I know that I’ve thrashed Cartagena quite harshly in the past. I could never reconcile the beautiful impression offered in Old Town and the dirty and corrupt rest of the city. But while spending two beautiful January weeks in Cartagena, I began to fall in love with the city. It was the first time I stayed in a hotel here and with a job at the old Heredia theatre, it couldn’t be anything but beautiful. But it raised a question. How  can I portray the beauty of Cartagena without turning the lens away from the vast problems of inequality, corruption, exclusion and over-exploitation that are the harsh, but for visitors often hidden, reality in Cartagena? It’s so easy to wait until the street is empty from tourists to take the picture or only show the prettiest house, or to take picture of the sea without showing the highway that stretches along the water. But let me show my version of Cartagena.

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Workers trying to get the beach in Bocagrande ready. In vain because of the floodings.
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The enormous port area of Cartagena.
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Cartagena where the tourists don’t go.
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Old town as we theatre workers are having a break by the stage entrance.
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Cartagena market place.
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The streets of Getsemaní.
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There are numbers of construction works in Cartagena. Many of them abandoned before they’re ready.
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Symmetry of port industry.
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The clear, but not clean, water of Playa Blanca.
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Catholic mass.
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The only thing that matters for Bogotá people, to take our shoes off and walk by the sea.
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Another kind of sea view. in Cartagena.
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The countryside between Cartagena and Barú island.
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The highway stretches along the sea. But sunset is sunset.
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I finally realised that your impression of Cartagena will depend on how much money you have. Or in our case on our employer who paid for a Hilton stay.
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Cartagena workers waiting for work.
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Why always wait until the cars and people are gone to take this picture? This is what it really looks like.
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Is it somehow better to be poor by the sea than in the inland?
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Practically in the centre of a roundabout and with a greenish light, but the ceviche is delicious.
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Most people in Cartagena do not have an ocean view.
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Less picturesque buildings seen from old town. But why not include them in the pictures? Photo by Manuel Echeverri.
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For me, this is the best place in Cartagena and in the world. Backstage of a theatre.
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The theatre rooftop of Adolfo Mejía isn’t bad either.
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Street view in Getsemaní. Is it picturesque or sad?
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Cartagena countryside.
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What really makes Cartagena beautiful for me, will always be this.
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The sunset is maybe the most democratic thing that Cartagena has.

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