So the day after getting back from Cabo de la Vela (which I promised to continue – basically we had a bad journey back, being ripped off and arguing with taxi drivers a lot), we went to Laura’s cousin’s apartment in Barranquilla, a swanky place in a posh area.
The next morning, after a breakfast of shredded chicken wrapped in a banana leaf, we headed out to the parades, stopping at Laura’s cousin’s friends’ house where we picked up about a hundred already drunk and overexcited people, crammed into 10 taxis and made our way to the queue for the parades. The people we were with were brilliant, very funny and a great laugh. They brought cornstarch with them, which they started throwing in everyone’s faces (and later after the parades they managed to aquire some foam cans, which only served to smear the cornstarch and make a mulch all over our faces – a hell of a lot of fun, but I don’t think Laura appreciated it too much…) The parades were brilliant, although I think we spent more time mucking about in the stands than actually watching what was going past.
After the parades and the foam fight in the street, we crammed into some more taxis and went to the house of the grandmother who was with us (she was brilliant and so sweet) where we had soup and sat around chatting and spraying more foam (annoying now). Then we went over to their friend’s apartment which backed on to a huge concert that was playing, so we hung out in the car park with all the other residents and watched the back of the stage, drank whiskey out of a satchel and attempted to salsa.
The next day I went back to the parades while Laura went to a street party. The stands were a lot more low-key on the Sunday! No cornstarch or foam, and I stuck to water knowing I had four hours of uphill trekking the next morning. That evening Laura went to a festival while I got the bus back to Santa Marta, as the Lost City trek started from there the next morning. A nice taxi driver called Carlos (an employee of the awesome grandma) took me to the bus station and on the way we passed a fatal shooting, my first experience of the not-so-good side of Colombia.
And on that note I conclude my round-up of Carnaval: good food, pikey drinks, amazing people, awesome floats and a little bit of fatality.