Welcome to Colombia's weird Willys festival
Jason Barlow heads to South America, where overloaded classic Jeeps do wheelies in the street
Posted: 05 Feb 2014
Not like this, it's not. A blue Willys is laden with coffee sacks, arse suspended barely a few inches off the ground. A red one heaves under the weight of cassavas and something called zapallo, which looks like an ugly pumpkin. A sculpture by the great Arenas Betancourt presides over the scene, a monument, I'm told, to hard work. What on Earth is going on?
It's bonkers, certainly, but not quite as random as it seems. Yipao is a brilliant mash-up of Colombian culture, commerce and social history. Following World War II, thousands of surplus army Jeeps ended up in Central and South America, where the local peasantry gratefully received them. In Colombia, they turned out to be just the ticket for transporting coffee beans up and down the mountains, as hardy as the donkeys that had been doing the job but slightly more powerful.