Barranquilla, Colombia

How is to draw and travel in Barranquilla?

After several kilometers of cycling on the day before, today we wanted to leave the two wheels aside for a few days. We decided to stay in Barranquilla for 2 days as it seemed to us quite large and interesting to hop on a bus and explore. We had more confidence to go out and walk on the street and experience the Latin blood that exudes from the streets. In fact, it’s not just the streets that transpire. We perspire ourselves like water fountains and that makes us search for water. It was in Barranquilla that we decided to invest in two thermal bottles that keep the water fresh for 2 hours. So now every time we buy water, we put it inside those jerry cans and we keep ourselves refreshed.

We walked to San Nicolas square and Anisa took some photos. I liked the colors of the church and the life in there. I sat down and began to contemplate the sellers of “tinto”, that’s how they refer to traditional coffee. I watched the people passing by and those who sit in the shade, in the hope that the little wind would dry their shirts. The discomfort of the heat did not stop me from drawing, even though my sweaty arms were glued to the sheet of paper. As soon as the first drawing lines appeared, those who did nothing but stand there approached to see. They were there to give easy compliments. They analyze and stand there as if they were watching a football game. It is at these times that it would be great to deal well with the heat, pressure, language, culture … but no, nothing was that easy, the discomfort worked against the concentration. If at times I got “in the zone” quickly someone would say something or get too close and would get me back to the reality of Barranquilla.

After 1h30m of effort, I finished the drawing. In a more “realistic” way to understand the sketch with colors and lines, people rewarded me with positive comments and asked me if I would go and redo it on a big canvas. Or how much a drawing like that cost. And by the end, there was a gentleman, whom I barely could notice his voice, told me that in the 1920s there was a bus station right in front of the church and there was a lot of life going on. Today is just a square full of pigeons, he said laughing!

barranquilla original
Luís Simões
Luís Simões

In 2012 I started a World Sketching Tour and since then, this has been my lifestyle. More intense, more for others, more open on how to look and judge. The tour made me get out of routines and safe places, which often leave me numb just seeing life go by slowly. Sketching has aroused my curiosity for “what will it be like on the other side of the mountain?”.

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