The article starts out well. It talks about Sir Francis Drake and how in English minds he is a great explorer, a “scourge of the Spanish Armada”, as Stewart puts it. But when Stewart mentions Drake with reverence to a taxi driver, the vehicle almost careens off the road. To the Spanish speaking world, Francis Drake is a renowned pirate with an inherent dislike for the Spanish. In 1568, Drake landed in Cartagena and spent years ransacking and pillaging the town. The whole episode in the article goes to show the importance of perceptions, and how easy it is to mistake your own perception as the unquestionable truth.
It’s an interesting issue to highlight when it comes to a travel article about Colombia, because perceptions of the country remain misplaced. I’ve lost count of the amount of comments I read on forums that are concerned about safety in the country, or from people who have family members that are concerned about the country. I’m glad articles like Stewart’s are coming out because, although safety should always be an important issue when traveling anywhere, it needn’t occupy you so much that you forget to have a good time. His position - that comes from a seasoned travel perspective - reminded me of the safety in colombia post I did last year.
|Aview of Cartagena ( Picture by margencultural)|
Certainly, reading about Stewart’s experience, it’s pretty easy to see that he didn’t forget to have a good time. I’ve written before about Colombians being some of the happiest people on earth, but reading about it in The Sunday Times is a whole different thing. What does Stewart put our gleeful disposition down to? Dancing, of course. It’s no secret that we Colombians love to dance, and so enamored by it was Stewart, he says “Colombian dancing would make a corpse happy”. Stewart tries out salsa, and I think he gets far more than he bargained for! Check out this excerpt from the article:
“Two women turned up from nowhere, and before I could say ‘shiver my timbers’”, they had pulled me off my stool. One thing led to another and in no time they were taking turns to bend over and grind their buttocks against my groin. It was enough to give any pirate a wooden leg.”
For me it’s good to see such a refreshingly open view in the media towards Colombia, because as I’ve said before, the media have played a big part in creating the reputation that Colombia has suffered for years. It’s no secret that I love Colombia and I think it’s one of the best countries on earth, and slowly but surely journalists and travel writers are catching on too, so the beautiful secrets of Colombia will surely become common knowledge soon enough!