Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lookin' for the Heart of Saturday Night

We went to the centro Saturday night to dance in the street under the stars. As usual, the streets around the zocalo were closed to vehicular traffic for the weekly event. The restaurants' tables were decoratively set up in the streets but only a few tables were occupied. Vendors sat on their stoops watching an occasional couple straggle by. There were very few foreign tourists and surprisingly few Mexican National visitors. It wasn't just a slow Saturday Night In Mérida, it was downright disheartening.

There were NO salsa or cumbia bands set up anywhere. There was an occasional karaoke-kind singer with a boom box, an old man playing his saw, and a few strolling guitarists, but the bandstands usually located every half block were noticeably missing. An unreliable source told us the city administrator had suspended the program. When I asked for how long, our friend said "When his term is over." Whatever that means.

We enjoyed a pleasant walk around the zocalo and were relieved to see they were setting up for Mérida en Domingo, where every Sunday it is full of families, artisanry and food stalls, and two bands play while people dance in the street. At least all tradition has not been lost, and it left me hoping the free programs currently suspended will be reinstated when life lightens up around here a little (flu and economic crises)....

As we walked back to the car we figured we would head into the Mayan Pub instead. It was closed. Blacked out with stickers plastered all over the door saying CLAUSURADO (Officially Shut Down!) We were there just last week and everything seemed fine. There were plenty of people, mostly university students, and a live band playing. I hope it doesn't remain closed, I have history there. I met Pablo at the Mayan Pub, Jude celebrated a birthday and I celebrated finding my Mérida house. Naomi tended bar there one night. The list goes on.

But we are real troupers and went to Plan C. Cubanchero.....the Cuban bar/restaurant with live music. It belongs to a family member of one of the Buena Vista Social Club musicians. We sipped their mojitos, got up and danced, and the night was saved.
We were picked to go up on the dance floor for some halftime humiliation and fun between musical groups. Pablo took the photos as we danced and did silly things.

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