Cartagena is a city ruled by the sun, which tyrannizes the population with its relentless heat and blinding glare. Locals defend themselves with umbrellas, with newspapers stretched aloft like Roman phalanges withstanding an arrow attack, or sometimes with just a bare hand sacrificed up to Apollo. Unprepared tourists keep local hat vendors rich or simply resign to burn, a cost of Caribbean travel. As the day progresses, the sun herds citizens toward thin strips of shadowy relief where they dance and twist in awkward passes to avoid stepping out into the menacing sunlight. This makes for humorous people watching: as the temperature rises, the common courtesies of sidewalk interaction slacken in favor of personal survival. When the heat peaks in mid-afternoon, the shaded side of the street becomes so fat with people and the light side so vacant that it threatens to capsize the city.
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