In the afternoon, the beach – the hard-packed part before the soft sand begins – starts filling up with cars. All of the wooden chairs under the thatch-roofed little huts, which are rented at $20mil a pop, are all taken. More people are walking from the street, where cars line the length of the malecón, carrying styrofoam coolers filled with beer and liquor. It’s Semana Santa, Holy Week, which in Colombia means it’s spring break, baby!
The rally cry for this week is playa, brisa, y mar – beach, breeze, and sea – which is obvious by the people flocking to the beach during the day. Of course, I did the same yesterday, and will go there when I finish writing this, only my beach experience looks a little bit different. I am there to soak up some vitamin D and work on my tan, everyone else is hiding from the sun and just taking in the breeze and the sea views.
Even in the evenings, when people back off the beach and congregate primarily on the street that runs parallel to the coastline, the sculpture-lined malecón is the place to be. Cars line the length of it, and now the trunks are open and those who have picós in their vehicles (big stereo systems) are blaring their vallenato and champeta. Most people bring their own beverages, but this is also the time of day when the cute little cocktail cart rolls out, and the vendors start strolling the street. One of them, a man who speaks very good English, has a mini-store on a bicycle cart with lit-up letters saying CERVEZA. It’s not just frías that he has to offer, though. In fact, he probably sells more snacks to the increasingly-drunk crowd than he does beer. Chips, candies, and cigarettes (one at a time, rather than by the pack) is where this guy makes bank.
At a time when normally there are lots of people jogging with me up and down this seaside, I am the only one getting in my exercise. Everyone else is in all-out spring break mode, partying rather than running. This is Semana Santa. This is spring break, baby.