Writer’s note: This is Part 1 of a two-part story.
The official first day of La Feria de las Flores was Friday, Aug. 3. The rumba began before that.
Most people started to arrive in Medellín on Thursday, Aug. 2, so you could go almost anywhere that night and it would be busy. On the recommendation of my good friend Vado, one of the partners who owns Dalí Rock, my friends and I went to Hamburgo Bar to listen to some live music.
The band that played, Suburbano, cranked out popular classics, such as Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” They sounded really good, good voice from the lead singer, good jobs by the guitarist, bassist and drummer.
The atmosphere was even better. Hamburgo had that indie lounge look and its location, at the end of a dead-end street below Pueblito Paisa, guaranteed that the majority of the clientele would be paisas. On this night, my friends and I were the only gringos.
But it didn’t take us long to make friends. A group of paisas came to sit with us and talk to us after we said hello to one of them near the entrance to the bar. Paisas, as you probably know by now, are very friendly.
Eventually, we made our way to Dalí to end the night. But that would be just the first night of rumba for me during Feria de las Flores.
Before the next party, though, I wanted to do some daytime activities.
I went to see the orchid show at Jardín Bótanico (see pics below the text), a colorful display of flowers that reminded me of a scene from “Adaptation,” when Meryl Streep’s character, Susan Orlean, is explaining the history of orchids, how people have died trying to find them, how orchid species are often named after the people who discovered them, how one looks like the face of a monkey.
Then there was the big flower parade on Tuesday, one of the premier events of the festival.
The only bad thing was something that happens every year: pickpockets. One of my friends had his $600 phone stolen. That’s why I often keep my hands in my pockets, to protect my things. Of course, a pickpocket would be more likely to leave a note that told me to get a better phone than the basic, $30 unit I use.
Only one thing to do after an incident like that: put it behind you and enjoy the rest of the week, a time for parades, parties and pretty flowers.