Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Machetes and Miss Colombia

Well, friends, the paint job continues.  For those of you keeping score at home, tomorrow will mark the end of week 4.  However, things are coming along.  For example, some things have already been painted.  That’s a good sign, right?  My understanding is that only the anti-skid and waxing remain.  So, maybe, by the end of the week, I’ll have my boat back.

Men at work.

The bow is almost there.
Even the toilet seats are getting 'refreshed'
In the meantime, my brain is too full of fumes to come up with a good post.  And what do we all do when we have nothing to talk about?  Resort to current events!

It was Independence Day last week.  Not only that, but it was the 200th anniversary of independence.  This translated into a week of music and parties and general uproar.  One day mid-week, the girls and I walked into town to get groceries.  We stopped first for a raspado from the vendor out front.  This is essentially a snow cone in a paper cup with lime juice squirted on top, all for the bargain price of fifty cents.  Delicious!

Freshly ground ice.
We’d barely had time to start melting when a gang of half-naked young men in torn jeans and face paint ran up to us and began to jingle a tin can in my face.  This was clearly a costume, and they were very friendly for men carrying faux machetes.  This was a rare situation where my total lack of Spanish worked in my favour.  I put on my most vacant, smiley girl face and told them I didn’t speak any Spanish.  They jingled the tin and repeated their request for money (I’m guessing, here, but I think the evidence supports it.)  I smiled even more vacantly, apologised again and tried to look sorry that I didn’t understand.  They shrugged, smiled and wandered off in search of linguistically-better-capable victims.

On the two-kilometre walk to the grocery store, the girls and I were accosted at least nine more times by groups ranging in age from four to twenty-four.  Most were wearing fright wigs, and many had water cannons or foam shooters.  Only one group got pushy with us (a gang of eight-year-old boys).  They were immediately pulled aside and given what-for by a nearby policeman, so I’m again guessing that this sort of ritualized mugging is supposed to be confined to friends and neighbours.

Over the next few days, the dancing and the costumes and the wigs and the machetes got bigger and louder, culminating in the boat parade on Saturday.  Now.  This was less of a boat parade than a breast parade.  And less of a parade than a random collection of motorboats zooming around the bay in a random fashion, as though piloted by Indy and her friends.  The Miss Colombia contestants were carted around, adding to the general chaos.  And a number of boats eschewed their sound systems in favor of a full band on the back deck.  This lead to a very roly-poly day and night, and I finally had to take an Advil for my headache.  And all this didn’t help the painting progress, as Erik and our work crew were otherwise occupied with the binoculars.

The madness begins.

Smaller and smaller bikinis.

Boats everywhere.

The party seems to be over now, but you never know.  Erik was out last night – three days after Independence – and got caught in the middle of another foam battle in the neighbourhood.  You see?  These are things they don’t warn you about in travel advisories.  Colombia: raspados, friendly police, foam parties, funny wigs.

It’s time to make some lunch.  Does Caesar salad sound good to you?  Yes, me too.  Until next time, when I hope the boat will be work-free.  Work-free!

No comments: