Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

It was all going a bit too well, my week here in Cartagena. I was able to work from my hotel during the day and enjoy the concerts of Mar de Músicas in the evenings. I even cancelled my insurance policy train ticket back to Madrid that I had bought just in case I wasn't able to work here for any reason.

Then came Tuesday and the internet in the hotel started to malfunction badly. I managed to get a bit of work done but by early afternoon the connection had died. This was a bit serious as I had found out that I had a deadline to meet for Wednesday evening. The technicians dealing with the problem were natural optimists and occasionally told me it was working again....not so.

Cartagena is not like Madrid, where there are numerous places offering wifi, and I needed a place I could work in all day. So I had the bright idea of investing in one of Orange's Internet Everywhere prepaid modems. It all sounded perfect for me until I tried to install it on the Windoze Dell disaster laptop that I had unwisely brought with me. Three hours later I gave up for the night.

Yesterday, I was wrongly assured that internet was working again by the technician and for a couple of hours the message was that they were working on it. Things were a bit serious by now so I went back to the Orange shop and after 2 hours of tests and constant rebooting and phone calls to not very helpful 'helplines' we got it working. It works very well for what I need it for, almost too well because I was still finishing my stuff at 3:30 a.m. this morning. It was a far more stressful couple of days than I had planned for.

Despite all these problems I've still managed to see most of the concerts this week. Monday was a Brazilian singer called Ceu, who performed in a beautiful setting of the ruined old cathedral that stands next to Cartagena's Roman theatre. Then Tuesday saw another change of venue to the former artillery barracks in the town. A much nicer venue than it sounds, in the same way as Madrid's Conde Duque which is also a former barracks. The performers this time were the Kronos Quartet playing with some Azerbaijani musicians. Not really my thing, and I think I was a bit jaded from the 3 hours of failed modem installation.

Last night I escaped from the last minute work rush for a couple of hours to go and see the Malian Toumani Diabate play with the Murcian Symphonic Orchestra. For me the experiment didn't really work, more musicians doesn't mean better music and the combination of Diabate and the orchestra didn't really fuse. I enjoyed it more when he played on his own. Toumani Diabate also played on Friday with the Afrocubism project, a fusion of musicians which worked very well and so far that concert has been the highlight. Afrocubism will be an album and a tour in the autumn.

Tonight we are looking forward to seeing Youssou N'Dour presenting his reggae album, I believe he's doing a show in Madrid tomorrow as well. On Friday Patti Smith is playing, and on Saturday it will be the turn of the Colombian Toto la Momposina. Hopefully, there will be plenty of time for the beach too at the weekend before I have to head back to Madrid. Almost everything has fallen into place in the end. I had hoped to do a bit more blogging abour Cartagena itself, but the week passes quickly and that now depends on what tomorrow brings.


ejh said...

There's a Wifi zone in a plaza down by the marina, if it helps.

Graeme said...

Thanks for the tip, but the emergency has passed. The laptop is going to be more or less abandoned for the last couple of days here. I'm not sure I could have worked outside in Cartagena in July anyway, unless there was a very shady corner.