Continuing from my previous post. After Bogota, my next stop was Barranquilla. My only motive to go to Barranquilla was to experience the World’s second biggest Carnival that held every year in the month of February. I took a bus from Bogota to reach Barranquilla. The bus company was Berlinas del Fonce and it cost me 100000 Colombian pesos and it took me approx. 17 hrs to reach Barranquilla from Bogota. It was an overnight bus. The seat was really comfortable with a mini TV. I was welcomed with a packeted mango drink and some snacks. The bus stopped at a Highway restaurant around 9 PM for dinner. The air conditioner inside the bus was really strong. Thankfully, I had warm clothes with me inside the bus.
I reached Barranquilla in the morning. The temperature outside of the bus was completely opposite from the temperature inside the bus. It was hot and humid outside. I took a local bus near Barranquilla Bus Terminal to reach my Couchsurfing host’s place in Puerto Colombia. It was around 30 mins ride. Puerto Colombia is a town near Barranquilla City. My host was hosting many guests from different countries. Mostly Europeans. We went together to the Carnival in the evening to Barranquilla city. The Carnival is basically a roadshow where a series of folk groups participate. The cultural and folklore of Colombian Coastal region are showcased in the form of popular music and dance. The varied costumes are such as animal species, African blacks(making fun of slavery), big heads, dolls, Superheros, mythological beings, who transcend the limits of sexuality and among others. Most importantly, they were having fun! As you can see in the pictures. The roadshow goes all over the city. The interesting thing that I witnessed is at one point that the roadshow passed near the Prison and the artists were dancing and waving towards the prisoners and prisoners were having time of their life. It was a striking moment. Some events are paid and some are free to experience. During the night, it was a big street party. There were a lot of people on the streets: Drinking, dancing, singing, eating.The whole city comes to life during carnival. I was still tired from the long bus journey and returned back home a bit early.
Next day, I decided to explore the city alone. Firstly, I went to the beach in the town of Puerto Colombia. It was quite relaxing and peaceful out there with few people around. I guess most of them went to the carnival. Later, I went to Barranquilla City and wandered around the city. At night, I went to a concert. There was a big concert near the city centre with a huge gathering. Entry is paid and seats are limited but one can enjoy the concert from the outside. There were far more people outside than inside. It was total fun. It was my initial days in Colombia and I saw a glimpse of Colombian hospitality which became a norm later. The country where I spend almost 9 months. Yep, you read it right. More about that in my upcoming posts. So, It was late at night and I was confused about the bus stop where I can get the bus back home. I asked this shopkeeper about the same and he accompanied me all the way to the bus stop which was good 15 mins walk. Just to make ensure I don’t get lost.
The last day of my stay. It was also the last day of the carnival. Almost all the guests left to their next destination but I decided to stay. In the afternoon, I made Parantha (Indian flatbread) for my host’s family and they loved it 🙂 In the evening, we went to the carnival which takes place in the town of Puerto Colombia. I enjoyed this carnival more than the carnival in the Barranquilla city. Simply for the reason, we were quite close to the artists and unlike Barranquilla city there were no barricades here. So, it felt more intimate and real. I even found the costumes more interesting and innovative. We sat on the roadside and enjoyed the carnival until the end. Next day in the morning, I bid my host’s family goodbye and catch a bus for my next destination.