Thursday, March 26, 2009

A couple shots from the highest point in Cartagena. This is a working monastery, and also was a canon emplacement meant to launch canonballs into the bay to help defend the city.

The peninsula in the distance is the main hotel section where we were staying.

These "old shoes" as they're titled are a small sculpture dedicated to a local poet who wrote a poem and dedicated it to Cartagena
Sitting in the shoe. Castillo San Felipe in the background.
The Colombian version of Pocahontas....this is the statue dedicated to Catalina, the Indian Princess. She was instrumental in helping tenuous relations between the Spanish and local Natives. She went to Europe and learned to speak 5 different languages, and continued to assist the crown in communications. And yes, the statue seems to be very form fitting and realistic. I can see why the Spanish took a liking to her and a lot of the locals.
The statue is near the Castillo San Felipe, near to the markets.
Along the wall of the old city, overlooking the Caribbean ocean. Unfortunately, with the high winds and break waters along the coast here, the clear blue colors of the Caribbean are not well noted around the shores here.
Canon emplacement with the castle in the background.
Just some horses wandering their way through the city streets. hahaha
This is the security section of one of the local banks. You push the button and the door closes while you are within this booth, you can be checked for weapons, and there is a camera. There is also a security guard on the outside portion of the bank. That's Alan trying to change money at the bank.
Wesley, Alan's kid, playing with the ipod.
Just some shots as the sun was going down on the beach.
So we went out to the beach, got some beers, purchased some Cuban cigars, and basically just hung out catching up, drinking beer. The vendors are relentless....and they come out of nowhere and seem to just cycle through non-stop. Finally got to the point that we started a game to see how fast we could get rid of the vendors as they came up to us. Alan started by pretending he was going to throw up, when they started talking to us. The more he interacted with them, the more vomiting motions he made. hahahaha they wouldn't stick around for very long. I took a different approach and started using the "force" to wave them off. :D It was hilarious to see their confused faces as I waved my hand and said "these aren't the tourists you're looking for" and "move along". It would take them a second or two, and then I would just keep repeating it, and finally they would move along, confused. hahahahaha
we were laughing so hard about it, cause we'd done it a couple times, that I told Alan to go and take a picture with the next guy. So here is a quick sequence of our attempts.

These two black ladies walk along the beach and try to get you to let them give you a foot massage. They are very persistent and after you've told them no for the 47th time, they then start to try and massage your feet, to show you how good a foot massage feels. how about "NO, YOU FUCKING ANNOYING BROAD" just go away. sheesh. then they acted all indignant when they realized that Alan really meant it, that he didn't want a foot massage. fucking hilarious.
Some guys cart...making sno-cones.
Some more late evening shots of the lifeguard station.
When the red-flags were out, the beach was closed due to high winds and bad shoreline conditions.
Chillin', drinking beer, and smoking a cigar.
That is the old city off in the distance.

Saw these two fellas roll up the beach, just patrolling. I didn't want to be the one to tell them that in America it is socially unacceptable these days for two guys to be riding on a motorcycle. hahahaha I think it's ridiculous, but it's generally all the homophobes that go on about this. Hell, no one used to care. Either way, I wasn't going to tell them. :D I don't see it as a problem really, especially when the guy on the back is packing a machine gun, as the military motorcycles were.
Romantic evening riding off into the sunset. :D
Lifeguards going after some swimmers who are ignoring the red flags.
The swimmers. :D
From our balcony at the hotel, we could look down on the Naval base, that is 2 blocks away. They had a few ships in port, and these two subs. At the end of the week, there was a lot of commotion and movement of the local military and security forces, as we found out that there was a large economic summit being held in Cartagena between the leaders of South America, and many prominent businessmen of Colombia. Lots of money and lots of security.
Here is Emily's family, celebrating their mom's (in yellow) birthday.
hahahaha and one of their nephews who, when the music was flipped on, was doing all kinds of crazy hand stands and jumping. It looks better than what it is, cause he would just jump up on one hand and then fall over. It was hilarious to watch.
Here's Wesley taking a break.
An old galleon down by the civic center and main harbor.
Late evening in the walled city, as we were wrapping up some shopping and headed to get some dinner and a beer.
One of the main churches in the old city squares.
From our dinner spot, I shot a couple photos up the street.
These "statues" were everywhere. That lady had just tipped the guy, so he was changing his position in a robot like fashion. Note the ball and chain on his ankle.
Old city.
The horse carriages will take you around the city and give you a brief tour...but you have to haggle the prices down. Cartagena is probably the most expensive city in Colombia, and even more so for tourists. Luckily we had Alan's wife with us most of the time, so they would bend on the prices. Even though we could talk them down quite a bit, they would still give us tourist prices, until she came in to the picture. Was funny to watch.
Some local dance troupe performing at a square. They played for quite a while, as the hat was passed around for donations.

This photo is right next to the statue of the "reclining woman", by Botero. They were filming what seemed like a music video. It took them about 11 takes to get this one scene down. We just drank beer in the background. :D
Apparently it's very popular to cover the seats of your motorcyles with these covers of hot women. Saw them on almost every motorcycle here.

I'll post more soon. I'm off to San Luis Obispo for their 5th Analversary hash event. on on

Colombia take 3

I'll start randomly with photos. This first one is in one of the squares, inside the old city. The artist Fernando Botero had a tendancy to portray people of "larger" proportions in his sculptures, drawings and paintings. In the best way to describe the reasoning, this is his quote: "An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it."
I guess the guy just loved the big girls. I know a hasher who is about the big girls. HAHAHAHAA!
A quick shot of the ocean, from inside the city wall.
The spaniard, Don Pedro de Heredia is displayed here in a larger than life effigy. He founded the city of Cartagena in 1533.
Here is a side shot of "El Castillo San Felipe". A very large castle that was used to defend the city against invading forces. Rumor is that there are tunnels that go way underground and connect all the castles and forts as far off as the "walled city" that is about 2 miles down on the coast.
We went into some of the lower corridors in the castle, and one of the tour guides was telling us about these "death houses" as they were referred to. These long corridors, had little cubby holes, that you can see down the length of this hall in the picture below. The cubby holes were about 3-4 feet by another 4-5 feet. Large enough for a soldier to stand inside of it. The corners of the wall into the cubby holes were cut away so that soldiers defending the castle could peek around the corner without giving themselves away. Also, there was no lights down here...back in the day. So the defending soldiers would wait in the cubby hole, with bayonets on their rifles, and stab the enemy so that the gun shots would not alert the enemy on the outside.

Lastly the ceiling was very low. I was walking along hunched over. The guide said that it was done on purpose, cause many of the invading armies/navies were tall people and the colombians were smaller in the enemy was "uncomfortable" inside the tunnels.
A shot along one of the upper walls, with the Colombian flag flying large.
A view from the main balconies high above the ground, still inside Castillo San Felipe.
Some connecting tunnels inside the castle.
Sitting down at one of the guard towers.
After the castle, we stopped in at the Museo de la Inquisicion (or the Inquisition Museum) which, whenever I say "the inquisition" I can only think of one thing..."THE INQUISITION".
HAHAHAHA. The picture below shows a torture device that was used for women that had been unfaithful to their men, whores, etc... It basically grabs the breast and cuts it up.

Here is another one, that sits with two very sharp prongs digging into the bottom of the jaw and the other piece digs into the top of the sternum. Very painful eventually stabbing them and cutting off air flow for an excrusiatingly slow death.

Aguila beer, the equivalent of PBR in Colombia. went down great, when super cold.
We stopped by the Naval Museum and saw some cool history of the naval battles and invasions by the French as well as pirates, most notable, Sir Francis Drake.
Here is a display in one of the memorabilia halls. It is dedicated to "Chicote" the ship mascot.
What's even more hilarious is that he was so loved, that when he died, they cut his head off and stuffed him to keep around, and he ended up in this museum. hahahaha
Here I am with "las negritas" as they so liked to be referred too.
These guys would dress all in black, and painted skin very black, and then would pose in frozen position begging for tips. Street performers if you will. A lot to do with the slave trade from over a century ago. Cartagena was a major port in the caribbean that involved a large amount of slave trading and shipping in and out, at this port.
A view out to the ocean from one of the canon emplacements.
Old wall, streets.
Me with the sculpture by Botero.
A nice cart sitting on an old street. I really liked this photo.
Some of the housing in the old city.
The main gate of the entire walled city. The old clock tower, and the only actual opening and gate into the old city when it was founded is the center arch in this photo. The other two were opened in many later years to help move people in and out.
The Port of the Pegasus.
A shot from our balcony of the light house on the end of the peninsula where our hotel was located.

I'll post more soon. Man I crack up everytime I see that video by Mel Brooks about the inquisition.