Carnaval


Weren't you supposed to read that book last week?

Weren't you supposed to read that book last week?

We arrived in Panama last nite, and American Airlines was actually a bit early. Carnaval is in full swing, so we headed out to Via Espana to see what was happening. I’ve never been in a Rio-style carnaval, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. A homecoming parade (like I saw in Santiago de Cuba once)? When we arrived at Via Espana there was a long line to get in thru a gate where police were patting everyone down and checking their IDs. So, I thought it might be like Freakfest, when the Madison police gate off state street for Halloween. But no one was dressed up in silly costumes. It took us an hour to get thru the line, and once inside I thought it was more like the Mifflin Street Block Party. A lot of loud music, and people walking around drinking beer. Boring. But then someone threw something at Ashlee, and then more stuff started flying around–confetti, streamers, etc. And then I remembered Carnaval in Ecuador, where people play with water and everyone gets wet. So, that was more what it was like, although last nite it was paper rather than water. I think paper is still coming out of our hair.

I don’t have any pictures, partly because I didn’t want to hassle with a camera and partly cuz I wasn’t sure what it would be like and I didn’t want to risk losing my camera. All in all, it was pretty calm. One of my original ideas for the Panama trip was that we would be here from Carnaval through Semana Santa, and that the 2 Catholic holidays would provide interesting bookmarks for the experience. So, I’m glad we had a chance to do that last nite.

I’m just here right now with 5 people from Kansas City. Chad is bringing the rest from St Louis, and their plane is late into Miami so I’m not sure they are going to make their connection. I did make all of my connections yesterday–even being booted ahead to the flights that the students were on, but no thanks to the people at the check-in counter at MCI who were pretty unhelpful. The DFW-MIA was oversold, but someone (I’m not sure who because I had talked to so many people about it, but I am really thankful for that one person) pulled me to the top of the standby list and I got on the flight, even if that meant sitting in a middle seat surrounded by big, loud Texans. The connection was so tight in Miami that I’m not sure I would have made the Panama flight otherwise.

Skipping ahead to an earlier flight to Miami also meant that I got to see Cheryl for an hour before we both headed our separate ways. In my statement for my promotion portfolio at TSU, I described myself as a teacher/scholar/activist. The reality, however, is that given a choice I would privilege the activism over the others. I wish I were on my way to Haiti; that’s where I really belong right now. Carnaval can wait for next year.

  1. #1 by Joey on February 18, 2010 - 12:57 pm

    I already read it, Marc. It is called review and brownie points…how many more until I can get a hot dog?

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