Wednesday, 14 January 2015

World Championships - Roldanillo, Colombia Opening ceremony and Practice day

There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of the Colombian crowd lining the streets of Roldanillo as the mottled crew of paragliding pilots paraded through the streets reinforced by the cavalcade of baying stereos, dancing girls and drumming teams.  Mogadishu  has 50mm guns mounted on Toyota pick-up trucks whereas Roldanillo has drummers, percussionists and trumpeteers!!! The effect is mesmerising and the carnival atmosphere sustained us through hours of marching.  The dance troupe of nubile young girls gyrating to the repeated sounds of 'Wiggle, Wiggle' captivated spectators and participants alike.

Where in the world would a throng of local inhabitants run into several thousands for a paragliding competition!?  They entrusted their infants and children to our dubious care for photo opportunities.  Big Red Russel was a hit given his dimensions and colour flanked by our two sizeable SA flags.  

Team SA (courtesy K. Bowden)

Quite a few nations went all out with patriotic gear.  Austria were clad in tradition check shirts and Lederhosen (leather pants).
Team Austria (pic. ?)

Team USA pulled out all the stops with a loud combination of USA emblazoned shirts, pants and shocking socks.  Imagine Magic Johnson in basket ball vest, ice-hockey pants and Irish line dancing socks.  They took turns riding around on an ice-cream cart handing out beer and ice-lollies to fellow competitors.
Team USA (courtesy Josh Cohn)

I have rarely felt this welcome in a foreign nation in decades of travel.  Colombia rocks!

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