Macklemore you wonderful weirdo you. Last post I promised to write about my previous weekend, and “And We Danced” just kept coming to mind cause that is what I did on Friday!
Friday morning started out as a difficult day. I was struggling with some stuff and feeling pretty sad and lonesome about myself, but it all turned out just fine because then Friday NIGHT happened. Friday was the last day of a few weeks long celebration of a nearby town’s 100 year anniversary. To culminate the festivities a dance was planned, so I talked about it with my host sister, invited my two Irish friends who are here wwoofing, and we made plans to leave our town 8:30 or so.
The boys made it very clear they were looking to get a bit tipsy, so when we first made it to the park where the dance was to be held and saw that it hadn’t started, we were off in search of a specific type of Ecuadorian rum. At this point, it had started to rain a bit and people were just milling all over the park, eating street food, and watching the band set up.
After much time spent trying to avoid the rain and some time enjoying the rum, the band started up and we migrated closer. There was an old, extremely drunk man who was intent on harassing women into dancing with him. When he approached us, I begged off and pretended one of my Irish friends was my boyfriend. Then my host sister and I ran away and hid behind other people while we watched him approach several other women in failed attempts to procure a dance partner. After physically trying to drag someone onto the dance floor, he found another drunk man to sway around with to the music. A good half hour passed with only two or three couples dancing, and then two men from a group of goofy guys broke off and came and got us to dance. My partner was hilarious, leading me to the before the stage to dance in front of the crowd. I have to insert this disclaimer here: I am not a very good dancer. I have VERY limited rhythm, am tall and somewhat gangly, and my body refuses to move in certain ways. However, I am firmly convinced that confidence and lack of caring about what anyone else is thinking can compensate for poor dancing ability, so I just went for it. He would spin me around, put his baseball cap on me, and we hammed it up and put on a show as the tall gringa and her shorter, comical partner (who can actually dance).
My next dancing partner was less adventurous, more intent on waxing poetically on my beauty and trying to entice me to 1)drive to Cuenca with him that night and 2)go drink with him after the dance. We danced for a good bit, and then I begged off the offer of the beer, citing my friends as a reason to stay on the dance floor.
After meeting up with a group of friends from our town, we went to the local discoteca for some more dancing. It was like any discoteca you’d find in any city. Anywhere. “Modern” design, blue lights, pop music (that never changed rhythm). After a few dances and observing the local scene, I left with my two Irish pals under the pretext of buying some more rum and the plan to check out the festivities outside. We ended up returning to the same store, and excessive rain forced us to stay inside, sampling our purchase and having one of those long talks about travel and life and language learning. When the rain let up a bit, we returned to the dance outside. AND WE DANCED.
It was raining, the band was energetic, there was a crowd of people–and we went for it. First the three of us danced, then I began a rotation of dance partners nearly all of whom were a good head shorter than me. Bring the height I am, I was able to interact with the band from the dance floor. We shared some looks and laughs as they were performing and I was dancing away in the rain.
My friends returned from the discoteca and joined us in the dancing. Finally, after hours had passed and several of mis amigos were a little bit ‘happy’ as they say here, my host sister was ready to leave. For the first time ever in this homebody’s life I was prepared to stay out all night, but it was 2:45 am and the bus left at 3:00 am. As we went to leave, the head band member spotted me and popped out from the area they were resting in. “Mi amor!” he said enthusiastically, before holding my hand and telling everyone in the nearby vicinity that we were going to get married and “didn’t we make a good looking couple.” After his friend (the other band member) motioned for me to come join him, my future husband (according to him) looked at me and feigned jealousy. “I’m jealous! Do you like him? Or do you like me? Actually, it isn’t important, because I like you enough for the both of us.” I spent about a minute with the other singer and band members when a friend came over to collect me to go home. “Your boyfriend?” he asked. “No, just a friend,” I answered. “Ah, good. So you can be my girlfriend, right?” he asked, winking, before laughing and assuring me he was joking. (This attention may sound similar to the catcalls and objectification culture I complained about in this post, but the context was different and I didn’t feel uncomfortable or degraded as a person. It was much more of a lighthearted exchange than a one-sided objectification).
Though the band offered to drive us back in the TOUR BUS if we stayed, my host sister wanted to go home so we left. I was ready to spend the rest of the night dancing and then fulfill the dream (whose dream? I have no idea) of riding the bus and being the love interest that broke up the band, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I fell asleep standing up on the bus before being jolted awake by an unexpected stop 😉
And thus concludes a taste of what I described as the quintessential Ecuadorian party night. Hope my somewhat rambling account let you experience a bit of the fun I had!