Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Music and Mayhem!

Finding fun and interesting ways to ring in the new year is always a challenge. Over the past few years, I've stood on a beach in Hawaii, enjoyed the amenities of a luxury hotel in Seoul, volunteered at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and danced the night away in Savannah, GA. Let's just say that the end of 2014, which was full of concerts, beaches, and fireworks, will be added to that list.

Here on the coast, everyone seems to flock to Cartagena to bring in the new year. This port city on the coast is a hub for tourist from all over the world and a major destination to bring in the new year. This was my first time to Cartagena and I was more than excited to finally be getting out of Barranquilla and away from the daily grind that has become my last two months. The week was jam-packed with tons of activities, new faces, and lots of memories! Here's the rundown...

- Started off with an amazing concert consisting of Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, and Prince Royce. I haven't been to many concerts in my life, but I knew that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see these three megastars at the same time! We had an absolute blast singing, dancing, and making fools of ourselves in the cheap seats.

Getting ready for a great night out!
Midwestern Unity!
Getting ready for Enrique Iglesias! You can also barely see the stage, hence how far back we actually were!
Breaking out those white people dance moves!
Daddy Yankee tearing up the stage (at least his graphics are!)
- Toured the small town of Turbana, a pueblo about 30 minutes south of Cartagena. One of the volunteers in our group has family that lives there and we ended up finding a really nice and cheap "resort" to stay at for our entire time. By cheap, I mean CHEAP! Over the course of 4 nights, 9 of each spent roughly $16-20 TOTAL! It definitely beat anything that we would've found in the city and came with a pool! Definitely a major steal on our part!

- Spent an afternoon on the beach in La Boquilla, a small, Afro-Colombian dominated pueblo right on the Caribbean Sea. We lounged in the sun, ate some patacones, and refreshed ourselves with some coconut lemonade. Later that night, we indulged ourselves with some delicious Italian food and awesome company as approximately 15 people from our group made their way into town for the NYE festivities.

- NYE was spent basking in the sun by the pool, hightailing it into Cartagena, wandering around the old walled city, taking in fireworks on top of the wall, running into other volunteers, bargaining for new shoes on the street (not mine, but a friend who's had broken over the course of the night), dancing to a nice mix of Colombian/American-ish music, watching the sun rise over the wall, and finally making it back to our resort around 8 am. Needless to say, it was quite a successful way to bring in 2015!

- On New Year's Day, we spent the afternoon on a finca (small, family farm) in this hills surrounding Turbana. We were treated to homemade sancocho (which was beyond delicious), breathtaking views of the city and surrounding scenery, and an overall positive and relaxing beginning to the new year.

All in all, it was the perfect way to end 2014! I'm beyond excited to see what 2015 has in store for me as I finally get started at my school and really get going with my Peace Corps service!

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