When Fabian’s family travels they try to stay away from any areas infested with tourists. His father, Charles, likes to experience life from the local’s perspective.
As you can see from the following images:
There have been many times that we see something interesting happening from the car, so we park and hop out to take a closer look. One of the first days here in Cartagena, Fabian’s mom noticed some fishermen on the side of the road. So we soon joined the flocks of birds watching on nearby rocks as they waited for the perfect moment to swoop down and grab a morsel for lunch.
It was like nothing I had witnessed before. All the men pulling the net back to shore together, as their wives waited on the sand ready to gut and clean their catch. Once they were done tugging, the men dumped the pile of fish on the beach to sort through everything. There were tons of silver fish, but not just that… They pulled up eels and even a couple stingrays. I enjoyed watching this until the two men shown above started beating the stingrays with rocks… Little did I know that this would be nothing compared to what came next.
It was after the fishermen that we found a local market. Merchants come from all over to sell fruits, lots of plantains and yucca, as well as fish and other meats. Fish was definitely the most popular item considering the market is right across the street from the water. Everywhere we’d look there were people gutting fish, scales covered every inch of the ground around us.
It was very interesting to see how many people come out to the market to sell their goods, especially when so many of them are bartering the same exact products. But I guess its the same as walking through the toothpaste aisle in the grocery store in America… So many different prices and brands to choose from, when at the end of the day they’re all the same exact thing.
Not everyone was selling raw goods though, some were cooking them right there and others offered authentic homemade beverages.
There were a few moments and areas that were more intense. The smell is not for those who may have a weak stomach or sensitive gag reflex.
WARNING, the following imagery may be shocking or disturbing to some of our readers:
The last image in this gallery which depicts a barefoot man slicing into cow’s heads with a machete was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in person. I was a vegetarian for four years in college and walking through that hallway made me want to go back to that lifestyle. Fabian describes that hall being like Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, but this time all the blood on the walls was real….
I do NOT wish to scare off any readers from experiencing any of this for themselves,though! I urge everyone to do something like this at least once in their lives. Although it was different or even a little heinous at times, going to these markets has been some of the best times I’ve had here so far. Its shown me how Colombians really live, and their local flare. It is awe-inspiring to see a community form together in this way. Although everyone was working, they were also having fun; conversing and blasting their music. I can’t tell you how many times people wanted their pictures taken (when they saw us coming through with cameras) as they shouted “This is Colombia!”