Our eighth floor aerie has windows on three sides. From the direction of Plaza Fernandez Madrid there has been a nonstop samba parade for the last three days. Bongos, aye aye ayes, the works. From Bocagrande there wafts in a unique blend of reggaeton, firecrackers and men imitating farm animals. At this particular moment, towards the Caribbean Sea I can hear the introduction of Miss Colombia hopefuls amid ever more drums, singing and catcalling. And just below us someone is composing a song with their car horn, much to the delight of the crowd.
It’s Independence week in Colombia and the assault on the ears is just the beginning. Muscling through the crowds– since we always seem to be walking in the opposite direction as the entire population– our eyes are treated to men in light drag, rotund ladies squeezed into spandex, neighborhood beauties in magenta lipstick, the beau monde set dressed in white and drinking champagne in horse drawn carriages and spray foam coming from all directions with a force that threatens to dislodge my contacts.
Celebrations range from spontaneous street corner dance parties to yacht galas where ticket requests require social connections and a head shot. Colombians are dancing through the night, whether the soundtrack is provided by DJs with international reputations or Tio Jose’s pan flute.
Pushing a toddler in a stroller acts as a slight deterrent to most mischief, but not all. The roiling crowds along the parade route, combined with the punishing midday sun proved too much for our group. We retired back to our apartment and watched the festivities on TV. But with the windows open on all three sides, we still seem to be right in the middle of the party.