Carneval....I just don't get it
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
48Trip End Nov 07, 2007
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Our tale begins when some friends of mine in Pimentel invited me to go with them for 100 pesos on a bus they had rented out from the University to go to La Vega, where the big Carnaval was held each year. I didn't go last year, and knew that this would be an opportunity of a lifetime. And all for 100 pesos! First of all, it should be guessed that any type of transport for 100 pesos will not be a first-class affair. After having three niņos piled begrudgingly upon my lap, and having less room than would alow me to move my pinky for a two hour bus ride with riders all singing as loud as possible to every popular tune on the radio, off to Carnaval we went
What was I expecting out of Carnaval? What did I receive? Let's see a comparison:
What I was expecting: Beautiful costumes, rich with the Dominican culture, some entertainment and dancing from the marcaros or those demon-looking creatures, good food hand-made by vendors and all sorts of spectacular eye-catching action
What I got: A bunch of people in beautiful costumes, parading and running down the streets, beating the crap out of every woman's backside with a cow bladder (which is actually now a nerf-type empty thick rubber ball decorated, but still hurts like hell!), being trampled mercilessly by people trying to avoid these overgrown jerks beating them, and tons of little brats with said cow bladders who were thrilled at the idea of being able to hit adults and pay no consequences, where the only food was popcorn being sold by street vendors.
I would forgive the purple backside I went home with if there had been some sort of rich tradition associated with such brutality...perhaps the Dominican people were demonstrating their anger toward the Spaniards for enslaving them; perhaps they were "conquering" dictatorship of Trujillo with every smack to the a** of every unsuspecting person. However, when I inquired about the history of such a tradition, the only answer I received from everyone was "Yo no se. Eso es Carnaval!" I don't know. That's just Carnaval!
Some of my friends went back the following weekend and I counted myself out. They returned, showing me their purple marks of battle proudly, lowering their much-too-tight pants. Congratulations was all I could think of giving, becuase in my mind, I was still baffled. But hey, at least I got to say that I went, right?