National Geographic : 2005 Mar
party starts in an hour at Celebrations, a fancy club, and neither she nor her daughter is dressed. "I've got butterflies!" Daniella says, pressing her hands against her stomach and stepping into the small world of her dress. She is espe cially nervous about tonight's waltz, the pivotal moment of the evening. Later, when that moment arrives, Daniella crosses the bridge built over the swimming pool lit with tiki torches. Everyone claps as she sweeps into the ballroom and waltzes with her stepfather, Jairo Alzate, who's in the resort busi ness. Daniella's biological father was killed in Bogota almost 15 years ago, the day he was plan ning to fly to see Natalia on her birthday and his newborn baby, Daniella. He never arrived. It's after midnight, and the disco bass pulses. The partygoers glisten with sweat. Some pair up and head quietly outside. Bob Sadowsky, the party planner, says he has a plan to curtail his underage guests' romantic forays into the bushes: He has installed trip wires. In case things get hot and heavy, he says, the entire perimeter floods with light. Bob also keeps a big bowl oflollipops by the door, so that when the rowdy partygoers leave, they don't chatter in the parking lot and disturb the neighbors. Daniella's quinceanera ends up raging until noon the next day. In Medellin, for young people of means, party culture rules. Down the road at a nightclub called Mangos, New Year's Eve is celebrated every month, as if January might not roll around next time. In Medellin, any chance at starting again-no matter how concocted is an excuse for a party. You don't ask questions. You kick up your stilettos and dance. Shrouded by a make shift mask, a leftist rebel in his prison cell (above) displays an image of revolutionary Che Guevara. Police investigator Maria T. (right)-target of many death threats-walks to a murder scene flanked by bodyguards. Her face is obscured for protection.