My life as a social butterfly
Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
34Trip End Ongoing
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I grabbed my purse with my money, lip gloss, and a cheap (practically useless) Costa Rican umbrella stuffed inside. I was not going to be late for the bus today. I was determined. But, as always, Nena and Nago answered my ¨Chau!¨ with protests.
"But you haven´t had your cafecito!"
"Esta bien! Esta bien! No necesito cafe,gracias!" Nena usually understands that I really don´t want to eat when I beg off food (especially when served only two hours after breakfast), but Nago always persists.
"Tiene tiempo!" I think he would say that I have time as the bus is pulling away if itw would get me to eat more. But I skillfully extracted myself from yet another food stand-off by rubbing my stomach and groaning slightly. "Llena. Muy, muy llena!" I had ten minutes to go the longer and less muddier way down to the bus stop. Not being naturally skilled in walking in heels along rocky roads as all Ticas seem to be, I needed those ten minutes. With a final, and definitive,"Chau!" I stepped out the door. Immediately my heels sunk into the mud and I was stuck, much like that tar incident in Orosi. I let out a little yelp which brought both Nago and Nena running.
"Don´t go abajo, it´s muddy," Nago told me as Nena ran for paper towels. I decided not to mention the fact that I was not going abajo, that the worse mud was right out the door.
Galloping up the hill on tip toes so as not to get stuck again, clutching paper towels for future us, and holding down my dress against the wind, I made my way to the bus. The last wedding I had gone to had been in the states. It had started out with clean feet and a car. I wondered what other surprises this day would hold for me.
I had heard whistles as I gingerly picked my wayto the bus door. Lalo wasn´t in his driver´s seatyet, so I was forced to wait in view of the pulperia guys and whoever this whistler was. I looked up with a scowl to let whoever it was know that after nine months I´m still not amused by such behavior. It was Luis Miguel, my newly-single friend who had tried to kiss me the last time I had seen him. He smiled, knowing full well my annoyance, and yelled down, "Tan guapa!" I ducked my head to hide my smile. I must admit, I did look pretty good. It was the firsttime I had anything to wear my one and only dress to and my legs were shaved for the fist time in weeks. I even had on some make up and had managed to put my Tico-cut hair into an up-do. Though slightly unsteady, I was pleased with the effects the heels and months of walking up and down the mountain had on my calf muscles.
When I looked up again, Luis Miguel was making his way down the hill with his eyes on me and that damned cocky grin still plastered across his face. But, saved by a student, Lizeth prancedup to me in a pretty pink party dress for a besito. She was going to the wedding too. Together we climbed in the bus and took our seats.
"Don´t worry about the boys," she told me. "They bother Jenny, too." As Jenny, a petite 18-year-old, climbed on the bus in her wedding-wear, I told them both that men are the same all over the world. All you have to do to keep them in line is give them a few whacks with an umbrella. This was in referenceto an episode with Kevin, my 15-year-old "novio" who had been a bit forceful when asking for a besito only two nights before Luis Miguel had made his move. This being a small town, everyonehad heard about what had happened, and the girls giggled as both my suitors made their way down the aisle. It looked like we would all be attending the Deanna´s nuptuals that afternoon.
By the time the ceremony ended, it was cold and dumping down rain. I shivered while trying to figure out the perplexing event that is a Costa Rican boda. Everyonehad arrived late, including the bride, and I was probably the most dressed up on all the guests. Most people werein jeans, Luis Miguel was wearing a t-shirt (and this was his sister getting married!), and the girls who did dress up a bit were in tight little outfits better suited for a club. Before the wedding party walked down the aisle, a video camera was shoved into my hand and I was told to hurry inside to get a shot ofthe big entrance. I never really understood why this job was delegated to me, but after Deana passed by, I quickly handed the device to Carlito (another brother of Deana´s) to take over. The rest of the ceremony went rather quickly, the Spanish puncutated by en electronic version of "Ave Maria" emitted with the press of a button from a little keyboard in the corner. After the newlywed couple french kissed for a good two minutes, thus firmly sealling their vows, half of the congregation got up and left. The couple ended up taking their first married journey down the center aisle amid a crowd of relatives and friends chatting about how they were going to get to the salon for the party.
And what a party it was! There weren´t enough plastic lawn chairs for everyone, so the men lined the walls as the women settled themselves at long tables holding 3.1 liter bottles of grape-flavored soda and plastic plates of pastries. Neither looked too appetizing to me, so I scanned the crowd for yet another of Deana´s brothers, Alejandro, who has become my unofficial dance partner. The first dance was a merengue, Alejandro´s favorite. But as he spun me the first time, I realized that I may have made a bad choice of wardrobe. My skirt went flying out (and up), revealling my victoria secret underwear to a wide-eyed Lizeth dancing to my right. Luckily I had chosen a cute, full-coverage pair. And no one else seemed to notice, so I figured that as long as I didn´t spin too fast, I´d be ok. After all, I can never resist a good dance. When the reggatone cam on, however, I thanked Alejandro and sat down to watch the grandmas attempt to shake it to the sounds of a strong bass and foghorn.
But it wasn´t until the salsa began and the mystery guy from San José asked me to dance that the real fun began. This guy was good, really good! And under normal circumstances I would have had the time of my life. I would have dance with him the whole night. But what followed instead was one of hte most embarrassing ten minutes of my life in Costa Rica. I knew I was in trouble after the first quick turn. The eyes of the grannies gew wider and wider as the turns got trickier and faster, as my skirt spun out further and further, and as more and more of the room got an eye-full of my cute, full-coverage black and pink victoria secret panties. I was torn between throwing myself completely into the moves and trying to hold down the skirt that seemed to be spinning around my waist now. Luis Miguel grabbed the video camera from his brother and turned it on me. I made horrified hand gestures for him to stop, that I would kill him if he pressed play, desperate to keep some of my dignity in tact. He just laughed and gave me a flash of that cocky grin. Lizeth and two other little girls appeared at my side giggling. The guy spinning me, now aware of what was going on, spun me harder.
By the the time the song finally finished, my face bright red from both exertion and embarrassment, I sat down giggling apologetically to the woman beside me. She turned to me smiling, patted my knee, and said, "Que buena una bailarina!" Miraculously, my underwear-flashing dancing seemed to remind everyone of their favorite program, "Bailando por un sueño" where underwear flashing is a sign of good dancing. There were all impressed by my moves! I decided, though, that after that little exhibition I needed a drink. So though I normally would have said no, when Luis Miguel came over chuckling to himself and asked if I wanted to go get a beer, I only hesitated a moment.
It turned out to be a smokey little places with "Ali" playing on four TVs featuring a spanish-speaking Will Smith. I got my usual Imperial Light and drank out of the bottle while Luis Miguel sipped his Imperial from a cup with ice. We laughed about the attempted kiss incident, talked about random stuff, and said hello to his father making his own beer run while throwing a knowing wink at his son. It was actually quite enjoyable. When we had finished our beers and I had decided that we´d been gone long enough to give the town something to talk about, we made our way back to the party.
On the way back, Luis Miguel turned to me and said that he liked my company, that I talked a lot and he liked hearing about other places. He said that he wouldn´t try to kiss me again until I wanted to be kissed. I thanked him, amazing by such un-machismo things coming otu of a Costa Rican man´s mouth. But then he threw me a devilish smirk and asked when I thought I´d be ready for that kiss. Feeling much like a character out of a 1950s musical comedy, I playfully slapped him on the arm and stepped back into the now-raoring party. In a move that would have made Doris Day very proud, I said, "Let´s stick with dancing for now." As he took my hand and led me to the dance floor, I pulled away slightly and stuck my finger in his face warningly. "But don´t even think about fast turns!"
By 6 o´clock the party was winding down and I was beginning to wonder how I would make it back to La Estrella. But then Jenny and Lizeth came up and offered me a ride back in their family´s buseta. But first we had to stop at another party, a Quinceñera, if that was ok. Eager to see where this turn of events would take me, I jumped at the invitation. Luis Miguel began a lengthy speech about how much fun he had with me, but I stopped him with a besito on the cheek (an ode to Sandra Dee) and a "chau," before scurrying after Jenny wondering what else the night had in store for me.
When we walked in I immediately noticed how much more people were dressed up here than at the wedding. There were also cute little Thanksgiving-like decorations on the tables, a DJ, and kids on teh dancefloor playing with balloons that had apparently been dropped from nets strung from the ceiling. Immediately we were greeted by the birthday girl´s mother who was thrilled to have the maestra de ingles, of whome she had heard so much, at her daughter´s party. Within minutes we were seated, given our very own 3.1 liter of soda (mega-cola this time), and handed plates filled with rice, veggies, and some sort of meat.
I had bearly finished my plate of food when a cumbia started up and I was pulled onto the dancefloor by Lalo, Lizeth and Jenny´s dad as well as the town busdriver. I think this maneuver was partly so that their son, a shy 21-year-old totally under the thumb of his mother, woudln´t try to do so. But I didn´t care. Once up there, plenty of less-shy guys to dance with me. And dance we did! This party was even more happening than the wedding. Mostly dominated by a less-foghorn-happy form of reggatone, everyone was sweaty and happy and shaking it as much as they could. It was the closest I had gotten to an American-style party since I´d been in Costa Rica. That is until pom-poms and whistles were passed out and loud drumming was heard at the door.
I turned to look just as a procession of girls wearing belly dancer outfits and guys in what appeared to be brightly colored silk pjs made their way to the center of the room. The girls had whistles in their mouths and three of the guys were pounding on huge drums that hung from their necks. They were all gyrating wildly and seemed to invite the rest of us to do the same. I put my whistle to the side of my mouth like a cigar, held my pom pom in one hand, and somehow managed to figure out the dance steps. Before I knew it, I was pulled into the line of male dancers, swivelling and stomping to the beat, with the rest of the party cheering me on. Then there was a conga line and everyone jiggled through a human tunnel. We were breathless and sweaty, but hte beat of those drums now being flipped back and forth by their owners kept us all going. And suddenly, at what seemed to be the height of the frenzy, a whistle blew and the drums fell silent. Reggatone was turned back on, trying to keep the momentum going, but the spell had been broken. The drummers and bellydancers refreshed themselves with dixi cups of mega-cola and left. The rest of us, suddenly tired with aching feet, made our way back to our tables for our own dixi cups of cola. Only a few remained on the dance floor, half-heartedly swaying their hips tot he beat.
Just as I was beginning to catch my breath and stop the sweat pouring down my forehead, Jenny tapped me on the shoulder. Time to go. As we walked towards the door, I gave my pom pom to Lizeth for her pom pom bouquet and swung my purse. But I was stopped before we could quite make our exit. A tall young man, evne by US standards, asked if I wanted to dance. He was cute and it was merengue, bt it was time to leave. I was starting to make my apologies when I saw Lalo with an older woman guiding him around the dance floor. He gave me a little shrug and grinned. I looked up at my tall young man and smiled. Well, one more dance wouldn´t hurt.