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Passing Time May 25, 2011

Posted by Jen Pappas in Poems and Misc..
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As many long-term travelers know, there’s a lot of downtime on the road, and not just in train stations or on overnight buses. One can’t spend their entire day sight-stumbling, drinking and meeting people. As much as I’d like to challenge the notion, one can’t spend their whole day reading and writing either. So when we weren’t out exploring, people-watching or eating, Steve and I played a lot of games – namely Travel Scrabble and Cribbage. Those who know us well know that Steve has the obvious advantage when it comes to numbers, while I have the upper hand on words. From the day we left the United States in July to when we returned in mid-January, here are our final tallies for killing time.

Jen: 27 Steve: 24

Steve: 91 Jen: 67


Las Muralles May 19, 2011

Posted by Jen Pappas in Cartagena, Poems and Misc..
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Once impenetrable,

once the cache of pilfered

jewels and money,

where the Spanish came

to bathe in gold ducats

and pull women’s hair.

Once the grand fortress,

once the unconquerable

treasure trove

of the 17th century.

Now anyone can scale your walls.


even your name sounds romantic.

Who could blame the lights

or cobbled streets –

the balconies adorned in wild bougainvilleas

for drawing the tourists in droves?

Who could have foreseen

the thousands of people

who would pose by your cannons

and enter your dungeons

before ordering overpriced cocktails

on the cusp of your northern walls,

overlooking the sea?

Everywhere we see

the disappointing decay

of Calle Media Luna…

which we have come to learn


half moon

and other times, croissant.


Oh, how the walls must wail

some nights,

deep in their mortar.

For the splendor lost,

the secrets untold,

the magnificent duty…

How they must wail too

for all the facades

that have risen up instead,

silencing the past.