On July 30th, Troy and I headed to Parque de las Luces for the fireworks display to kick of the 2010 Feria de las Flores.
Medellin’s biggest festival and street party of the year is a 10-day event, though the parades and most of main events take place on the two weekends.
Admittedly, I was still far from feeling settled in the city when it kicked off, so these upcoming posts are on a one month delay.
We met at the Alpujarra metro station around 7 pm. As we walked the few blocks west, we soon came to yellow metal security gates, and several very long lines radiating outward.
Troy had forgotten a bracket for his camera’s tripod, and was thinking of calling it an early night given it’d be hard for him to capture the fireworks the way he wanted. The enormous lines didn’t help, nor did the light drizzle of rain that began to fall.
To his credit, and my appreciation, he decided to make due as best he could, so I bought a few beers, and we queued up in one of the lines to await our turn being patted down by the police.
Eventually, we were pointed toward a guys-only line which was much shorter.
Once inside, we bought liter beers and tried to avoid spilling them on each other as the crowds of people mixed and mingled. Before we even finished those beers, Troy wanted to queue up for the Port-a-Potties. I joined him, banking on the fact that I’d have to go by the time it was our turn.
While sidetracked, we weren’t missing much, seeing as how neither of us could understand the comedy performance occurring on a large stage set up a hundred meters further down the street.
As it turned out, the real excitement was in the bathroom lines. The women’s toilets were lined up opposing the mens, so the lines mixed together in alternating rows.
If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the guys’ lines for a fight to break out, but it was actually a line for the women’s toilet that resulted in fistacuffs, complete with police separating the impatient, weak-bladdered parties.
I was anxious to get the heck out of the toilet gauntlet, and as we got closer, I noticed that two guys were going in at a time – one for the urinal and one for for the sit-down toilet.
I suppose it was faster, but the idea of sharing such close confines with another guy was not my idea of fun. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think the door locked either. But we survived, and then proceeded to get more beer.
Pilsen is the local beer company, so I’ve started making a concerted effort to choose Pilsen over the other Colombian beers, not that they don’t all taste too different. Call it hometown pride.
The fireworks went off at 9 pm, and while not as grand a display as the million-dollar Bicentennial event, it was still worth checking out in person.
After the fireworks, I asked a group of ladies whether they thought Troy was Latino, or a gringo, in my ever-improving Spanish.
They guessed wrong, a conversation ensued, and as the drizzle turned into a steady rain, we developed a Plan B to keep the night alive.
To Be Continued…