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Showing posts from 2017

Dash Cam Cartagena #4

Strike! Littering with intent.

Sometimes people just feel the need to stand in the bus lane, chug a soda, and then slam it on the ground.

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Dash Cam Cartagena #3

La Boquilla Cienaga y Manglar

These residents are living in marsh and mangroves, right down the highway from a luxury condominium and hotel district called Los Morros.

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Dash Cam Cartagena #2

Here are a few shots of the streets of Cartagena, Colombia from my dashboard camera.

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Dash Cam Cartagena #1

Driving provides an unique view of the world we travel. I hope to capture Cartagena's singularities on my dashboard camera (dash cam). I hope you enjoy what entertains and fascinates me every day.

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We Are Angels, Also.

Cartagena residents criticize themselves for not having a sense belonging or pertinencia to their city. They recognize their lack of civic duty. Who has the time? People need to work and figure out how to get their next meal. It is survival of the fittest when lawlessness prevails. Corruption and poverty have beaten the belonging out of the people. However, there is one day when the city comes together: November 1st, All Saints' Day.  Angeles Somos (We Are Angels) allows all residents to have a purpose; to belong.

During Angeles Somos, children hit the streets with pots and pails in hand.  They stand outside homes and clang their kitchen wares with sticks like cowbells. When someone answers the door, they chant: 

Tintililillo √Āngeles somos, del cielo venimos, pidiendo limosnas pa’ nosotros mismos. (We are angels who come from heaven, asking for your spare change for ourselves.) 
Cinco pesos pa' mi bolsillo.
(5 pesos for my pocket.)
No te mates, no te mates. Saca el dinero de escapar…

Machismo Curtails Drug Sales

Before I arrived to Colombia in 2010, I watched a lot of “Locked Up Abroad” on Nat Geo. Ninety percent of the episodes were about foreign drug mules getting caught by Colombian authorities. I had to stop watching the shows because the idea of going to a Latin American jail scared the mierda out of me. Drugs. Cocaine. Trafficking. Narcos. Mules. Was I going to be the next sap? I would have liked to have thought that I knew how to handle myself in Latin America. After all, I had already lived in Ecuador, Chile, and Paraguay. However, at least on television, even the brightest of foreigners seemed to be lured in by the drug industry.

Seven years later, the good news is I have never been offered any kind of drug in Cartagena and I have only seen the outside of the women’s jail. It is hard to miss being that it is right next to Plaza San Diego, a great place to eat and buy local handicrafts. My male friends indicate that machismo is the reason for my drug naivety. They all have been offere…

Coming Out of Hiding

I am finally coming out of hiding. I have not written in more than 4 years on this blog despite the fact that I still live in Cartagena. Working at a bilingual private school and getting married muffled my voice so only I could hear it. Thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for years, but I usually saved the water downed versions as examples for my students' writing assignments. I always wanted them to be able to express themselves as well as possible, so they would be heard. I learned a great amount from those students who truly tried to communicate and reach another human being.

Despite all the entertaining garbage I wade through on my phone,  I  still believe that a well-written, heartfelt article can float to the top, be remembered, and provide a lesson.  An article can refocus someone and provide an impetus of change. Right now on the Colombian news feeds, Trump is throwing paper towels to people in need. Yes, it is vulgar, but instead of screaming at the screen and …