I survived Day One! 3 days left to go. The official start of Carnavales was the ‘pechegona’ which in Spanish literally means ‘big chicken breast’ and the inauguration ceremony was in the form of huge trucks filled with water soaking everybody at midnight. Because the festivities was in the central park there is no where to hide to stay dry and although its hot in Chitre, the nights get cold enough to give you chills if you are outside soaking wet in the middle of the night. So you just have to dance until 4 in the morning to the reggae bands and then go home, sleep til 11 and then go back out and do it again but this time during the day. The next morning I felt the need to go for a (painful) run to try to flush out my liver and was not aware that Carnavales means being wet ALL the time, in ALL circumstances. If you want to stay dry, you stay home. SO on my run I was surprised by a bucket of water to the face thrown by a group of kids- I laughed even though I was really annoyed (I’ve learned to do this well) seeing as I had just started my run and had my iPod in my hand but shrugged it off until I got hit by ANOTHER bucket of water and then I realized I’ve been in this country for 3 years but I am still the naive, giant gringa.
That night we went out to the discoteca, me and 2 girls, wearing short bob wigs in florescent colors because this is probably the only time in our lives that wearing short bob wigs in florescent colors is appropriate and completely acceptable. And we were adorable. I wore a florescent blue one, and the girls orange and firey red. In my thought process I imagined the wigs would actually make us blend in better, thinking that despite the florescent colors, maybe we wouldn’t look so foreign, but that was a stupid thought process and we had to spend most of the night taking pictures with the people who wanted pictures with the gringas in florescent wigs and avoiding the TV cameras.
The next 3 days is the same- getting wet in the day and going to the discoteca at night, but I doubt each day will have the same story to tell. Wish me luck!