Monday, February 23, 2009
Carnaval: The Fantasy Parade
Saturday we left the house at 6:30pm thinking we had plenty of time to park in front of Mike's house and find a seat before the 8pm start time. Someone had blocked us out of our private parking spot, so we reverted to plan B and miraculously found a place to park just two blocks up the street.
Arriving at Paseo de Montejo, my jaw dropped. Every seat was filled - free seats, paid seats at the concession stands, and every centimeter of curb. We walked and walked and got shoved around and were unwelcomed by all. The friendly police of Friday evening were replaced by stressed out and just plain nasty ones. There was a serious "fuck you" atmosphere and the ALEGRIA (happiness) of Carnaval escaped me completely. It was an "every man for himself" situation.
We maneuvered our way into a beer concession to have a brew and think things over. Pablo was elbowed and edged out. A tall and large gringo stood up and stepped in front of me taking photo after photo and I couldn't see anything coming toward us. Neither of us could see over anyone's heads. The gal in front of me was pissed off and giving me stinkeye the whole time we stood there drinking our beer. After giving up on that we crossed the street, pushed and excused ourselves through the narrow passages between the way-too-small bleachers. Once through that maze, we found ourselves behind the bleachers milling around in a crowd full of people giving us dirty looks.
I caught a glimpse of the very tops of a few of the fantasy floats. It seemed like there were new and different ones from the night before. I can't say for sure, other than what I saw pictured in the newspaper. The photos above are what I saw of the Fantasy Parade.
I did my fair share of pouting, being the 5 year old brat I am at a parade. On the bright side we enjoyed a few cold beers and some tasty tacos al pastor. The scene itself was a bit overwhelming. Pablo just kept telling me, "We have to get here earlier. Like 3 hours or more before the parade." I have to look at it as having seen another aspect of Carnaval, the socializing, eating, drinking, and standing around talking story side. Pablo took it all in stride and said to me, "You can't win 'em all. There are more parades and more Carnavals." The problem is that a 5 year old doesn't understand that logic.
Below are a few shots of the bandstands that are set up along Paseo de Montejo. When the parade ends the music and serious beer drinking begins. We walked some and listened, but frankly I was a little walked out after three hours of just meandering around. We will have to try again tomorrow.