Recipient of artists. This is the Historical Center of Cartagena de Indias, a place where very talented people, in the field of performing arts, converge every night.
Downtown is full of life. Musicians, dancers and different kinds of artists, make of the squares of the Walled sector, true entertainment spaces. Accordionists, singers, dancers, human statues, story tellers, and outdoor mimes, make of this colonial place an enjoyable spot where you can use all your senses from 5:00 in the afternoon to the midnight. The artists take advantage of the night closure of some sectors.
While tourists walk unhurriedly through the roads, or hangout at the street corners, restaurants, ice cream parlors, as well as open-air cafes, “street” performers do anything to get attention.
The city squares of “Los Coches”, “Bolívar”, “Santo Domingo”, “San Pedro”, as well as dozens of colonial streets, in addition to being considered as the visitor’s favorites, they are also urban meeting spaces. A very characteristic place is the walled cord itself that offers a privileged view to the Caribbean Sea, all of this while local groups, in exchange for tips, brighten the atmosphere with Caribbean rhythms and tourists dance under the moon, as the only witness of the transformation of life from day to night in the “Corralito de Piedra”.
When we walk through the historical streets, we realize that several “street characters” wander in them, while tourists admire them and stand in line to get a picture taken with them.
If we decided to go to the “Plaza de Los Coches”
, we will watch how large crowds gather to see the artistic groups that dance to the rhythm of drums, “maracas” and bagpipes, as well as an authentic “Champeta” -the famous local rhythm-. In the corners it is not uncommon to meet artists who are dedicated to the creation of paintings and drawings.
Suddenly, our senses perceive the presence of a statue, which for a moment surprises us and catches our attention when it moves. Yes, they are statues, but they also have life! They are artists that take the streets and embellish them, hoping that a surprised bystander appreciates its art with a coin. The mimes also amaze us with their exaggerated grimaces.
Music lives and breathes everywhere. Suddenly we will experience a “Vallenato” serenade wherever we go. The rappers with their creative lyrics also set the rhythm of the nights.
Besides tourists, vendors and curious, the mandatory stop in the “Plaza San Pedro Claver” is at the foot of the musical notes from the saxophone. Whether it is “soca”, “paso doble” or “cumbia”, everyone admires the show of this great artist and applaud, make videos, take pictures and leave a big tip.
If you see someone standing still in one of the pretty and colorful little streets downtown, sitting on a bucket, he is a young man acting the role of a hunched fisherman who has just caught his lunch. Dressed and painted black, with an arrow cane hat and a wooden stick that resembles a fishing rod, he remains motionless in exchange for one or two coins. This gentleman personifies a human statue in a flawless manner.
Around the Historical Center there is also a young woman dressed in black, with braided hair and a slender figure, who evokes, with total certainty, a “cat”. In exchange for a photo, an interesting tip.
Do not be surprised if you find someone fully dress in white located in a strategical place. From feet to head, looking to a steady point, without blinking, there is another human statue. He remains motionless, standing as a peace monument until he listens a coin fall in his jar, or if he is lucky a bill. Only then he will lean and extend his hand. Jokes, laughter, funny faces, nothing makes him stagger.
Michael Jackson in Cartagena. Yes, you are reading well. Tall, brown, with a height of 6.14 feet, thin, with brown eyes, straight black hair, with black shoes loafers, black pants, white shirt, gold and silver jacket. With about 30 years, he sings and performs in the squares of the walled city as the true “King of pop”. His feet slide in reverse or to the sides, and in a sudden moment they look suspended, while the applauses come and go, as well as the well-deserved tips represented in coins and bills that he obtains from his spectators. The Cartagena’s squares are filled at night by street performers and outdoors characters, such as human statues, musicians, and impersonators of Batman, Superman, Spider Man, Invisible Man, robots, the Pink Panther, Iron Man, and some others like a fakir that seems to be floating in the air while he waits for the tips of those present.
Without setting foot on a theater or museum, in the streets of the Historical Center of Cartagena we can enjoy to the open air all the artistic street manifestations that these ingenious people have created in exchange for a few coins.
Make of the Historical Center your own place. Walk it from beginning to end and discover this urban art, that even though it is not legal, is a part of the culture of Cartagena.