CARNIVAL 2001 - BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA

Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday

 

 

 

Carnival in Colombia? I've never heard of it, everyone says. Isn't it really dangerous?

But according to my guidebooks, this is the biggest festival in Colombia, and I wanted to see what was to be seen.

I arrived a week early, in order to confirm accomodations for the big weekend.

During the first weekend the "Childrens Parade" passed beneath my hotel window in the El Prado section of Barranquilla.

 

 

 

 

People often refer to Barranquilla in unpleasant terms.

Chances are they have not actually been there.

The area around the downtown market and riverside is indeed one of the filthiest (yet most colorful) markets in South America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stayed at the Hotel Majestic,

perhaps the fifth best in town,

and yet only about $30 with pool, breakfast, and cable TV.

 

 

 

 

 

MUSEO ROMANTICO

despite the name is a museum

about the History of Barranquilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The El Prado section is full of beautiful old mansions and tree-lined streets.

You can visit the extremely modern Metropolitan Cathedral,

saty at a five-star hotel (El Prado),

and find modern supermarkets with ATM machines at many locations.

 

 

 

 

THE "MARIMONDO" IMAGE

As I walked around Barranquilla, I started to see a theme that would recur throughout the 3 days of festivities.

This MARIMONDO is a part-monkey-like image from the past. Almost everyone on the street wears something around their neck on a cord, and usually it is a small carved Marimondo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marimondo Car

 

 

 

 

 

Carnival in Barranquilla can be organized if you want it to be.

For a good safe view of the parade,

simply buy a ticket to sit in the bleachers installed along the riverside parade route.

These seats are called "PALCOS"

You must buy a ticket for all three days. Carnival is on for three days, Sat, Sun, and Monday.

Surprisingly, nothing much happens on Carnival Tuesday, i.e. Mardi Gras, which is the peak day for other carnivals.

 

PALCO

 

 

 

 

 

The Parade started on Saturday about 1 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG HEADS,

OFTEN SEEN IN EUROPEAN CARNIVALS

 

 

 

 

 

MUD MEN

 

 

 

Hawaiians

 

 

 

 

 

This was really unusual, the National Police had their own float!

They really rocked out, and the crowd loved it!

Definitely the most popular group based on applause!

 

 

 

 

MISS COLOMBIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First

Marimondo Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stilt Men very similar to the

moko jumbies seen

in Trinidad Carnival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 2 - SUNDAY - FEBRUARY 25, 2001

 

Parody of US policy in Colombia with Uncle Sam

flying a Blackhawk helicopter;

note the chemical weapons

and arrow in the tail section!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These "folkloric" musical groups don't use amplifiers,

but the clarinet, accordian, voices, and drums

came through clearly as they performed

popular songs that the crowd cheered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAGARTOS

 

 

 

 

???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"DANZA DE GARIPATA"

 

 

 

MASSIVE MARIMONDO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The parades finish about dusk.

Each night there were dances at major stadiums, hotels, and open-air street bars around the city.

The Festival de La Cerveja went on each night under an outdoor "big top" with live bands.

Here I first heard a new style of music called La Champeta.

 

Apparently a recent product of Cartagena, it is an exciting mix of Soca, Reggae, Punta, and Zimbabwe-style sounds.

 

LA CHAMPETA

 

THE NEW DANCE OF

THE COLOMBIAN COAST

 

 

 

 

 

MORE CARNIVAL CARS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday