Barranquilla biggest party: Carnaval!
We woke up, and I wasn't feeling very well, I guess because of the spicy food. Alex went for a swim while I went to the tour office. The office was closed, so I went to recharge our bus card. Gloria wasn't there yet, so we packed up, left, asked the lady to print our bus ticket and apologized for "everything that went wrong". Better late than never, I guess? Then we went to see Gloria, explained to her that we had a bus (Expreso Brasilia) and she gave us back the money for the first pickup and assured us that the next one would work.
We had breakfast at the Fruit Palace and took the first bus to the station at 11. And, not surprisingly, the buses start to change routes! We wait for the second bus for 35 minutes, we get tired of not knowing if it will come, we leave the station to take a taxi... just to see the bus arrive. The taxi took longer (the buses have their own lane and everything else collapsed), more than 45 minutes (it should have been less than 15), and we arrived 2 minutes before the scheduled departure of the bus. The taxi driver couldn't change 50k to pay his 15k so I had to give him only 11k, I apologized and ran around the station to make it. When we found the right booth, the lady told us that we had to be there 1 hour early to claim our tickets. I told her how sorry we were and explained to her about the strikes, and she stopped the bus and gave us seats 1 and 2. We had to jump fast, stressed, sweaty and without water! Halfway through, a vendor came in with arepas and water, which tasted great to us. And we actually enjoyed the ride in the very comfortable bus.
When we arrived in Barranquilla, we asked for a taxi in the taxi booth, and said it would be 22k. It seemed fair and we took it. The driver was a great old man. He brought us safely, quickly, and with good conversation and music. We checked in in our AirBnb close to Calle 40, and Karen, the owner, had even prepared some carnival gifts: a can of foam, a bag of Marimonda, a shot glass and some shots. Then we left for the 50th race, but when we arrived, I saw that Baila La Calle was on the other side of town, so Alex bought a hot dog and we drank 2 beers in a bar.
Alex made me notice that everyone talks only to me and ignores him! Now it felt like Sri Lanka, the other way around! But I thought it had to do with me speaking Spanish and him looking so... pale and gringo. We bought beers and dinner at the supermarket and went home. It was early, but we were tired, so we didn't even want to go out to check if the houses with decorations in the neighborhood were doing anything!
The AirBnb was very noisy, with people coming and going and cooking, so we woke up early. We got dressed and headed to vía 40, where the Batalla de Flores was. We stopped at a place to get coffee and croissants, some beers and something to take with us to eat. When we thought we were ready, we headed for vía 40. We ended up paying for 2 chairs to watch the parade, for 50k COP each. It was fine, but somehow was boring for us, mainly because we were sitting around watching people dance. The parade had the famous people in Colombia: Mrs. and Miss Colombia, Isabella, the carnival queen and actors and TV stars we didn't know, but the people around were crazy about them!
Around 3:00, from 11:00 when we took the chairs and 12:30 when it started, we decided to leave. All over the area there was a permanent party. We ate in a restaurant and danced around in the streets. At one point, someone threw Maizena on us, which made us a little happy, since everyone was throwing it at everyone else. Ron de Caldas gave us free shots and took pictures of us... Then I told Alex that I couldn't dance (he asked!) and he got angry. So we went home to clean up a bit, and went out to keep watching people, getting a couple more bees and a dog in a restaurant. We even did some sport in the park before going to sleep!