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Sunburned in December: Christmas in Colombia and My First Street Fair

The holidays here are really cool and obviously a bit different than home. The fiestas start December 1st with fireworks and a holiday off work while lights get put up everywhere. Walking through parks and along busy streets at night is cool because there's so many lights and decorations everywhere. People also decorate the inside of their house, but usually not the outside because I think people would steal the stuff. School ends for everybody around the beginning of December so they have plenty of time to celebrate.

There are various holidays throughout the month, like yesterday everybody had the day off because it was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I think like 95% of the people here are catholic so they have more religious holidays than we do.  I stopped inside of a church on one of the busier downtown streets so I could at least say I went to church while here. It was a huge place and there were many people, but not as many as were out walking around outside. I think they go to church about the same amount as we do, not very much. 

My roommate and his friends walked all along Septima or 7th Avenue, one of the busier streets that closes for holidays and every Sunday (BICICLISMO!). It took him about 3 hours walking 50-60 blocks. I walked down it for about 20 blocks, and even though it was way too crowded, it was a so much fun because there were so many different street performers, vendors, and food.

The majority were guys dressed up as clowns telling jokes and being funny. I didn't understand much. There were also guys who dressed up as robots, statues, and famous people and just stood around waiting for people to take pictures or mess with them. They're like mimes except cool because their painted and have costumes on. The best one on I saw was some dude who was the predator

And as you can see he did a pretty damn good job. 

The best street show I saw was done by a salsa dancing school with its best students and teachers dancing for people. The girls were smoking hot and the costumes were really flashy. They looked great and the dancing was pretty intense. Each couple would dance for about 2-3 minutes and they danced really fast and did a bunch of crazy tricks. Many of the tricks were the same you'd see in swing dancing, others were just wild salsa combinations. 
I was waiting for somebody to crash and burn, but they were all great. I was surprised to see that level of talent performing on a street corner, but I wasn't surprised by the size of the crowd that had gathered to watch. My friend said something to this effect (can't remember the exact words):

"Lots of people come to Colombia, see all these gorgeous women, and wonder how they end up with average Colombian guys, then you see them dance salsa and it all makes sense." 

Most of the street food sucked. The burgers and hot dogs are way worse than those in the U.S. absolute shit (but the toppings are more interesting, more on that later). Other street vendors have candy and sweets that are pretty good. 
Arepas are also awesome street food, they're like Hispanic Hotpockets.  They're made out of cornmeal I think and they put meat and cheese and whatever else inside, grill it, and top it with butter and salt. Very delicious, not very nutritious. 

For some of my classes during this month, we talked about holidays and how I missed Thanksgiving. According to my students, New Years is a holiday very similar to Thanksgiving. Families get together and turkey is a main dish. New years eve also "boring" because you spend most of the time with family, not going out with friends and getting drunk like in U.S. or Europe. If you aren't with your family for New Years, people tend to look at you weird. 

Also, many times when people visit the US they buy a lot of stuff because, believe it or not, designer and brand name clothes are 2-3X more expensive in South America. Generic clothes, however, are much more cheap ($5-10 for nice dress shirt for work). So they do a lot of shopping while in U.S. 

After one recent visit to America, one student's mom brought back 8 boxes of various things, in one of those boxes was a turkey (dead I hope) because she thought American turkeys were the best turkeys (or at least better than Colombia). We laughed about this for a while.

And I got sunburned the other day. I'm pretty sure that is the 1st time it has happened in December. Also I don't miss snow at all.

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