Cartagena's most famous monument is a statue of the 'old shoes', which is a tribute to Cartagena paid by the local poet Luis Carlos (and sculpted by Tito Lambrano). Not having read the poem, I can't give you any idea why this comparison is made (and taken with such pride, given the fact that he compares the city to OLD SHOES), but all I can say is that they must have been some damn fine boots as it is on proud display in front of the city's main attraction - the castillo de San Felipe de Baras, a colosal 16th century fort designed to protect the city from pirates.
Our last days in Cartagena were spent celebrating the Miss Colombia pagent (held annually in Cartagena, tied in with Cartagena's Independence Day celebration on November 11th). Colombia goes absolutely nuts over the Miss Colombia pagent! The city errupts into a week long party for the girls (and for Cartagena). Lydia was disappointed, because we found out after the fact that Shakira gave a free concert for the event! Above you can see the Miss-Colombia-to-be clones (all of whom were about 5'9, 110lbs, long brown hair, etc.).
One thing I can tell you for sure about Colombians is that they know how to party! Like all good Colombian parties, we started out our Cartagenian Independence Day celebration with a bottle of rum.
.....well, maybe a few bottles of rum ;)
The Cartagenian Independence Day and or Miss Colombia pageant turns into a city-wide foam, paint and flour fight. Watch the video above for a better description, but long story short, everyone in the city is armed with giant shaving cream bottles of foam, bags full of flour, handfulls of paint, and absolutely everyone is fair game.... especially gringos!
Lydia and I must have gone through about 10 bottles of spray foam to protect ourselves from the foam carnage within Cartagena that day. I can't express how much fun it was at this event. Young and old, rich and poor, locals and foreigners, EVERYONE was spraying everyone all day. It didn't matter if you were off to work or heading for the parade, you were going to get sprayed.
One of Lydia's many victims of the day.
This little kid thought that the 'spray the gringo in the face' game was especially fun, so he decided to follow me around for the whole day and continually launch sneak attacks on me. At the end of the day, when he ran out of foam (finally), I managed to hunt him down and get him back!