My First Carnival

>Colonial Zone Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Carnival in Santo Domingo
My friend Tony and his gang invited me to go to the carnival in La Vega. I really had no idea what to expect but I went anyhow. I really didn’t want to leave Sniffy alone the whole day but I did it, worrying about her the entire day. This was my first time to leave her alone for a long time since she turned blind. She was getting around better so I went.
They came and got me and we took a public car to get a Guagua. There were so many cars and people everywhere. I had no idea where I was. Of course we went to the Colmado on the corner and got a few beers. I also got a little bag of some snack (can’t remember exactly what it was). The bag had a little plastic toy to put together. I couldn’t figure out how to get it together but I’m sure a kid could have done it immediately. I played with this toy while we sat around drinking. I entertained myself a lot, especially when I couldn’t understand what anyone was talking about. I’d just go into my own little world until I understood something or until someone spoke directly to me slowly.
I had no idea why we were just sitting around. We got up early. It was about 10AM and we were just sitting. I found out that we were waiting for others of the group to show up. As usual people were late.
Finally it seemed that people were there. They were getting up and returning. Giving me the hand signal to sit and stay. Just like a dog. I sat and stayed and kept my little plastic glass full of beer waiting for the call to move somewhere else.
Finally I was called to get on the bus. We got a few beers for the road and all loaded onto the Guagua. It was a nice Guagua, it even had air conditioning.
We were on our way. I had no idea how far we were going but I was enjoying the music and everyone laughing and talking. It was for sure a party even thought I really didn’t understand much. I knew this for sure.
We stopped at some road stop place. There was a lot of people everywhere. I remember stopping there before when some friends took me to Jarabacoa once when I was on vacation. We got a sandwich and more beer then we were off again.
We pulled into the town of La Vega. There were people and busses everywhere. I had no idea what was going on. I just followed the leader to another Colmado. We all sat down. Got more beer. Some of the group disappeared and some stayed. Some came back and others left. We were there for a few hours. I finally got someone to listen to me and I asked when the Carnival was to start. Tony told me it started a long time ago but it was in the other street. Why didn’t anyone tell me!? I came to see the Carnival, I could sit around and drink at home.
I finally got Tony to take me to the next street to see what was going on. He said he didn’t like the Carnival. So why was he there? I never did understand that one. But he did take me to the next street.
I couldn’t believe the change. Where we were sitting there were many people but this was unreal. There were people everywhere. All mashed in. It was difficult to even move. There was so much excitement in the air. Everyone was loud and moving around like they were frantic.
then I saw it. I was in shock.
There were monster faces. Big ugly masks. Really they were beautifully done but were of the most viscous and toothy demons one could imagine. All larger than life. They were painted brightly and the clothes were all shiny and bright. They were in the center of the street with people running in every direction seeming to want to get away from them.
Then I saw it. Well, I didn’t see it until it was too late. One of those masked demons hit me! They hit me hard! I didn’t expect it. I heard about getting hit but I had no idea it was like this. The demon had a balloon type thingy in his hand (later I found out it was a dried animal bladder or rubber made into a ball) and he was swinging it around and hitting people on the butt! That thing hurt too. I turned around shocked and saw Tony close behind me laughing. I guess the look of shock on my face was pretty funny told me to stay out of the street. Now why didn’t he tell me this before? One can only guess. He liked to see me get my first whack!
Now I understood. You had to watch all around you. Stay off the street and away from the dressed up people. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed. With all the humans sandwiched in escape wasn’t always easy. There was loud music. Humans everywhere. People yelling. Humans everywhere. Bladders butt-wapping. Humans everywhere. Everyone having a good time. And did I mention humans EVERYWHERE!!??
After about a half hour I gave up fighting the crowd and just let them move me along until I came out the other side and was free. All the while holding on to Tony for dear life and laughing hard. It was great fun. Good thing I wasn’t claustrophobic and that I had had a few beers to relax me. I made it our of the crowd and we went back to the Colmado to our seats and another bien fria(beer)to cool off with. This is when they explained to me what this Carnival was about, in English. They must have waited to see my reaction and to get a good laugh (which I did to my family a year later when they got their first Carnival experience also).
It was time to get back onto the Guagua. I had no idea how they knew where ours was but we got there. Got on and situated. The ride home was a little quieter because everyone was tired and maybe a bit sore. All in all I had a great time.
Another new experience to add to my many here in Dominican Republic. I love this country!

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