This past week, our studio took a one week trip to Cartagena Colombia! Our studio trip was tightly packed, so most of the images I took were in between meetings and meals. It was nice having a break from life in the states, but not much of a break from studio work during the trip. We actually got to meet the mayor there, and lots of other influential people in Cartagena! It was also nice to see our professor Giancarlo's project which, is located on a hill near the rural areas of Cartagena. The kids there never seen asians before in their life, so we were like super stars going into their school. Anyway, this will probably be my last blog for a while~ I have to focus on my portfolio and job hunt starting now! The pressure is on...
Our flight was at 6 AM so we took a 2:30 AM shuttle from Penn to Laguardia. The driver thought that we were gonna miss the flight when he picked us up, so he sped all the way to Laguardia. It was like being in one of those scenes in Fast and Furious, but for 2 consecutive hours.
Whoever booked the tickets for our studio thought my name wasn't asian enough, so he or she change my name to LAN. Good thing no one gave me trouble for this during the flight. During our layovers my studio classmates were playing a chinese poker game called 80 points. I have no idea how they play that complicated game with rules that changes every round of the game. Then again I was too tired from the rocky shuttle ride to the airpoirt to learn the rules.
My first impression of Cartagena, was that the weather was hot and humid, it seemed like the climate was a lot similar to that of Taiwan. It kind of felt like home the moment I got off the plane! Our hostel is located near our site for studio, so we really didn't get a chance to visit the "miami skyline" part of Cartagena.
One of my favorite photos I took in Cartagena
Colombia is famous for their emeralds, so a few of my classmates purchased emeralds from certified dealers here. I don't think I would feel safe buying jewelry from street markets.
It seemed like everyone on the streets was selling hats. It's weird because with the similar hot and humid climates in Taiwan, I rarely see anybody selling hats. I guess this is part of the unique hat culture in Cartagena; I also wonderwhy these sombreros don't look like those mexican sombreros.
The colonial architecture in Cartagena is really beautiful. I really love how vibrant the building are, which really reflects how nice the weather in Cartagena is. People there also seem to be into motorcycling, which is kind of similar to taiwan, but they don't have half as many cyclist as that of Taiwan.
We visited our site for a while, then we walked towards the center of the city to meet with the mayor of Cartagena
The Mayor of Cartagena( yellow shirt) welcomed us and gave us a box of coconut sweets as a welcoming gift to Cartagena.
Chinese gang stomping the streets of Cartagena
Cartagena's old city is a world UNESCO heritage site, which is commonly use by couples for shading an PDA. These old holes in the wall provide perfect breeze and shading for people to inhabit and interact in the spaces.
Since I am still very much enamored with brutalism, this is one of my favorite buildings in Cartagena.
First meal with both professors, some people were clearly too tired
We didn't have much free time during this trip, because we had a lot meetings everyday. In the end we only had 1 free afternoon... which was not enough time to explore Cartagena
Meals here were extremely slow! we usually waited 1 hour before our meal came and 30-40 minutes to dine and the another 1 hour+to deal with splitting the bill.. which was a pain.
Most of the restaurants we ate there had really good food, but it wasn't really as cheap as we imagined prior to the trip. I especially loved the coconut lemon juice there! (and yes this whole slide is about food)
I think this place used to be a kola factory( a popular drink red drink in Colombia), but they renovated and changed it into a residential building with arabic styled furnishing. Our professor wanted us to work here, but people complained about the lack of AC here, so instead we worked at the school where we give our presentations. We had to design a scheme in a few hours and present it the next day to a bunch of students and the sponsors financing this trip.
Timelapse video showing how we worked in the internet room of our hostel
Next day morning after a long night at the hostel we had to get up around 8 to visit our professors project in Cartagena. We were told not to wear watches or bring expensive cameras, but my friends still did anyways. Most of the students there have never seen asians before in their life, so we felt like movie stars touring the school. Some kids even yelled out some japanese they probably learned from watching anime.
First look at the informal settlements of Cartagena, and the Lagoon where people used to( or maybe still do ) dump their waste in.
Above is a link to archdaily about this project~ This project is surrounded by informal settlements. The concept of this project is similar to that of the Parque Biblioteca España at Medellin also designed by my professor. To use architecture as an activator of a neighborhood, and create order in what once were really unorganized and slightly dangerous environments. The shape of the hat also reminds me of the ubiquity of hats in Cartagena
Not only did we feel like movie stars here, the kids here also loved to get their pictures taken by us. It felt nice to be special because of my appearance for once.
Spatial qualities of the interior~
Space under the hat
Ignore my bad filmography, but the songs they were singing were actually really good.
We had to present what we made from our 1 night charrette after visiting the school
We celebrated a little and enjoyed the music and night scene in Cartagena. All of our meals have been past 8 PM, and usually lasted more than 2 hours due to slow serving speed and calculating the bill. Giancarlo showed us some of his dance moves as all the students were leaving back for the hostel. Next day we had a lecture in the morning, and then finally a free afternoon to venture around Cartagena, although most people chose to rest and regain sleep.
Next day after the lecture we took the tour bus and circled around the part of the city that we've never been to
I think I probably included way too many photos again like my London places to visit post...
This was by far the longest meal we had (3-4 hours maybe?) and it was on our day of free time so we wasted a bunch of time in this restaurant. Although the food looked delicious, in reality it was just ok. It took them about 2 hours to cook that bowl of rice, and it was super expensive while not that delicious. Plus, the bill splitting struggle is real... and they refused to help split it for us.
This was kind of impromptu but... This page was getting way too laggy, so I decided to split this post into 2 parts again.