Monday, February 23, 2009

Carnaval: Batachá Parade - Part 2

I asked Pablo what "Bachata" meant because it is not in the dictionary. He told me that it is actually Batachá (pronounced bah-tah-CHA) as in the sounding out of a drum beat, and that is what it represents: lots of drums. As you can see above, Pablo took his tambor along. He jammed with several of the drummers parading by. These are our seats for Sunday's event. Later we have chairs in the exact spot Pablo is seated in front of the beer concession that had seats available. This photo was taken at 9am, and the beer sales start at 11am.

At 9am folks are lining the streets and all the bleacher seats are taken. They may not look full but the empty seats are being carefully guarded by those currently occupying space.

By 10am people were arriving in droves. Families pulling large coolers, carrying chairs, loads of food and huge jars of chiles sought out those elusive empty spaces where they could set up camp for the day.

At 11am the concessions opened and all the seats on the tree-lined side of the street were also filled. We were comfortable as Pablo batachá'd his drum and I wrote on whatever bits of paper I could find in my empty purse. (I was ready to reach out for loot by Sunday!) We enjoyed some mouth-watering watermelon served with chile and lime juice. The watermelon man and his cart of fresh carved fruit was irresistible.

It is nearly 12 noon and people are now arriving in herds. I have no idea where these people will fit themselves in, but most of them will squeeze in somewhere. Some will likely end up behind those bleachers and have to sacrifice the parade to the beer gods.

Just before start time people have to be in their seats or make their way out of the parade route. The walls of policemen make sure this happens and in a timely fashion. These folks, if not just up stretching from having sat on benches or curbs for three hours are completely SOL (shit out of luck) if they think they are going to see this parade around here!

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