Cartagena, Colombia – Facing The Enemy and Killing Her With Kindness
A while back, I traveled to Cartagena, Colombia over New Years, for a trip that proved to be nothing short of a Latin Telenovela. I can say that this is one of those cities where it’s an absolute must to visit during some type of festivities. For myself and my partner of the time, we had the best of both worlds, an amazing Cartagena “society” wedding to attend, followed by the New Years celebration a few nights later…oh wait, I’m forgetting to mention the soap opera style drama that ensued!
As with any Latin American wedding, I knew that I was in for a long night of food, drinks and dancing, however didn’t realize until we were exiting the door of our room at the Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa, onour way to the wedding, that the night would be even longer with the revelation that his devious and drama filled ex would be in attendance. I was already prepared to face some of her friends, the ones who clearly had expressed dismay at our relationship years ago, however “Someone” cleverly withheld this info until the very last minute.
At that time in my life, She was literally my nemesis that I had never met in person. Although they never had more than a rocky and tumultuous relationship at best, this emotionally instable and spoiled girl who was instantly planning a “last minute business trips to Miami, “ where we conveniently lived at the time, and sending him old scrap books full of pictures of them together in happier times, the moment she heard that he was in another, more serious relationship, refused to back down. These were all petty and childish efforts for his attention as far as I was concerned.
Receiving this news of her attendance was nothing short of jarring to say the least, yet I had been the champion of this match, for a couple of years now, and in a game that I didn’t even enjoy playing. Yet, I must say I’m thankful for having had a slightly similar, but more juvenile relationship with a guy from Puerto Rico when I was in college, that proved to be a great “training” in the world of “Jealous Latin Ex Girlfriends”, so I was ever the wise not to turn my back on the situation.
I knew that I had to be gracious and put my strongest face forward when encountering that level of drama and on a 15 minutes notice. Being armed with professionally styled hair and makeup for the night and a stunning David Meister purple silk, figure hugging gown, I decided that a little “role playing” would have to be my savior. In my mind, I was forced to be Wonder Woman on a moments notice, equipped with greater intelligence and better looks than this opponent, and a keen capability for public speaking that meant take a deep breath, smile no matter what, even if your face hurts, and give them your stage presence.
Round 1. The Wedding
We were seated and had easily passed through the “unpleasant” pleasantries with a few of her loyalists at the door of the church long before she entered. I had a chance to talk them up, charm them a bit and remind them that I was truly interested in their friendship. Luckily, the bride and groom as well as a few other of their university group of friends were loyalists, or shall we say “realists” on my side, after seeing that I was truly a good partner in my current relationship.
So, there, in the pews of “the house of God”, surrounded by a few of our loyalists, my partner and I stood up and faced the back of the church when the bride entered the doors, although, what I remember the most of that moment was not her wedding gown, but the “eye contact” with the enemy that was made, and my flick of an eye surveying of her flock of supporters, then taking my seat for the ceremony. Her dress, mediocre, her overall look, less than mediocre, her stare down, strong enough to burn the retinas of my eyes!
Gypsy: 1 / Devious Bitch: 1
Round 2. The Reception
Walking into the reception at the Club Nautico Cartagena, we encountered each other face to face. She was surrounded by a group of friends, loyalists of both sides, at the entrance steps and myself with my partner and a few others. Surprisingly, as we all stood around making small talk, not one person offered to introduce us, not even my partner, perhaps his already sensing the tension in the air…or was that just the extreme humidity?
I then took it upon myself to extend my hand and say hello, and I even complimented her on her dress, although I have never told such a white lie in my life. Whatever! At that moment I was pretty much grasping for straws.
Throughout the night and the many drinks, we never became buddies or even buried the hatchet, as I somewhat expected. She pretty much stayed on her side of the ballroom the whole night, sheepishly yet respectfully, however I let myself cross that line a bit more liberally onto her turf, I really didn’t care, many of her loyalists were beginning to warm up to me. Some choosing to chat with me at our table, get to know me, actually enjoy my personality (yes, my real one…not the plastered on smile face girl from earlier in the evening) enough to dance and let loose with me.
Gypsy: 2 / Devious Bitch: 1
Round 3. After Party
As the band was winding down at around 4:00 am, many of us felt the need to still carry on in celebration of the newlyweds. Throughout the reception, I was having such an amazing time that I had barely noticed that some of my loyalists had decided to drop off, one by one…or a few in the very end…choosing to down the last of the bottles of whiskey and hit the sac.
So, we were left with a group of friends wanting to go out for more drinks and dancing in the spirit of the night, yet most of these friends being Her loyalists. Having broken the ice with all but one, (the one who still held out until the day that my relationship ended with that partner a couple years later), I no longer had any concerns…well, perhaps that was slightly due to liquid confidence.
Amidst our group sorting out the after party plans, one such Nemesis happened to gracefully throw in the towel, excuse herself to the bathroom and conveniently never came out with us afterwards.
We closed down the tiny old town bar Bazurto Social Club, singing, dancing and drinking more until nearly sunrise. And as the twilight hours came upon us, did we go to sleep? Hell no! We did as all good Colombians do onholiday in Cartagena and hired ourselves a local Vallenato group, straight off of the beach, picked up a few bottles of Aguardiente Cristal and partied on the beach, in our formal wear until the 10:00 am breakfast at our hotel.
Ding, Ding, Ding! Gypsy KO’s Devious Bitch
As for New Years, we did it right, chic and classy. Restaurante San Pedro, one of the top restaurants in the city offered the most phenomenal bash, complete with drinks, a four-course dinner, and a live latin orchestra style band. Best of all was the Spanish colonial setting, amazing lights and fireworks in one of the most picturesque plazas in the entire old city, Plaza San Pedro, partitioned off and guarded by police, not to mention the drama of a few nights before, nowhere in sight!