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Barranquilla: Carnival that never ends - speeding 100 km/h to your grave

(Barrio Abajo, South Barranquilla, Colombia) chief editor’s opening word for the GUEST FEATURE:

I’m soooo glad to share this blog post with you. It’s great occasion, because legendary Jorge, the Barranquilla guy, I mentioned in my previous blog posts gave me the honers to publish his chapter, officially and personally dedicated to my blogs awesome readers. Meet the life from Shakira’s home town from the first lips of true and proud Barranquillian Jorge Aristizabal!

p.s. If by any chance you have skipped the post of how the story of legendary Jorge and Shakira started, please be my guest to get to know it here ;) (yet to be honest, I just realized how much more the fully untold story must be expanded to get the whole point to the core of it, which extremely important, so stay tuned! And for now read one of the most unique character’s I met in my life, amazingly honest, great friend, widely opinionated, crazy and awesome Jorge’s - dear guest’s feature live from colorful, loud and tropical streets of Barranquilla!

Yours, AFROgliuck



A Common Day in Barranquilla! Part 1.

By: A Barranquilla Guy!

(Kids Full of MAIZENA, is not cocaine!!!)

Well nobody knows where Barranquilla is, at least you know Shakira, so you can remember when she said “En Barranquilla se Baila asi” (In Barranquilla we dance like this), this part is referred to the Barranquilla Carnivals, full of parades, colorful, drunk people, and people full of a white stuff called MAIZENA, sorry guys it’s not cocaine! (see picture above). But these parades full of this stuff are just for 4 days, (officially), but commonly they start like 4 month before that, and for other people carnival starts like 20, 30 or more years ago.

(North Part Of The City)

Barranquilla, is a city, with more than 1.5 million people, divided in 2 big zones, north part of the city, High class people, clubs, good stuff, and the south part. South part is full of people - like 1 million people lived there, full of traditional places to party, called ESTADEROS, also some clubs, striptease clubs (there’s no one in the north of the city :( It’s really bad, I know) and full of the carnival spirit.

(Barrio Abajo - South Part of the city, again colorful)
People from outside Colombia, when they come to Barranquilla and they stay in the north part of the city they say “ok it’s good, nice place, blah blah…” , but when they go to the south part, it’s like paradise for those guys: music everywhere, small grocery stores on every corner, many people outside, drinking beer, or eating something (depends on the day time). In south it’s like carnival is never over.

(Congos, Color Full part of Barranquilla Carnival)
All these sounds, music (tropical music: like salsa, meringue, African music, champeta, and so on) are like magic for the tourist. It’s like a kind of spell over these guys, and also it is very funny to see how they want to dance but they can not do it.

So back to line, Barranquilla, as the City Hall said, is the Best Place to live, and more or less it is true. It is the place, where since you wake up and turn on the radio, you can start your day with some happy music, even some jokes of some comedy man performing on the radio.

Then you probably have to pick a bus or taxi. Cars are available, but consider you’re a tourist. Then you will find 2 types of buses: the normal ones - common buses (big ones, small ones, medium ones, all the size you can imagine) and the city transportation system called Transmetro.

(multi size buses. on the left - medium size bus; on the right - B70 bus from Sobusa)

The first one the multi size buses are colorful, mostly all of then have sound system (like pioneer or other brand are supporting that) and are fast as an airplane. Bus drivers in Barranquilla are one of fastest in the world (!!!!). These guys actually can beat fast and furious cast. It’s like a piece of cake for these drivers, because they have a secret weapon - a bus called B70 (power by a Caterpillar engine). So actually it is a bus, but with the power of a yellow machinery. The other medium size and small size one, are more descent, not that fast, but still fast. You can find ones with A/C, others just air in the wheels, but sometimes it isn’t necessary due the speed of these bus drivers. If you pick windows, you can also get a crazy hair style for free, courtesy of the driver. Also all these buses can stop everywhere, which creates a mini chaos behind those buildings on wheels.

(transmetro buses)

Then you can find Transmetro - more high class, European style, sound less, only can stop in the stops. It has A/C. Also it’s only available if you have Transmetro card (hard to find out the station) and is useful if you are heading or if you live in the south part or in the near municipality of Soledad. At rush hours it is unbearable (like in all the place in the world). That’s not an important point, but it’s boring, crowed and music-less.

(Taxis – ZAPATICO class)
If you want to pick taxi, well - be careful. There’s no meter in Barranquilla, so it’s kind of negotiation between you and the driver. Though, mostly heading to all the part in the north of the city, are 5.000 COP (approx. 3 USD), and if your are heading to the south part it can increase to like 7.000 COP to 10.000 COP (4-6 USD). You can find all sizes of taxi (big ones, small ones, pick ups, all you can imagine), but he price is mostly the same, only some pick ups charge a little bit more. A big part of these vehicles are new, due to traffic regulation. Even though you can still find some old models, the most common ones are Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, Renault Symblo, Hyundai Accent, JAC Veloce, Hyundai Santro and Chevrolet Spark. In the city we have a funny way to referred to the small taxis - ZAPATICOS (small shoes), because they look like a baby shoes.

Taxi drivers are even crazier than the bus drivers (!!!). The experience of taxi drive here is near to death. You feel like you’re on the back part of a motor bike heading at 100 km per hour. To your grave. But still safe. I think in Barranquilla taxi is like a roller coaster, yet in comparison it is cheaper and takes you to your place.

So this is the end of the first part of a common day in Barranquilla!

p.s. I skip the breakfast, so in the part 2 I will include it :)

Have a nice day, come to Barranquilla, and enjoy this mess :)

Jorge Aristizabal - proud Barranquilla guy

Rodyk draugams


July 2017
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