Sunday, January 1, 2012

Feliz Año 2012

"La Gorda" is a famous sculpture by Botero, Colombia's best-known sculptor.
Every time I pass by, something interesting is happening here.
The rainy season in Cartagena has been over for almost two weeks now, and the holiday season is in full swing. Lots of new folks in town, the high-rise apartment buildings have many more occupied units,  and I can report with secret pleasure that Americans are not the only tourists who sometimes fail to impress.

Little bits of masking tape everywhere!

For us, the end of the rainy season means that work in the boatyard can finally proceed. Masking tape is coming off. Things like canvas and cushions are going back on the boat. We stagger home at the end of the day ready to vegetate. Still can't quite say when we'll be out of here, but it is getting closer, faster!  And, much as we have enjoyed being part of the city, we'll be ready for water we can swim in and fish we feel comfortable eating,

New Year's  seems a bigger, more festive, more holiday-like holiday than Christmas. We spent both days in the boatyard, where our celebration was the use of the scaffolding, accompanied by some pretty nice music coming in from the barrio. When we left the boatyard on New Year's Eve, the children were making 'scarecrows' of old clothes stuffed with dry leaves, (using a bottle of Johnny Walker Red as a prop) and today we saw the ashes of same in the middle of the road, custom being to start the new year fresh with new clothes, paint on the house, etc.
Since we were up anyhow, auditing a party around the corner, we walked into town to see the fireworks. It was quite the event, streets full of cars, sidewalks full of people hanging out, from 3-generation families,  to golden youth, the girls striking poses for their friends'  cameras in their skin-tight short dresses and impossibly high heels, everyone well behaved.

Lots of lights and action downtown.

I know from last year that there are elegant catered parties set up on the city walls and in certain of the plazas and I'm pretty sure the parties continued for hours. But I didn't.

Party being set up for New Year's Eve 2010. I'd have stayed awake for this
party if only to see how the use of the VIP portable toilet compared to the

Where we're staying now is quite near the Club de Pesca in Manga, a residential district which is to Cartagena Centro or Boca Grande as Eastport is to Annapolis. We're in the back yard of a waterfront house directly across from a small parking area which has revealed itself to be quite the party spot. Kids with cars (so, clearly fairly well-to-do) have tail-gate parties that sometimes last into sunrise. While I am glad I don't live on the front side of this little parcel, I have to say that there is some fantastic music in this country, even at 3 AM. I wish I could get names, because there are also opportunities to buy CDs on the street, but I'd have to wander out in my nightgown. Also, people are remarkably tolerant. Sometimes I do get up and peer through the gate, waiting for the neighbors to get irate. Instead I  see a police officer casually strolling the opposite sidewalk, as the party goes on, really, just like in the beer ads. At daybreak the barraderos/sweepers are out in their orange suits and the morning vendors are calling out their wares, even on New Year's Day.
The waterfront paseo also features every little kid who got a new bike for Christmas, plus skateboarders, nannies and their charges, joggers, dog walkers, ice-cream vendors, young lovers, and a few older ones too, fishermen and photographers and people practicing some kind of Brazilian 'judo'. It's an ever-changing scene and I'm pleased to be privy to it.
So, I'll wish everyone all the best in the new year, health, prosperity and good karma; and a little extra for me - Spanish verb tenses and some greater understanding of the Mac mind. But don't hold your breath for big progress in the latter two!

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