Boobs and Booze
....and lots of each. This is the ultra simple explanation of Carnival in Barranquilla, where it is estimated that over 100,000 cases of rum and aguardiente (the local firewater) will be sold to quench the thirsty, frenzied crowd of thousands over four days of non-stop partying. And although some of the boobs on display may be fake, the alcohol definitely is not, as my internal organs will attest to. Four days of this kind of behavior will have you feeling like you spent a month inside a pickle jar.
Upon arrival in Barranquilla, I headed straight for the city's ugly center where all the cheap, but crappy hotels are
located. But after following a tip from the receptionist at my hostel in Bogota, I was able to find an office in an apartment building to rent in an upscale neighborhood. That's right, an office...the very place I desperately avoid spending any time whatsoever these days. The owners converted it into a room complete with air conditioning and internet to make a little extra money this week. It's not like they're going to do any work in it anyway....it's Carnival after all. So for me and the four English blokes I'm hanging out with, a mattress on the floor of this office was called home for the week.
And so the carnage ensued, starting on Saturday with the Batalla de Flores; the biggest and most well attended parade. Life in the stands is a constant fight of Gringos
versus the Colombians who have invested heavily in large bottles of spray foam. Post battle, one's foam covered head stands out like the white flag of surrender. The truce is only temporary, however, as the friendly Colombians share the healing properties of their nectars of the gods with you ....rum and aguardiente. You cannot refuse this hospitality for fear of more foam reprisals and besides it's just good fun.
Meanwhile, the passing parade is a marvelous display of colorful costumes, dancing, and what has to be the most stunning women on the planet. I believe there were some men in the parade as well but after reviewing my photos, I couldn't be sure. Sorry girls, try to enjoy the dresses or something. Guys, enjoy the girls. What follows is a magnificent photo documentary of Carnival 2009. I suspect you will not be disappointed.