What I Would Never Change about Cartagena

Music, music, music! Everywhere music–on buses, in taxis, in stores, blasting from bars and outdoor hole-in-the-wall tiendas. I love to hear the music of Cartagena–be it vallenatos, salsa, or champetas. It makes me feel alive and in the moment. I love the hustle and bustle of people moving around doing their daily errands and work. Lots of movement and little personal space. People don’t mind if you rub up against them in passing by. People stop to talk to each other right in the middle of the narrow sidewalks. I don’t mind. No one minds. We just walk around them, sometimes right out into the street to get by. There’s an aliveness, a hopefulness, a better tomorrow type of feeling that I would never want to change.

If you’re near the ocean’s edge at 6:30 p.m., you can watch the giant orange ball drop into the water. Same time every night. It never changes because we’re so close to the equator. I would never change that, even if I could. It’s a glorious, awe-inspiring sight.

I would never change the weather–some days the sun is already merciless by 9:30 a.m. January to April or May you’ll rarely see a drop of rain but you can be comforted by the cool afternoon and evening breezes.

Looking out from on top of the walls

I love the old downtown part of Cartagena, surrounded by las murallas (the stone walls) that you can walk on and look out at the ocean. The “walled city” is full of charm and steeped in history. I fully expect the characters from Love in the Time of Cholera to be strolling through Parque Bolivar, stopping to comment on Simon Bolivar’s statue as he sits upon his horse.

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