Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year´s in Cartagena (by Todd)

The night before New Year´s Eve 2012, we had nothing planned and no idea what to expect in Cartagena - we had asked people along the way and done a few internet searches but still had not heard anything that sounded definite and/or interesting. So we spent a little more time googling and found a party that sounded right up our alley - Couchsurfing was organizing a´Chiva Rumba´ party!

Along with 40 new friends from all over the world - about a dozen countries were represented - we piled into a colorful bus for a 3 hour drive around the city. Each bench in the bus fit 6 people, between whom was shared three bottles of rum. One bench was taken by a few musicians who were along for the ride to provide our bus (and any lucky spectators) music to dance to. As others have said before, anytime you get three or more Colombians together a salsa party seems to break out...mix that with 30 drunk out of towners and a Chiva Rumba is what breaks out!

Most of the time was spent cruising the city, but we made one stop with the other Chivas for a multi-bus dance-off and another stop in a small bar for a single-bus dance-off. Although the video here doesn´t do much justice (or have enough light), you should generally be able to get the idea of what the bus ride was like:

At 11:30 the crew of the Chiva Rumba attempted to walk en masse to the old city walls of Cartagena from which we were going to watch fireworks. The walk was a decent distance and some folks stumbled a bit slower than others (the role of ´token loud American drunks´ WAS NOT played by us - some college kids from Michigan took it and ran with it, I mean really ran with it). By the time we all hit the wall (literally) only about half of the Chiva crew could be found. But the walls were packed with people watching three simultaneous fireworks displays to ring in the new year.

After taking in the firewords and toasting somebody´s 35th brithday, Juli and I said our goodbyes and commenced our search for a taxi. Sometime over the previous 24 horus, both of us had caught a stomach bug that put a damper on our party style, and we felt it would serve us best to get a solid night´s sleep in the comfy beds of our hotel. By the next afternoon both of us had essentially gotten over our sickness, so although the timing could not have been worse, we still were able to have a blast for New Year´s in Colombia.

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