In the first story that I wrote for the wurldexplorers I already mentioned that I would be celebrating all the big annual celebrations in exotic places. Therefore I was not that surprised to find myself in Colombia during new years eve.
I finished my interviews already a month ago and now I have to focus on writing my research report. However I still had some time left in South-America and decided with some girls, that I met in Lima, to celebrate Christmas and new year’s eve in Colombia. Personally it was my first time to celebrate Christmas and new year in another country than the Netherlands and I had a little bit of a temperature-shock. While I read a lot of my friends writing on facebook how they were missing the snow or how finally the first snowflakes were falling, I was relaxing in a hammock on the beach, in the shadow to not burn away.
During Christmas I was staying in an ecolodge in Santa Martha. Instead of sitting in a warm sweater and drinking gluhwein with the family, I was limbo dancing on the beach in my shorts together with a bottle of rum mixed met coco-water and twenty other travellers from all around the world.
For the celebration of new year’s eve we, me and my friends, went to Cartagena. The day started pretty slow and nothing interesting happened. We enjoyed the city, walked around a bit. And of course I had to think of the Netherlands how children would be filling the streets with their bags full of fireworks. But that’s not the Colombian style at all. The day was as busy as any other day in Cartagena, the only new thing was that the streets were closed for cars. Why? We figured this out later.
Around 8pm we started to prepare different plates in the kitchen with some other people from the hostel. Meanwhile, the others of the hostel were placing all the available tables and chairs into the street. Apparently this is something typical in Cartagena and everybody who is living in the neighbourhood was sitting in the street while others were working in the kitchen. The suitable amount of bottles of wine were shared and already before the starter people started to dance salsa.
When the food was finally ready, everybody took their place in the street and the 6th toast with wine opened our delicious dinner. During the dinner people were walking in the street as well and greeting the people who were eating in the streets, the Colombian people are very welcoming to everybody and that resulted that everybody got invited to at least try some of the food or drink some of the wine. At the same moment there was also an exchange system between the different tables in the street, and when a bottle of wine started at one side of the street, it could be found later on at the other end of the street.
Around 23.30 everybody collected their stuff for the rest of the night and their bottles of Champagne (or something alike) and all together we went to the old city walls of Cartagena. At 23.59 everybody started counting the last seconds of the year and at 00.00 2015 was started with a lot of bottles popping and fireworks above the Caribbean.
It is not very common to shoot your own fireworks so the sky didn’t look like the sky in the Netherlands but the amount of firework provided , by I think the city management, was sufficient to lighten the sky for a while. And the Colombians celebrated every piece of firework with a lot of screaming and drinking.
With the four of us and a Spanish guy who included himself in our group, we stayed for a while on the city wall. After a while we followed the big crowd to one of the life concerts, also at the wall, and from behind the stage we enjoyed some of the most famous artists of Colombia. After the concert we went for a walk through the city, centro historico of Cartagena. On every street you could find a salsa-dance-party and everybody was wishing everybody a verrrry happy new year.. AMIGO!! We visited almost every small dance party on the street and most of the night I have spent on my bare feet dancing salsa with some rom or aguardiente or wine or beer or champagne or.. in my hands. We even had a small polonaise through the streets of Cartagena.
However, I had a flight already scheduled for the next day so I didn’t stay till the end of the beginning. But I think this year couldn’t start any better and I have a good feeling about 2015.