Medias de Red y Vuelos.

1 Sep

Listening To: “Over the Rainbow” – Ingrid Michaelson, Be OK

My last post focused on my academic ventures over the past week, and I didn’t get to talk at all about all of the social events I was able to attend this past weekend! It was a totally excellent weekend to claim as my first “real” weekend in Mexico (the weekend before didn’t count because I spent all of Friday in the Mexico City airport and the next two days were filled with orientation and sleeping) because this week was Cuernavaca’s Pride Week! There were events all week, although I missed most of them because I was in class or on excursions (although it would have all been in Spanish so there is only so much I would have gotten out of it anyway), but luckily there were some other girls in the program who were interested in attending the events over the weekend and one of the professors at CEMAL was somehow kind of in charge, so we were all pretty excited to participate in the remaining weekend events.

Thursday night my roommate Chloe announced at dinner that she had met a man in town who played a ukulele-like instrument and would be performing at the Jardin Borda, a museum/garden that we had been to before and is totally beautiful, and that he had given her a free ticket to the concert and she wanted to go. So Chloe, another student Lisa, and I took a taxi over to the Jardin Borda to go see what we thought would be similar to an open mic-type deal. Of course we were totally wrong about the nature of the show, and walked into a theatre rather than a casual concert, and I’m still not sure I can totally understand what we saw. To start with, there were about 8 Mexicans onstage wearing traditional African clothing (or at least that is what they told us it was after the show) and singing acappella to rows of older people who were all dressed pretty nicely…something for which we were not prepared. Also, the first song that they sang was “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing”…one hundred percent not what we were expecting to come out of their mouths. The rest of the performance consisted of song, dance, theatre, piano, flute, soprano saxophone, a crazy man with a cowbell and a drum strapped to his chest, chants, sing-alongs, and a lot of yelling. It was absolutely the wildest thing I have ever seen. The group sang and chanted and clapped their way out of the auditorium and Chloe, Lisa, and I were preparing to leave when we realized that they were still singing, even though they had left the theatre and they were outside. We followed the noise to the center of the entrance of Jardin Borda to find that the entire audience was dancing and singing along with the members of the performing group, who were dancing in a circle around a fountain. So of course we joined in on the dance party, and two seconds later members of the group came over and grabbed our hands and had us join in on the celebration, so we found ourselves clapping and yelling as we danced around the fountain, even though we had absolutely no idea what they were saying or for what we were dancing. The dancing went on forever and ever and ended with people dancing in the fountain and having water fights…it was incredible. And totally not what we thought we were going to be seeing. The man who had met Chloe earlier in the day was really excited to see her and meet the rest of us (lots of handshake/kisses and “mucho gusto”s) and so we all got a chance to practice our Spanish.

Friday night there was a concert that was specifically for Pride that our professor had gotten us all free tickets to, so after we spent the day at a pool party at the director’s house we headed to the café where the concert was taking place. The concert was a lesbian feminist activist playing guitar (more along the lines of what we had been expecting the night before). The venue was really small and, of course, she spoke and sang only in Spanish the entire time, but I was able to determine that she liked a long of the songs she was performing (she said “me gusta esta cancion” before every song), and that a lot of them were about women and the cycle of violence that they face in domestic violence situations (very Art of Change). She was a great performer and we met a lot of people at the concert who were in charge of various parts of pride week. After the concert, Chloe, Lisa, and my other roommate, Ka, and I, went to El Barecito, an LGBTQ friendly bar/restaurant in Cuernavaca that lived up to its name – it was TINY. But it was so cute and welcoming and we saw a lot of the people who had just been at the concert we had attended, who made sure to remind us many times that the pride walk would be the next day and that we had better be there.

Saturday was the day of the march so Chloe, Lisa, Ka, and I went to the meeting place for the beginning of the walk (which happened to be next to the huge and beautiful Cathedral in Cuernavaca, which I thought was pretty impressive that the parade was able to start there without any issues…side note, the Cathedral has “mariachi mass” at 11:00 AM on Sundays, so I am going to make sure to get there at least once this semester. Yeah, that exists.). The march was CRAZY. It was definitely cool to be in a city that is full of Catholicism everywhere you turn become a place with streets filled with men in drag, same sex couples openly showing their affection, and absolutely no free space anywhere because so many people came out either to march in the parade or show their support from the sides. I was totally in shock at how many people came out to support the cause, and did not see anyone or anything that seemed to be in opposition to the event…although it is possible I just didn’t understand because of the language barrier. But as far as I could tell, it was just an awesome atmosphere for everyone to be themselves and show their love. It’s definitely an awesome experience when you feel out of place because you aren’t wearing fishnets or wings of some fashion (although all of us had shown up in various rainbow gear in the spirit of the event). I always love Pride parades, too, because it is the norm for most people to show up mostly naked…and how often is that allowed? Basically never. During the march there were speeches made at the Congress building that was on the route, and the walk ended at the zocalo (which means the town square, but only in Mexico, no other Spanish-speaking country uses this term). The zocalo was filled with various spectacles such as breakdance circles, an exhibition of traditional Aztec dancing, and then the main stage from which the speeches were presented, as well as a drag show. The event went on the entire night but the girls and I wanted to avoid having to pay for a taxi home so we needed to leave before it got dark (and it was also starting to thunderstorm, something that has happened at least once a day every day since I got here), but it was still going strong as we left.

And thus concludes my first real weekend in Cuernavaca. I made it through unscathed, but donning two new bracelets — one that has the figures of men and women (the kind that are usually on bathroom signs) standing in same sex couples in all the colors of the rainbow, and the other covered in pictures that look like bananas, but are actually friendly waving condoms surrounding the words “¡Cuídate y Protégete!” So all in all, I would say it was a successful weekend, and I am loving the coincidence that I am officially welcomed to Cuernavaca by Pride week. It was definitely meant to be.

Prayers for everyone who was affected by the hurricane on the east coast, I have been blown away by all of the pictures from my hometown and the surrounding areas and I hope that there is enough help to bring everything back to its original state. Peace.



One Response to “Medias de Red y Vuelos.”

  1. Donna September 6, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Elizabeth so glad to see you are having such a great time. Love hearing all about it

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