Dongles in Cartagena

Lesley & Derek Mercer
Thu 3 May 2012 14:44

37:35.5N 00:58.5W


How many dongles does a man need?  Well, I think my current total is 5, but I may be wrong.


Having left IOLA in Cartagena since October, we returned just before Easter full of enthusiasm about setting off for the Balearics etc….  Oh no.  First of all, “Holy Week” is special in Cartagena.  Almost every night they host processions along the streets.  These are no minor demonstrations, and involve hundreds of people.  They date back to the 17th Century, and are part of the rivalry that used to exist between different groups; e.g. the burghers and the tradesmen.  They had different colours (eg red for burghers) and the marches to drums were organised along the town streets.  The tradition continues to this day, with 6 hour processions wandering their way through Cartagena.  When you come to see them, you watch a bit, go off for a tapas and glass of “vino tinto” and then back to the procession.  The regimentation is amazing.  At the front, the “cheerleader” raises or lowers his  (often her) crucifix to start or stop her team of followers.  They are all dressed in identical “Klu Klux Klan” type of dress.  Some are even organised in terms of size, e.g. the shortest at the front, and the tallest at the back.  They walked to rhythmic drums, and very carefully place their staffs in order with the music.  Some are dressed all in black – scary.  Anyway, the atmosphere is very benign, some men are earning lots of brownie points by carrying effigies of the Virgin Mary or whatever (and the occasional all women team).  There are about 120 men to each effigy, and they clearly ‘work hard’.


After that, all sorts of problems cropped up. My planned date for haulout had to be cancelled (Cartagena only bank holiday), then the next date proved unlikely as it would take at least 2 days to do the work etc…  We got there in the end, but it was a fight. 


We were now ready to set off.  Oh no.  It rained, the wind howled etc…. In the end we returned to the UK for Orla’s Christening.


Back in Cartagena.  Could we leave – no.  Bad weather, problems with loos not working (DHL came up trumps: 48 hrs from order to delivery for a new pump), no mains electricity (panic emails to UK suppliers until a corroded connection found).  Finally ready to go, but….. no email!  As you can imagine this was a major problem.  No question of setting off.  So the next day, I had to go to Carrefour to buy their Internet Dongle.  I can now have such access in the UK (T Mobile), Portugal  (Vodafone), France (SFR), Spain (Yoigo) (but doesn’t work), and Spain (Carrefour).  I have more dongles than …….  Well, you can work it out.


It’s now Wednesday 2 May.  We are supposed to set off, but to my horror, find that I have lost my passport.  I don’t care, Someone is telling me my time in Cartagena is over, so we leave.  Overnight to Ibiza, more tomorrow.


Herewith some photos of the “processions”.


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