Ricardo Blanco's Blog

Gabo and the drunks

On Tuesday at five I do a reading in the library of the University of Cartagena – whose most famous alumnus was Gabriel García Márquez – and learn from one of the Profs that there is a crypt in the… Read More

Thunderstorms and a dead dog alibi

Tuesday 4.30 a.m. William is outside the hotel with the pick-up truck for the return journey to Cartagena. This time I get to sit in the front. I must have earned the privilege somehow, or else he is… Read More

Of iguanas and aguardiente

  Saturday evening in Mompox. I bump into our driver, William, and he invites me to come for a bite to eat with some members of his family. We sit out in the Plaza next to the church… Read More


  Travel is often a matter of balancing a desire for control and a willingness to abandon that control when it serves no purpose. If one finds oneself in a place where timetables and commitments are loosely treated… Read More

‘Story’, by Rómulo Bustos Aguirre

Story I ask myself: why write poetry? And from some place in the mysterious forest (in that other story that I am trying in vain to write with this poem) the wolf replies moving his bushy tail Socratically:… Read More


  She is talking about the violence in her country while peeling an orange these guys she says are not assassins they are artists of death they slit the throat (she gestures) and pull the tongue out front… Read More

The Tourist and the Fisherman

The Tourist (A) is perturbed by the amount of dissembling he has to indulge in when confronted by awkward situations. He defines awkward situations as those times when he feels he cannot act freely, and is accommodating to… Read More

Cartagena, the Inquisition and slavery, all in a day

  On my second evening in Cartagena I take a stroll around the old walled city, which despite its colonial style and nostalgic elegance is sadly heading in the same direction as every other tourist destination in the… Read More

Bolívar Square

  I caught sight of this man crossing the Plaza de Bolívar, and from a distance something looked very wrong. He had a strange loping gait, and was clutching a small white ticket in his right hand, and… Read More

The Two Worlds of Bogotá

    Navigating Bogotá can be an exasperating business, on several levels. Certain aspects of life in the city are perplexing. The street system – while appearing quite logical on paper – is practically incomprehensible. Yesterday we spent… Read More

Cities Unvisited

Although he never lived in Alexandria, he had read all the books. As a young man, he visited enough of the Levant to think he knew what to expect, and concocted the rest from Cavafy, Forster, Durrell and Pynchon…. Read More

The Cure, ‘Killing an Arab’, and The Others

  Sometimes the past just won’t leave you alone. When I lived in London – a long, long time ago – I went to a lot of gigs and occasionally had walk-on roles as a ‘poet’ with bands… Read More