Monday, February 11, 2008

Cartagena

I have been in Cartagena, Colombia (with an O not a U by the way) since last Tuesday. I flew here to participate in a mid-year conference for those recipients of the Inter-American Foundation Fellowship. While I have had some good times here and bad times (conference and hotel issues, long story)the scenery is amazing and the beer is cold. Oh yeah, there is a lot of rich culture too, and cold beer. On Friday afternoon the conference attendees were given a tour of some of the projects the Inter American Foundation services here and the following pictures represent my only pictures of non-touristy places in Cartagena. The racial mixture here is interesting as this was a major destination for the slave trade. Needless to say the most impoverished here usually have the darkest skin. The coast is also much poorer than Bogota for example where the population is more European and mestizo.

We went to two local markets that the Inter-American Foundation along with their local partners helped to reopen. As we sat in the meat section of the first market and I tried not to gag from the sickening sweet smell I took this picture.










And this one...













The second market we simply drove by so I only have a picture from quite a distance. I'm really glad we didn't go in however as the amount of garbage and the dilapidated state of the buildings was pretty extreme. Click on this photo to see a huge crowd of people outside the market.










I never made it to the beach to lay in the sun but I'm not much of a beach person so I wasn't too bothered by the lack of sand in my butt crack. The beach vendors are VERY aggressive as well, the one time I actually stepped on sand I was offered fresh crab, a watch, a massage (she actually starting rubbing my arms), and lots of sunglasses. Below are pictures I took from my hotel window. The hotel is in the Bocagrande area of Cartagena which basically has all the beaches and the large resort style hotels.










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