January 6, 2014
We got up at the crack of dawn today to make it to the carnival stands by 6:30 in the morning. We were told that we had to get there super early because there would be heavy unpassable crowds on the streets. What we quickly realized was that it wasn’t necessary to get up quite so early. There weren’t exactly throngs of people in the street yet but it was nice to get first row seats for this event.
What an amazing event it was! The carnival procession was spectacular! Four hours of amazing costumes, floats and dancing. We loved it. It was the most amazing carnival we have ever seen! The atmosphere was festive and the colors were vibrant and gorgeous. Even the downpour at the end could not dampen our moods.
After a 6,000COP (US$3) multi-course lunch, Jade and her friends went out on the streets to battle. The younger girls and the adults stood in the doorway and took some great photos. The older girls had so much fun!
As an aside, tomorrow is a big day. After a lot of online research and back and forth, we will be driving to San Agustin tomorrow via Macoa, the capital of Putumayu province. This area is the gateway to the Amazon and one of the least stable regions, security wise, in Colombia. It is also considered one of the most dangerous roads in South America because it is basically an unpaved, single lane windy mountain road. It is also supposed to be spectacularly beautiful as it goes from the high paramo (dry Andean high altitude scrub) at 3,000 meters (around 9,000 feet) to the Amazon basin at sea level.
So why are we taking this road??? After research and talking to people who have taken this road, it seems safe enough. All the guerilla activity has been taking place in the middle of the night or in the areas outside of town. If we drive straight through, we should be OK. And how could we miss one of the most beautiful roads in the world? Plus, we will be saving about 10 hours driving back this way, rather than tracking back through Popayan and Cali to Bogota and we will have a chance to spend a few days at the Archeological park of San Agustin.