended up ion The Centennial Park.What facinated me most there were the iguanas. They climbed high up in trees and were very territorial. I saw one fight high up that ende with the loser falling to the ground with a thump.
But of course I also took pictures of people. I find that more and more interesting.
Cartagena lies by the Carribean sea and is a popular stop for a lot of cruise ships. The day we came to the city three huge cruise ships also arrived and the tourists filled the old city. It was obvious that tourism had a great impact in the city. There were hundreds of street vendors selling everything from T-shirts, juice, post cards, souvenirs etc, and they were quite active. It was a pity as the old part of the city was really nice, but the tourists and the salespeople made it much less attractive.
We went through a part of the city that few tourists ever visited, called Getsemane and I liked that better. here the “natives” lived. We were told that 80% of the inhabitants in Cartagena are descendants from slavesand some of the street art reflected that.
The streets were narrow, the colors were bright, the houses were max two stories high.
In an open place there were some special statues.
To me this visit to Getsemane was the best part of our 2 days stay in Cartagena. I just hope it will take a long time before tourism also changed that part of the city. Tourism definitely has its disadvantages for us tourists. There is a paradox here!
We were told that the carnival in Barranquilla is the second largest after Rio. The parade takes 5-6 hours, we watched 2-3 hours and I took more than 100 pictures.
In addition to the parade, there were a lot of activities in the city. Street vendors of all sorts were everywhere. Even in our hotel’s lobby there were music and dance.
Before we found our seats, I strolled to watch the activities. It was very easy to get in touch with people, smile and laughter were everywhere.
The people on the tribune were very colorful and in high spirit.
The woman with the orange wig insisted on hugging me several times and she loved being photographed.
The parade was very colorful and I really enjoyed it. Here is a selection of what we saw.
Our local guide in the San Augustin area was Joacuin.
I think his story is so interesting so I will try to tell it, as I consider him to be a hero.
He was mayor in San Augustin during the difficult years when the FARC-guerrilla was active. He was given the advice of not staying in the same place more than one day, but one night as he visited friends he was abducted at gunpont and taken out in the jungle. FARC demanded to get 5% of the town’s budget, but Joacuin refused. It was not his money, he said. Every morning he was threatened at gunpoint and asked if he had changed his mind. He had not. After some weeks they made the compromise that he should give half his salary to FARC. Then they let him go. He was offered to be moved to Canada, but refused. He kept his part of the deal until the FARC lost its power.
He called me his friend from the Arctic and we communicated well.
Suddenly the conflict in Colombia got a human face, and that has made an impression on me.
They call it a desert, but after seeing Sahara and Taklimakan, I would not call it that but it is definitely wilderness, mostly of red clay.
It seemed to be a popular place for young people and many had stayed overnight in tents. Pictures were taken by all.
To my big surprise there were goats living in this wilderness, they climbed high up and I hope they found some food there, as it looked pretty arid to me.
La Raquira is a small town known for its colorful painted houses.
I enjoyed walking through the street (I think it was only one) and connecting to the local people. They were friendly even if we did not have a common language. But a smile and a “Hello” are universal.
I came to a cafe where around 20 people had a good time, so I went over and asked if I could take pictures. That was OK, and I was immediately adopted with the name “Gringo”. A word I thought only was used in Western movies. They even gave me a beer. Again we had no common language, but that did not stop smiles and laughter.
So while the others looked at the church, I enjoyed the company of the locals, and I am convinced I had the best deal.
The street was lined with shops and the selection was varied.
Of course I took pictures of people in Bogota, I like more to take pictures of people than of things.