December 14, 2011

0072 COLOMBIA (Bolívar) - Márquez’s Cartagena

A postcard from Macondo, the town where it rained for four years, eleven months and two days, would be undoubtedly the most important piece of my collection. But since such a thing will not happen, at least not in this world, I very much want a postcard from Aratacama, the city where saw daylight Gabriel García Márquez and which became later, in his imagination and his writings, Macondo, the mythical space in which is conducted, during a hundred years of solitude,  the Buendias saga. 

I have no such a postcard, but I have instead, thanks to the kindness of Aleja (heartfelt thanks), one of Cartagena de Indias, the city where Gabo (as Latin Americans call him) has began his career as a journalist, în 1948, la El Universal, while studying law. "I would say that I completed my education as a writer in Cartagena," he once told in an interview for a documentary about the city. He left it next year, never to live again full time in the city, but his parents and siblings moved to Cartagena in 1951, so he continued to visit it after he settling down in Mexico City, still maintaining a house there, where he often stayed for a while in wintertime.

Marquez considered Cartagena a city for lovers and therefore he placed there the action of the novel Love in the Time of Cholera, regarded by critics as one of the 20th century’s great love stories in literature. To better illustrate the atmosphere of the book, British director Mike Newell filmed the screening (released in 2007) right in Cartagena, using a screenplay by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist).

Getsemaní, where used to live the African slaves, just beyond the walls of the walled city, is one of the most representative neighborhoods, and the first with fell in love Márquez. Today it’s home to many popular clubs and probably it’s not hard to imagine the roadside restaurants and bars where the young Gabriel made friends, chased rumors and began to find his voice.

Centro de Convenciones (Conventions Center), that appears in the picture, is located right in this neighborhood, at the bottom of the Bocagrande district. The building, made with coralline rocks, the same material as the historic center, was inaugurated în 1982, so doesn't exist in Marquez's youth. The building has a splendid view over the bay of Las Ánimas (one of the world's most beautiful bays, according to some) and the wharf of Los Pegasos.

The picture is taken from the Camellón de los Mártyres (the Martyrs place), and in the background can be seen the skyscrapers from Bocagrande (Big Mouth), initially constructed for foreign oil workers but now reached the most popular area for tourists, with many hotels, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and art galleries.

The stamps (unfortunately stuck on the edge of the postcard and exceeding it) are of two types. The first on the left is part of  the set Heroínas de la Independencia (Heroines of Independence), issued on 2010 to celebrate the Bicentennial of Independence. The set containing 10 stamps with the same denomination ($1.500):
● Manuela Beltrán Archila – it’s on other postcard
● Manuela Cañizares
● Manuela Sanz de Santamaría
● Policarpa Salavarrieta – it’s on this postcard
● Matilde Anaray
● Juana Velasco de Gallo
● Simona Amaya
● Antonia Santos
● Simona Duque de Alzate
● Manuela Saénz de Thorne

About the three identical stamps on the right, which overlapping, I couldn't find any information.

sender: Aleja (direct swap)
sent from Bogotá (Colombia), on 28.11.2011

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