Monthly Newsletter for Colombia Calling, June 2020

Cartagena, image courtesy of the Culture Trip 

It’s June 2020, and I can hardly believe it. We seem to have moved forwards as if stumbling blindly into the sixth month of the year. Of course, scholars will look back at 2020 and make assumptions and observations based on pre Covid-19 and post Covid-19. Everything has changed. I for one have all but written-off 2020, in terms of business, we are going to take huge losses and, while at the beginning this was a source of much stress and concern, I have to say that I have reached a zen-like state in this regard. The reality is that there is nothing that I can do aside from take care of my loved ones and my extended family working in the Casa Amarilla and San Rafael hotels.  

And so, this brings us conveniently to the Colombia Calling podcast and our most recent and upcoming episodes. As much as I would love to have some “Covid-19 free” content, there seems to be almost no way in which I can steer a conversation or an interview without a mention of the wretched virus. 

Cartagena at sundown 

Episode 327 with Rainbow Nelson of This is Cartagena is a reflection on how we can turn the clock back on the damaging tourism which has not only affected Cartagena but also so many of Colombia’s unique destinations. Travel and tourism were seen as a “new petroleum,” for Colombia but as Nelson puts it in our conversation, it was more of a case of, “putting bums on seats,” and filling cruise ships, hotels, restaurants and so on, without much thought for the long-lasting effects this produces. 

Cartagena by this is Cartagena

Next week on Episode 328, we take a lighter but no-less important look at how we are individually coping with this lengthy quarantine in Colombia. Friend to Colombia Calling and popular guest amongst the listeners, Briton, Emma Louise Jay (Episodes 275 May 2019, 263 March 2019 and 242 September 2018) joins us from El Retiro, Antioquia to share her articulate thoughts on 80 days in almost complete isolation in the Colombian countryside.

You’ll not fast forget her tale about being the bedraggled English-lady weilding a machete at some errant paisas! 

You can read her ruminations in English and in Spanish at 

Quite exciting for me is to be able to invite author Julianne Pachico back on the show for Episode 329 in a fortnight to discuss her new book, The Anthill. I am half way through this book and the content is definitely going to make for an interesting conversation. You can hear our first chat about her previous novel, The Lucky Ones on Episode 199 in August 2017.  

Here is what Colombian writer, Silvana Paternosta had to say about The Lucky Ones in the New York Times 

Pachico’s characters are all seductive, but what really drew me in is her ability to describe emotions. The book opens inside the privileged house of Stephanie Lansky, saying goodbye to her parents. She can’t wait to spend the weekend on her own. By Page 5, the teenager’s idea of the perfect plan turns into a horror film when a stranger rings the doorbell. She knows that he could be there to yank her away.

Check out for more information on her work.

Of course, there are other great ideas in the pipeline for you all, we have been talking with some experts about discussing birdwatching in Colombia in the post Coronavirus era and also with an author/ barrister about the history of Scotland’s ill-fated attempt to colonize the Darien. So, it never stops! 

Thank you again to all of you for your continued support. We are all in this together and your kind and generous sponsorship is enabling the Colombia Calling podcast to continue afoot. 

Kind regards from Bogotá and please, all of you, stay safe. 


About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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