Thus, a walk through present-day Cartagena reveals many buildings of Spanish-colonial design.
The evening sun brings to light shadows of shirtless men poised in white, plastic chairs under colorful colonial balconies of red and green. Balconies overlook the narrow streets below. Evening approaches, and families gather the sidewalks to give the day one last look over before they retreat into the sticky air of their small shared houses.
Colorful fruit lines old wooden rectangular crates, as vendor speak up at me through sun-weathered eyes. Two men sit on wooden crates in the middle of the sidewalk, playing a game of chess, as their buddy jovially hoots and hollers in encouragement.
Behind me, scattered shadows lurk. Small chuckling children pull on the tail of my shirt, opening their tiny hands in hopes of receiving a peso or two.
And all around me, the streets fill with the churning soup of Colombian culture: toothless vendors advertise sweet papayas, a woman stands rocking a baby back in forth in one hand, and bayonatte music (slower version of salsa) blares out of old cracked speakers while old men tap their feet and young Costeño (peoples living along the Caribbean coast) women shake their hips to the pulsating beat.