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March 14, 2009 (Our Cartagena New Year’s)
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Our Cartagena New Year’s

Somewhat belated, we hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve.

We sure did.

First a private boat party, just us, with as fine a Chianti as can be had down here…and our special spaghetti—fried onions, mushrooms, tubs of butter, melted swiss cheese all swaddled in ketchup.

Well, we like it.

Then, at 9 we taxi-ed into the Old City, where thousands of revelers jammed inside the walls. Downtown has been gussied up in gigantic holiday animations for months now but tonight all the restaurants had tables in the streets—including tablecloths, candles and floral centerpieces—far, far more festive than the everyday white plastic jobbies.

Cartagena Clock Tower

Holiday Puppet Show

Holiday Decorations

We picked up some walk-around red wine at a bar. Not only the city but all the revelers were decorated—everything and everybody (accent on the body) vying for drop-dead gorgeous. Block after block of truly beautiful people, a seemingly endless supply of gorgeous girls who, incredibly enough, also happen to be friendly. Most dressed in just-shy-of-porn sexy or wedding-worthy gowns—chiffon, fringe, ruffles—plus endless pop-tit plunges to delight.

Music—DJ's and live bands on every block, plus just-plain-folk everywhere
just-plain singing to themselves and anyone who'd stop to listen. Most of Cartagena’s massive but somehow manageable squares as well as the huge Convention Center were cordoned off for semi-private galas—if you had the 300,000 pesos ($150 dollars) per person you were more than welcome.

Pay-per-seat but not per-view party

The warren of narrow streets surrounding the squares were thus squashed with end-to-end restaurant tables (maybe only 200,000 pesos per.) Venerable wood balconies with their twisted balustrades hung over the tables like giant chandeliers drooping white lights and colorful flowers.

Street Parties

The remaining 18-inch ribbons of sidewalk were thronged with people squeezing and squishing past each other trying to get somewhere else.

People Squash

Perfect weather of course, but it's almost always perfect weather here. Days 80's, nights high 70's, spiked by cool breezes.
Then just short of midnight, a gay fireworks display exploding all across the city’s enormous bay. Dancing and hugging and cheering and then more dancing just about everywhere except the bay itself.

We managed to stuff in two excellent pizzas and another botella de Chianti before heading home.
Magical... Ya gotta love this Cartagena town.

Wishing each and all a happy and healthy 2009.

Louise & Gary


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