Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carnaval de Barranquilla Part one:

As I was travelling through South America it seemed everyone else was on a mission to get to Rio for Carnaval. As per usual I like to be different than the crowd; I was on a mission to get to Barranquilla for Colombia’s Carnaval. My original plan was to arrive in Lima have one month in Peru jump into Bolivia for a week or so in that time, spend one month in Ecuador then take one month to get to Barranquilla from the bottom of Colombia. My flight left Canada November 13th and Carnaval was supposed to start February 13th so it should have worked out perfectly. I hate schedules and time limits though, when I like a place I will stay until I get the urge to leave, so my plan did not work out. I did not leave Peru until mid January. I rushed through Ecuador and thought I gave myself a good amount of time in Colombia before the party was to kick off but then I got pleasantly delayed in Bogota. Luckily Colombia has some fantastic offers on cheap flights. I booked a great deal with Avianca to Cartegena where I spent a few days then got on a bus Friday February 12 with a bunch of locals to Barranquilla.
There were massive lines in the bus station with people set to party wearing Carnaval t-shirts. I got on the bus with a Colombian kid around 18 years old and that started the festivities. He had a bottle of aguardiente with him and we did shots the whole way to Barranquilla.

I don’t remember when I first heard of the Carnaval in Barranquilla, perhaps somewhere in my obsessive Colombia research. This Carnaval became the basis around which my trip was planned. I was set to a Barranquilla beacon. Why go to Rio when that is where everyone else is going? Rio just seemed more and more commercial to me the more I heard about it. I wanted to party with the locals and be amongst the crowd. I’m sure one day I will go to Rio but Barranquilla lured me.

I couch surfed with a Colombian guy from Barranquilla in Panama City last year who told me more about the Carnaval. We had planned to meet up and go to it together with his friends. It would have been fantastic but his company sent him to Cuba so at the last minute I had to find somewhere else to stay. There are no hostels in Barranquilla, it isn’t on the backpackers map so the options were a last minute couch surfing request or a hotel. I went with the first option sending out a plea for someone to go to Carnaval with me. A got a response from a really nice Guatemalan guy who lives in Barranquilla with his German girlfriend. He said they have four people staying in his place sleeping on the floor but where there are four people there can be five, so I was welcome to come. Everything seemed to work out in the end and I was beyond excited for Carnaval de Barranquilla.

1 comment:

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