On January 2, the weather improved, in fact it was almost perfect, except for those of us, and I think this is basically everyone in Pasto, who might prefer the occasional cloud to protect us from the midday equatorial sun. Anyway, I was able to watch the El Carnavalito, the kids' parade, a kind of prefiguration of the main festival.
Here's my entire photo album from my all-too-brief visit to Pasto, including the videos of kids spraying each other with foam:
On some level I knew that the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos ran officially from January 2 to January 8, but when my Airbnb reservation for the entire week had turned out, on December 29, to be ephemeral, I found a hotel at a good rate in el Centro for the first three nights of my (originally) planned visit. I guess I just assumed that there would be something festive going on New Year's Day. Well no, especially if it rains all day. The city was mostly deserted, except for two main plazas near my hotel (great location!) where the beer tents were already set up, and doing business, and most of the seats under the tents were filled with pastusos determined to have a good time, even if meant looking out at the rain. I was happy to join them.
When I arrived in Pasto, it was a rainy New Year's eve. The streets were deserted, except for a few people setting off firecrackers in effigies of the old year--straw-filled figures, dressed like old men. And of course, there were also the corpses of the mascotas that had already been burnt. According to Wikipedia, this practice has been illegal since 2005.
I had just suffered through what was, for me, a terrible bus ride--nine and half hours, the last four in the rain and dark, the bus lurching through the mountains. There are more details, but I won't go into them. In any case, after taking this picture, I decided not to stay out in the streets for medianoche. I went back to my hotel room (I had been upgraded to a luxury suite, which should have been an indication that there was something seriously wrong with the timing of three-day visit to Pasto) and I listened to firecrackers from there.