Here in Colombia, November 11 marks the indepedence of the city of Cartagena from Spain. And what better way could there be of marking this historic occasion than the Miss Colombia contest, which concludes this Friday? (Sadly I have now moved on from Cartagena, as I felt I couldn't justify chilling out there for than than the week I had already spent. So I will miss the major Miss Colombia events. But I did see the beauty queens at least once, at a go-kart race organised by Juan Pablo Montoya, the Colombian Formula One driver.)
November 11 is also a national holiday in all of Colombia (or at least the nearest Monday is, or something. It's hard to tell when a day is a holiday in a country like Colombia, which combines the lazy Latin/Caribbean stereotype with the trademark Third-World work ethic - shops are open all day, all the time.)
In Cologne, Germany, November 11 marks the beginning of the carnival period, which concludes in February with Ash Wednesday. In fact, der Kölner Karneval begins at 11.11am on 11/11.
Meanwhile, in the UK, 11am on 11/11 is a time for sober reflection of Armistice Day. I believe the same date is Veterans Day in the USA.
I've often wondered how some Brits would react, learning that a bunch of Krauts are using the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to mark the beginning of several months' festivites and debauchery. Now I learn that a whole load of Spics over this side of the Caribbean are holding a beauty contest to mark the most sombre day in the offical calendar of the USA and also Her Majesty's Commonwealth....
It reminds me of how I've always thought that us Brits are missing out big time when it comes to Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday. In New Orleans they have Mardi Gras, in Rio de Janeiro they have Carnival, in Britain we have... pancakes.