Skip to main content

A Caribbean Christmas

I didn't think I could get in the Christmas spirit in shorts and 80 degree weather. It just isn't Christmas without cold, clouds, and ice mimicking the North Pole. However, despite the palm trees, Cartagena definitely is in the Christmas spirit. Everyone is painting their cement homes and decking them with blinking lights, glowing Santa Clauses, bright candy canes, white snow flakes, and plastic trees. The City has decorated all the parks and tourist areas. The carols have a rhythm unlike anything you've heard in church or on the radio.  Last night, fireworks filled the sky above my house. Children woke up at dawn to light candles in honor of the Virgin Mary (Dec. 8th: Dia de la Concepcion "Velitas") to officially start the holiday season.  I will be spending Christmas in Boston this year, but I'll be turning up the heat and music so everyone can celebrate Caribbean style.


  1. Carolyn--I just saw you are a PCV in Cartagena--welcome, from an ex PCV from Colombia 1968-70! I have been married to a Colombian from B/Quilla for 38 years; we have a place in C/Gena and would love to say hello to you when we visit in late Jan. I think you know Helene Dudley, who was a PCV in my time and we have worked together on The Colombia Project for the last few years.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Peace Corps Colombia Begins... Again

9/26/2010 – 10/15/2010 C1 On September 26, 2010, I arrived along with 8 others to Barranquilla, Colombia to reinstate the United States Peace Corps . We are called Colombia 1 (C1) even though there were many groups before us from 1961- 1981. Peace Corps had to shut down its programs to protect Peace Corps Volunteers’ (PCVs) safety endangered by guerilla warfare and civil unrest. Now, we are back serve to Colombia`s northern coast, but are still proud to be former PCVs from Liberia, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Dominican Republic, Guatemala,  Honduras, Paraguay, and Colombia. Our ages range from 26 to 69 years old. We are all are from different regions of the US and have different ethnicities. One PCV, Carolina, is from Bogota, Colombia, but moved to Florida when she was 17 years old and became a US citizen. Now, she is serving both the US and Colombia. Our oldest PCV, Philip, served in Colombia from 1963- 1965, returned home to be an ESL teacher in the Compton and Watts neighborhoods of Los

Top Ten Things I Always Do in Colombia, But Never at Home

10. Shower with cold water since, no one has or needs hot water 9. Eat homemade rice, beans, meat, and soup with a bone in it everyday 8. Sing out loud at school, in the street, and on the bus 7. Keep my bag on my lap or insight at all times 6. Carry toilet paper everywhere I go 5. Drink liquids out of plastic bags instead of bottles 4. Wear clean and ironed clothes everyday 3. Get in-home manicure and pedicure service 2. Put on 50 sunblock all over my body everyday instead of moisturizer 1. Love the weather

La Buseta: Cartagena's Original Roller Coaster Ride

Cartagena has a fun and hectic bus culture with a surprisingly civil etiquette. The buses are called busetas because they are much smaller than most public buses in the world. Many of the Cartagena`s  barrio  streets are narrow and curvy which makes turning difficult. Anyone over 5'4" is normally uncomfortable with their knees jammed in the back of the seat in front of them. My friends over 6 feet have to stoop when standing on a crowded bus. Their heads hit the ceiling with every bump. It can also be quite hot since, temperatures are normally in the high 80s 10:00AM to 3:00PM every day of the year. There are a few air-conditioned buses for a few pesos more. However, they do not have what makes most Latin American buses truly fun and festive: music and decorations. In Cartagena, the buses blare all sorts of rhythms: Salsa, Vallenato (Colombia's Country music), Champeta (Afro-Colombian music from Cartagena), and many others that I am still learning. I've never he