We have some exciting news to announce over here in Cartagena. As of two days ago, this next week will no longer only be about the adventures of Josh and Julia. This week a new traveler joins us all the way from apparetnly allergy infested Washington DC. GWU alumnus Michael Jacobs arrived two days ago in the afternoon of a hot, sunny, and steamy day here in Catagena and was welcomed with hugs, a little sweat, and smiles. We took a lovely airconditioned taxi back to our Hotel Holiday and the fun began!
We´ve been exploring Cartagena, eating a lot of fish, and hitting the beach. Mike´s already burned.
The city of Cartegena is amazing to just walk around and explore. It was founded in 1533 by yet another greedy Spaniard named Pedro de Heredia. There was lots of gold, and an important port so differnt people were always trying to steal this fine city from the Spanish.(little taste of their own medecine if you ask me). First it was pirates, then the French, then some guy from Basque, amd most famously Sir Francis Drake´s attack in 1586 caused good ol´ Pedro and his archbishop to flee until they paid bunches of money (around 200 million of today´s US dollars). Drake left, but not before destroying half the city. Oh, those Brits...
The attacks continued, resulting in the amazing, and beautiful, city walls that surround the old city. By 1756 the city was impregnable. There is also a giant fort, and beautiful wall tops that now house cafès and great view points to watch the sun set which is all that really matters in the end.
Actually, this history all really does matter because it's what makes Catagena so different from the rest of Colombia. This now impenetrable port was a slave port, and continued to bring in people from all over the world as time went on. According to our friends, while the rest of South America was receiving a lot of immigrants (places like Buenos Aires) fleeing war and persecution, Colombia was way to wrapped up in its own civil wars to attrack many new citizen seeking refugees. Cartagena was the only place that continued to recieve people from different parts of the world, and it is even rumored to have a few Jews. I think I even saw one the other day!
Today Cartagena is filled with more black people than I´ve seen since I got on the A train heading to Harlem when I visited Patrick last August. But the diversity is outstanding.
At night, young girls put on their finest to strut through the old city in impossibly high heels and incredibly short dresses on the arms of their chicos, while older couples walk towards outdoor bars in old colonial squares in slighly more modest attire. We walk around, like cartoon characters, always in about the same outfit since we have so few, sticking out like sore thumbs but happily people watching from a bench, or perched on an old city wall overlooking the ocean.
So far Cartagena has been good to us, but today we head to Santa Marta to continue our adventures. After that we head to the much talked about Parque Tyrona!!!!!