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  • Writer's pictureMauricio Ibañez


For the past fifteen years we have enjoyed a comfortable office in the island of Manga, Cartagena: an 80 year old house, perhaps more, with ample garden, light and space, surrounded by other houses and plenty of vegetation. Manga is separated from the rest of the city by various internal channels on one side, and all other sides by Cartagena bay, so most land animals that live here are trapped within the area of this somehow peaceful neighborhood.

So it is not surprising that we see red squirrels feeding from fallen fruit on neighboring roofs, or big iguanas courting potential partners hidden in the green branches. Parrots by the dozen invade the area and you can hear them in a noisy and frenzy chanting late afternoons, as if they were all in a shipping conference waiting for drinks and snacks. Small pigeons and tropical ravens (the famous “mariamulatas”) easily wander on our parking lot and the bushes which surround it. One time even one of these pigeons entered by mistake thru one open window into my office and I had to quickly open another window so it could fly harmless outside. It reminded me of some times when ona business trip, by mistake we also have entered the wrong office, or even worst, the wrong bathroom.

In the past a couple of small snakes also wondered but some of our staff quickly saw them as the largest anaconda they had ever seen, reason for which we had to use some force against the reptiles to mitigate the panic. Perhaps a signal that you have to remain competitive in a globalized market that demands ever so much of local reliability.

Hawks choose highest branches to check for easy preys, much like our commercial team does to secure new business, or just for a break from a recent hunt,.

Insects also are present, especially the grasshopers, and they are quite big. Luckily not too many ants or cockroaches, but lizzards are also part of our garden, always in a hurry to prey and hide.

And of course ,where you have flowers in a tropical garden then it is easier to spot the colibries (hummingbirds), so beautifully dominating the art of flying, yet as aggressive as a heavy weight fighter to protect or claim their territory.

So much resemblance, come to think about it, between what we do in our daily routine, and the animals surrounding us, we are still learning from our little zoo.

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