May 1, 2011 |
I paused on a steamy February afternoon in Cartagena's Plaza Santo Domingo. In the square's center, tourists dined on fresh seafood and coconut rice at umbrella-shaded tables. At its edge was the 16th century Santo Domingo Church, whose twisted tower is — local legend has it — the result of the devil's failed attempt to demolish the sanctuary. Touts beckoned passersby into gleaming boutiques, while stray dogs, hoping for table scraps, competed with street musicians for the diners' attention.
November 21, 2009 |
The effect of climate change is anything but hypothetical to retired Colombian naval officer German Alfonso. Just ask him about the time his neighborhood in this historic coastal city became an island. For five years, Alfonso, 74, has watched tides rise higher and higher in the Boca Grande section of Cartagena. This month, tides briefly inundated the only mainland connection to his neighborhood, a converted sandbar where about 60 high-rise condo and hotel towers have been built in the last decade or so. "Before, people thought it a normal phenomenon.
October 29, 2007 |
It was a place that "stood unchanging at the edge of time . . . where flowers rusted and salt corroded, where nothing had happened for four centuries except a slow aging among withered laurels." That was Gabriel Garcia Marquez's rich description of a town very much like this Caribbean port in "Love in the Time of Cholera," the Nobel laureate's sultry saga of lust and decay.
February 11, 2007 |
A few years ago, impoverished fisherman Marcial Ortega could barely afford to feed his 14 children, much less buy them shoes. But now his worries are over. A beneficiary of this region's building boom, he is selling his half-acre beachfront lot and cabanas this month for a cool $1 million. The 63-year-old Ortega held out for years, impassively listening to fast-talking developers bid up the price of his seaside plot.
September 11, 2005 |
IN the old days, this was a swell place to be a pirate and a terrible place to be a witch. That was back when this wind-scoured Caribbean port was a hub of the Inquisition and the Spanish Empire's gold trade in the New World. Between 1610 and 1811, hundreds of sorcerers, blasphemers and other hapless heretics met gruesome fates here.
March 15, 2005 |
Miles from the sordid lives and gruesome revenge killings that his movie depicts, Jose Antonio Dorado was trying to explain how a mild-mannered college professor like himself could become obsessed with a ruthless drug lord. Actually, as Dorado describes it, in his native city of Cali, practically everyone was fixated by the powerful and charismatic narco-trafficking capo who is the subject of Dorado's fact-based feature film "El Rey" ("The King").