07.02.2013 - 09.02.2013
We have spent the past few days at a beach area in northern Cartagena, just beyond the encroaching big-buck hotels/resorts. The barrio is not wealthy, and consists of small, modest homes interspersed with shacks with walls that allow glimpses of the lives inside them. As usual, most of the folks were very friendly, especially in response to a smile and "buenos dias." I also sensed animosity from some. It makes us wonder if the big white motels down the way pushed these people out of their homes, causing them to move further and further down the beach. At any rate, over the course of a few days of smiles and of course, the pups, the residents have warmed up to us.
Fishing seems to be the primary occupation, most commonly with nets--langostinos y pescado. Yesterday while we were on a long walk up the beach, we came across a group of young men hauling, reportedly, a net in from a long ways out in the sea. Since we were looking for exercise, we jumped in the line and helped. Starting hip-deep in the water, taking a place on the taught rope, we would walk and pull until we got to the end of the line on the beach, and then return to water. The dudes shook their heads at us, but welcomed us. Muy loco gringos. I asked one if the net was in Venezuela, and he chuckled.
After pulling for approximately an hour (no joke), we realized our line was just half of the operation. Starting further down the beach, there was another line of guys pulling another rope. As we got closer and closer together, the net appeared! The other group took their boat out and started emptying the net. We watched at that point, trying not to be a nuisance and trying not to get tangled in the net. It seemed like a lot of work for a modest amount of langostinos and fish large enough for eating. But, this is their daily life.
A dispute arose, perhaps regarding payment of the guys on our rope by the guys in the boat. When we got to shore, it came to fisticuffs between two strapping young men. The guy on our rope got the other guy on the ground, at which point his amigos pulled him off. Not sure if that settled things, but they went on about their work. Later, we saw the dudes from our side of the rope walking back along the road, and they smiled and shook our hands.
Today, we move into the Getsemaní section of Cartagena. It is Carnival time, and although the big place for Carnival in Colombia is Barranquilla, just 2 hours down the road, there surely will be something happening in Cartagena, too.
¡Feliz fin de semana!