The Cubana Chronicles: Sunday January 29, 2012 9:36pm

May 2, 2012

The Amazing Floats of Bejucal



It’s been exactly a week since we arrived. Feeling pretty settled in, but still need to get my own groove on. I’m sure this week will be different since the work actually starts now. Need to practice my Spanish more, like the verbs and such.

Started reading “Dirty Havana Trilogy” today. Wow! I mean, the sex that he talks about isn’t hard to see, or imagine or whatever. It’s a very aware society. The sex and sexuality is everywhere, and it’s not really that big a deal. Actually, I think sex is only a super big deal in the States and places where everyone lives in an über-Christian bubble. People here just have a very different relationship with body, emotion, and spirituality in general.

Last night we went to a town about an hour out of Central Havana called Bejucal, where once a year they have a big fair with these two amazing transforming floats. Its really hard to explain the floats except they don’t move, they stay stationary, and it’s like a jack-in-the-box where they get higher and higher with a different ‘theme’ for each level that grows out. It was pretty wild!

In between the two floats growing the DJ would play Afro-Cuban rhumba music and there was this group of Black elderly people who were just getting DOWN! Rum in hand, shaking what their mamas gave them like whoa! It was super. After the whole thing ended, all the young people came out in their little possess and self-consciously danced together while pretending not to care if anyone else was watching, all the while checking over their shoulders to see if people were watching them. I’ve never seen such a large gathering of muscle shirts, hair gel, super-tight jeans and super-short dresses! It was like an audition for “Jersey Shore” or something, so amazing how specific the fashion is for a country that doesn’t really watch American programming. Maybe it’s a Euro thing? I need to get on my salsa classes, this standing around while people are cutting up the rug really isn’t working for me. This mission starts tomorrow.