Posted by: adventuressetravels | August 10, 2010

Happy Bicentennial Colombia!

The tendency towards pyromania is as old as the dawn of time.  The Chinese have been celebrating warding off spirits, and having fun with fire for over 2,000 years.   Still, when I think of fireworks, my mind automatically jumps to the Fourth of July.

My mind jumps to images from my childhood; roadside booths selling an array of pyrotechnics that will doubtlessly set a few unexpected fires, blow a finger or two off, and give countless joy to kids of all ages.  I remember barbecues, what other culture has that over-the-top, ostentatious tradition of taking one day to set everything in sight on fire?

Apparently more countries have tendencies towards pyromania than my myopic worldview gave them credit for.  By no means does the US have a corner on the fireworks market.  I was lucky enough to be in Medellin on July 20th for Colombia’s bicentennial, and boy do Colombians know how to celebrate in style.

As I had missed out on Fourth of July fireworks in the US for a number of years, being otherwise occupied or out of the country, I jumped at the opportunity to see them here.  Several of my friends here braved the hundreds of thousands crowded around the Medellin River to see some bands play and watch the festivities.

We inched our way through the crowd, heading ever closer to the river, longing for the elusive view unblocked by trees.  The fireworks were impressive, even with a partially-blocked view, and when we finally settled on a high point with a reasonably clear view we stopped to relax, enjoy, and drink some beers G had bought from one of the many vendors winding their way through the crowd.

I must say, Colombia’s fireworks display put New York’s legendary displays to shame.  And no wonder.  For their 200 year anniversary pulled out all the stops spending 1.5 million dollars on the display and hiring a world-renown pyrotechnics artist to choreograph the display to Colombian music.  And the production really did not disappoint.  Explosion after jaw-dropping explosion wowed onlookers.

Watching from a sea of patriots, Colombian flags flying as far as the eye could see, laughing, dancing, enjoying street food, and the big party, I was once again impressed by Colombia.  The camaraderie, the happy good-natured spirit, and the amazing festivities never cease to amaze.  Happy Birthday Colombia!  Happy 200 years!

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