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
Tonight, though, we drink. As well as preparing for Yipao, Armenia and the entire country is gearing up for a vital World Cup qualifier, which pits Colombia against Chile in the mother of all Latin American grudge matches. Colombian beer isn't very strong, but the local liquor packs more of a punch, and spirits are predictably high. (Colombia will be three-nil down at half-time, but manage to bang in three goals in a wild second half, securing their spot in the finals. In 1994, Andrés Escobar was gunned down in Medellín because he scored an own goal in a World Cup game. The team can rest easy this time.)
The main parade kicks off at lunchtime on Saturday. TopGear finds itself sitting on a raised dais, along with local dignitaries. Armenia's mayor is a glamorous and statuesque lady, who waves to the crowd beneficently. "Yipao is iconic," she tells us, to a soundtrack of brassy Forties Colombian Cumbia music. "It's folkloric. Coffee is our industry, and the parade has its roots in our peasant work. We are the most happy people in the world, and we try to put colour into everything."