Sunday, May 10, 2009
Dance and "poor" life in Cartagena
Two days ago I watched teams from Cartagena universities compete in traditional dance and music in the Old Town, a part of the city that drips with bold colors and bougainvillea, palm-tree shaded plazas and intricate colonial architecture. I went to watch Oscar/Yair (22), one of Elizabeth's great-nephews, dance. The sun, like always, beat down on the crowd, while vendors hawked cool drinks. I went with Oscar's younger sister, Maria (11). Despite the heat waves, the dancers were gorgeous in their elaborate make-up and outfits.
Yair is studying to be an engineer, like many other young men in his family. He loves to dance though, and so do I!
On Friday, Nidia, Oscar and I took two buses to go to Mandela, an economically-starved neighborhood near the city. Why? They took me to heart when I said I wanted to see all of Cartagena! Some of Lil's relatives live there, like her aunt, who's approaching 90. It was poor, but there was no feeling of despair, just children biking and frolicking in the street. I didn't feel depressed by what I saw because no one their seemed sad.
Then we took two more buses to Nidia's house. She lives in a poor area too, but this one had trash all along the walk from the road to the homes. Her house is bonita, though. We had lunch and then Oscar and I practiced salsa, which I'm getting better at! Then we choreographed a number to a dancehall song. I never met a 22-year-old who enjoyed doing things like this with me, what fun! We still have to practice and add some more steps though.
Tomorrow the youngins around here (and Nidia, who's 39, but acts younger) are waking up at 6am to go by boat to some Carribean islands. I'm a bit too tan now (I'm trying to look like my beloved mangos), so tomorrow I'll have to be extra careful with the sun, my unforgiving pal.