Although I’m trying to build a “life” here, I’m quick to jump on any cultural event that may be happening. A few of us heard of some festival happening in the center. We had no idea of what might actually happen, but figured it would be in our best interest to check it out.
All I knew was that there was some type of festival going on in Plaza Bolivar. I heard that it might celebrate the arts, but I was not quite sure. As I neared the plaza, I could tell this was big. Crowds of people were everywhere, and at one point, everyone was just at a stand still. As I neared the plaza, I saw the gates security had put up to control the crowds. As soon as I passed the first gates, there was a line of police officers to pat me down. Truth be told, I was quite impressed with the security they had.
It was approximately three in the afternoon when I entered the plaza. I had no idea what time anything would start, but what the hell, it’s not like I had anything better to do. Luckily, I was with a few friends who were also interested in what was happening. Thus, the waiting became quite bearable.
Around five, I had the urge to use the potty. I saw some portable bathrooms in the corner, so I was relieved to find out I would not have to hold it for the next three hours. As I tried to make it over there, I realized it wasn’t going to happen. The Colombian government was smart enough to think about having bathroom services, but failed to plan out the logistical side of it. A huge stage was placed in the center of the plaza, with the back half of the plaza being closed off for the performers. Thus, my only way to get to the side with the toilets was through a giant crowd. It so happens that members of the crowd were not willing to budge even an inch. So, here was forty toilets available, just staring me down….that I could not use. Great job at planning that one…
We finally realized that the festivities might start around seven. In between, there were small parades going throughout the plaza. They weren’t throwing any candy out, so I wasn’t too happy. I use to be a fat kid, thus, I have retained the fat kid mentalities such as always worrying about food. So, here I was, couldn’t get to the bathroom, and no candy. My friends and I quickly stepped outside security to grab some food, and of course, use the bathroom. Damn portable toilets.
When we returned, a whole new level of energy was apparent. The lights had dimmed and the music was blasting.
Finally, the performances began. The first performance was a musical group that to the best of my knowledge celebrated the history of the Caribbean. Their music was driven by a contagious rhythm while being overlapped in beautiful harmonies. As they finished, a group of dancers came on the stage and showcased different Colombian dances, primarily, the salsa dance. I was truly blown away by their skill and passion for their movements. At that moment, I made a promise to myself that one day, I will actually learn how to dance. I know, I know, it’s a long shot…
When the third performance began, rain started to fall. We had been in the plaza for almost five hours (four was spent waiting), so we decided to head back. All in all, the group conciseness was that the wait was so worth it.
Note to self. Next time… inquire about when an event actually begins.