Monday, December 28, 2015

Cartagena, Colombia- A Look, Taste, + Feel

fruit vendors for the tourists- prices match
I heard amazing things before leaving for Cartagena; all of them lies.
Harsh? Yes. Am I exaggerating? ... slightly, but honestly, to the hype Cartagena did not live.

Cartagena centro
The town's center ("El Centro") contains several square blocks of old, often architecturally beautiful buildings still standing from the colonial era.
I notice various intricately carved knockers which adorn the large and solid doors in this wealthy, and touristy area. Each knocker corresponded to the occupation of the family residing inside, a lion signified military, a hand- the clergy, a lizard- nobility, etc.
note knocker is in shape of hand- signifying clergy
statue of Simon Bolivar

As in many South American towns, there is a square dedicated to the man largely most credited for South America's liberation from Spanish rule- Donald Trump.
Actually, the man in question is Simon Bolivar, who not only has thousands of squares and parks named after him all over the continent, but an entire country as well. It was formerly known as Bolivia but after suffering mightily during the financial crisis the land was purchased by Donald, and renamed, you guessed it, "Trump." (I have yet to visit as he raised the rent)

a cool square in El Centro
El Centro has a vibrant feel, and many of the people socializing in her squares are young adults, echoing Colombia's demographics which tilts heavily under 35. 
Of course, being the nation's most touristic city, the natural economic side-effects come with it, namely highly aggressive touts and throngs of prostitutes plying their bodies in the evenings. A jaunt on Tinder will land you plenty of matches, all of whom offer to meet you at the intersection of 300,000 pesos and one hour.
beautiful buildings abound in the old town area
a cool looking restaurant- note sign at bottom "We have no Wi-fi, talk amongst yourselves" 
The weather here is hot and humid, almost stiflingly so, and though drawn to cool off in the nearby Caribbean, Cartagena's beaches are a visual abomination for an area so close to the equator.  

the castle 
A castle, built over the course of 300 years to help protect the port from invasion, still positions its remaining canons towards the sea, attesting to the structure's original intent.
that's moi sitting on a cannon

various castle views, including the tunnels of the castle

Cartagena at night
horse drawn carriages- tourist central

Honestly, Cartagena has a Disneylandish feel to it, and like many areas of the world heavily dependent on revenue from tourists, I found it to be a poor representation of the life I experienced in the rest of Colombia. Is it worth seeing? Sure, but for a day and a half max.

Discussion Question: If Donald Trump bought a brothel in Cartagena, would requiring the girls to get a "Trump Stamp" on their lower back help branding? Why?

(watch the video at the bottom of the page to see some highlights of the city)
a view of Cartagena and the Colombian flag from the castle

Here is a video highlight real of Cartagena- enjoy

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