Everyone is a stranger when you’re in a city, Cartagena, and don’t know a soul. Senses are heightened. 

Sight. You notice the dress, what people, especially women, wear. You see expressive outfits, form-fitting, pride or arrogance. 


Sound. You hear voices, intonation, speed, tone, urgency, mood with little sense of the conversation’s meaning.


Touch. The air is humid and warm. Skin is sweaty. Hair is curling. You move through the heat together, plodding, not in a hurry. 

Taste. Food is a unifier. You sit at a table in a colorful restaurant with other families who have gathered. The soccer game (Madrid vs Barcelona) blares from the Flat Screen TV. This is a local spot. Tables are intimate. You don’t know anyone here. Yet it feels comfortable. Everyone enjoys a meal together. You feel included. 

Another American from New York City sits to your left. She’s on a “quick trip” to Cartagena. She grew up in Central America. Her father was a “jungle pilot”. Keep each other company, content, friendly. Afterwards you wish each other well.

These people, strangers, are just like you, living life with friends and family, grabbing enjoyment, reveling over a meal. Together in Cartagena at the same moment. Part of a shared humanity then and always.

On the street some still suffer, such as the blind man hugging the wall finding his way somewhere in the dark of the night. Or the mom who sells crafts while her two little girls curl upon the scant blanket. Malnourishment makes it hard to know the age. 

In our shared humanity we wish others well, often. 

Strangers and then not strangers…We don’t know anybody. We know everybody.

Would you share the world with me?

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