November 14, 2013-National Beauty Contest
We knew this was going to be a happening when we started to see Miss Colombia contestants showing up at impromptu receptions around the city in October but we didn't know how really big a holiday it was going to be until the manager of the Manzanillo boat yard told me, "Yes, I can haul your boat on November 2, but no work will be done until November 12. All of our workers will be off for that period."
National Beauty Contest is more than a pageant. Yes, there are swimsuit competitions, parades, and a gala coronation ceremony but there are also wild street parties with craziness that should best be avoided by old gringos, water parades, loud music, fireworks, and the November 11 celebration of Cartagena's Independence from Spain which occurred in 1811 in which the entire city apparently gets drunk.
We were going to have the bottom painted but we made other plans: we joined the party.
Well, not really. When we saw legions of police in riot gear staged around town, and spotted army snipers with long rifles and portable radios on our rooftops, we decided to party in the apartment, not on the streets.
We did watch the parade however, and it was terrific.
And we listened to the chaotic sounds from the street all night long for several days.
On November 12 the people go back to work, but not early; I guess the hangovers are pretty harsh after this ten day party.
Click here for more parade shots.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena