Cartagena, City Of Contrasts
I have to admit, I never thought I’d find myself in Cartagena. In fact, I rather hoped I wouldn’t, since all we hear about Colombia is drug wars and violence, with a little side note of coffee thrown in. What we saw in a single day was such a study in contrasts that I’m tempted to let the photos speak for themselves,
but I don’t know exactly what they’d say to you. I know that I don’t want to go back to Cartagena, but I’m glad to have been there for a few hours. Where to begin?
Some people live like this. Rather a lot of people, I imagine. Some may have it much worse, but our guide wouldn’t take us there.
Some people live like this, mostly rich foreigners, according to our guide.
There are bars on all the windows, no matter how decorative they are. We didn’t get to see where the very rich Colombians live, but then again, I don’t think we really wanted to be in that neighborhood.
The Church clearly has scads of money.
This altar is all gold, which made me squeamish in the same way that the Hermitage in St. Petersburg did, when I saw old ladies begging just outside the door.
The Social Security building was not far
from a huge and elaborate bank building, which has its own sort of appropriateness.
Before there were banks people worshipped the Golden Goat.
Now they work,
many doing things especially for tourists.
There were lots of ladies dressed like this, and you could pay to take their picture,
plus hundreds, if not thousands, of these guys. I was safely in a van, because if I’d been walking they would have been blocking my every step, trying to sell me some cheap purses, fans, drawings, bracelets “real silver, lady” or other tourist gewgaws that it’s hard to imagine anyone buying.
I’m crossing my fingers that these school kids grow up to have more options.
There were quiet refuges for us in Cartagena
although we had to pay to enter them.
I didn’t love Cartagena, in any measure, but I’m glad to have seen it for one short day. And just as glad to flee towards Florida.