Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chacala's Big Night

Last night was the big annual Dance in Chacala. There are other dances in Chacala, like the Disco Dance a few days ago. And the Disco during Semana Santa. And for Quinceneria and wedding fiestas, and other fiestas too. But this was the town's dance, the last event of the Saint Rafael (patron saint of Chacala) celebration.It took place on the primary school basketball/volleyball/flag salute/graduation ceremonies, etc playground. You can see the nearly built basketball hoop posts in the background. Hand built by Chacala residents.

I had to so some errands late yesterday afternoon, so I got a chance to watch the set-up. Local guys, including Leo, owner of Koko-Bongo's restaurant, were gathering white plastic tables and chairs from around town, and playing out the "nightclub" style decor. Some of the tables were on-loan from the beer and Coke distributors.

There were some sidewalk superintendents, watching the band unload and set up. When I was walking from the paved road, via the footpath, over to the schoolyard I found three band guys with a ladder, in search of a 220V connection to hook onto. Onto the power poles themselves. Not someone's outlet.
The band had two large moving van type trucks. and some smaller rigs. The band's bus arrived with the 25 musicians arrived about dark. It's amazing how popular a person can be when they are walking around with a camera. All the guys wanted to pose for photos. I guess they were tired of working.The band had an amazing amount of equipment. For sounds and lights. the set-up was a big job. Apparently they had been at it most of the day. There were tons of speakers. It was easy to tell when the dance started and ended. You could hear the sound all over town.
Polo's Taco Stand was setting up near the entrance to the schoolyard. Berta, the true boss behind the outfit, was setting things right. They normally have the Taco stand under a palapa across the beach toad from Chico's. It's a great option for a quick delicious taco at an affordable price. Clean and sanitary, with attention to refrigeration and sanitation. I went back to the dance about 9:3pm. In the past the admission was free or 20pesos, (1.80us).
Last night it was 50 pesos. $4.50us. I had walked over with 10 pesos in my pocket, for a Coke. So I ended up hanging around the outside of the playground with my friends. Hanging on the chain link fence and watching the crowning of this year's Chacala Princess. I hate that but it's fun to watch. I finally decided to fork over the (borrowed) 50 pesos when someone told me the committee needed to pay for the band with the admission fee.

I liked the band. Lots of different music. Loud (you couldn't have a conversation) but not terrible. Lots of people were dancing. By about 11 pm, the basketball court was full of dancers. All ages were dancing. Couples of all arrangements. Groups of women, groups of girls, mixed groups of teens. Babies in their Daddy's arms. Any kid that could walk was out there giving it a swirl. Many babies were sleeping under the tables, in little nests of blankets. Or dancing in the a family member's arms. The moon was so full and bright I didn't need a flashlight when I walked home about midnight. What a nice night. I love watching people dance. There are always some couples out there that I didn't know were couples. Some pretty surprising hook-ups out there.

Well, I really love the atmosphere at these events. People are dressed to the nine's in ball gowns and sports jackets, or wearing shorts and tee's. Or whatever. There were about a dozen grinogs at the dance. Mostly tourists staying at local rentals. Or friends and families of locals.

No one is screaming at their kids or each other. Everyone is having fun, hanging out with friends, admiring the dancing and observing the teens. It was a nice night. I wasn't going to go because 9:30pm is generally past my bedtime. But I am glad I did. No night time photos thought.I don't seem to have the knack of using a flashing. Maybe next year.

The second year I went to this particular event, there was a huge ruckus a the end of the dance. I had left with some friends before the fight started. Apparently it was the Las Varas young men looking for a fight, and they got one. I doubt if that happened this year. For one thing, the police were on hand and not planning on leaving. But I don't know for sure how the party ended. I do know what time though: 2:30am. Because that's when the music ended.

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