Written by Laura Lazzarino
Translated by Laura Rojas Palacio
The first time I came to Cartagena, I entered it through the back door. For me, there was no great impact of an airport with palm trees, no mythical fortified city, neither there was a first time picture from a postcard. That time I had to see in Cartagena what tourists never see and what few travelers want to see: the stifling of pavement and stickiness, the sinfonic and citylike noise of the outskirts. I slept in the house of a belgian manufacturer of weapons who danced lambada in underwear and was running away from Saddam Hussein, intheperipheralsuburbsof the city. Following my memories, I shall be honest and confess that the first steps through Cartagena were such antonyms that the second day of impossible heat and complete isolation, I sat on a sidewalk and started crying. Awhimwithoutkickingbut withmuch frustration that made metakerefuge inthe most backpackers-likehostel aroundGethsemane. From those first tears I turned to relief and love, and I was enchanted with this city and its colorful streets; with the mirages that it invents for tourists and with the real people that play dominoes in the Plaza deTrinidad.