water, water everywhere, cultural madness, and iguanas....
- shaziadavis@...Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:36:28 PM
Subject: water, water everywhere, cultural madness, and iguanas....I was returning to my site after the seminar in the beginning of February, tired from the activities and kindof drifting off to sleep in between the almost stops every 20 feet to avoid the countless potholes in the road, (cuando de repente), when the bus slams to a sudden stop and I jolted myself back to reality to see that we had stopped quickly not for the typically cow crossing or to avoid dogs or chickens in the road (which is typical), but rather, we were stopping because a nice bright green iguana was stupidly attempting to cross the road and making itself a target that might as well have been hanging directly in front of the bus like a bone in front of a dog causing the dog to salivate. The bus slams to a stop and out run 3 or so guys now ON THE CHASE. Now running in all directions after the iguana, oh, and to the ground, almost like they were sliding into first or second base in a baseball game. I have to say when they started falling down, it really was very comical and I couldn´t help myself but laugh. Eventually of course, the iguana was victim to yet another illegal poaching experience I have witnessed, and I can add the iguana to the list of animals I have now shared a bus with.The congo dancing into the night continued into carnaval which culminated with fat tuesday and then ash wednesday. The dancing, drunkness, and million people flooded the town. Not enough water for all the visitors, as the dry season has now taken affect and the rains are very shortlived nowadays. Congo Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Sunday was Carnaval acuatico in a neighboring town. Everyone comes and goes swimming all day, they have this big machine that shoots out tons of water onto the crowds of people, food is sold, drunkness, congo dancing, the queens (what is an event in panama without the queen contest?), singing with a local band......Monday was more dancing, craziness, and wetness, with Tuesday as the wettest day by far. Basically all day Tuesday the idea is that you walk and run around town with tanks and buckets of water dumping them all over each other. No point to change your clothes because you´ll just get wet again. Although not really sure and no one could tell me the purpose or reason for the water dumping. Wednesday in Colòn, Ash Wednesday in the States ended Carnaval. In my province the big thing they do is the event of the diablos, devils. Several people were these big masks and red and black outfits dressed up as devils running around with whips to go after the several others dressed as slaves. The slaves and devils basically attack each other, running after one and the other, the devils whipping the slaves and the slaves teaming up against the devils, bearing with the beating through their 3 pairs of pants they have on underneath their pieced together quilted looking skirts, capturing the devils one by one. As each devil is captured the slaves pin them down on the ground and do what they call a baptising, which is basically just putting water and salt in the devil´s mouth. Eventually all the devils are captured, with the head papa devil last and that ends the event. This event is going to be twice as big in a neighboring town this Saturday so I am excited to go witness this on a larger scale. It is really quite interesting-entertaining.I will write more before I head back to my site, but just a little taste of the past few weeks to hold you over til then.....Take care, SHAZIA
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