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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MeridaFest 2017

This city knows how to throw itself a party. Every January, it holds free arts events every day for two weeks or so, in addition to the regular cultural celebrations that take place every day. One person cannot possibly attend them all, so I haven't tried, but those I have attended bring out a mix of people intent on enjoying both the event and their city.

The jazz night in a nearby park found a few hundred people sitting on uncomfortable (at least for people of my Norteamericana size and shape) folding chairs while a mixed group of Cubans and Mexicans gave a delightful high-energy performance. All the musicians, including the bass player, were featured, and the female singer demonstrated just how sexy a fully-clothed fortysomething woman can be, remaining almost stationary and using primarily her voice to convey longing.

Tonight I braved the Plaza Grande, and oh, my, what a show. The actual paid musicians were fine: a group of men of varying ages in bright blue jackets that reminded me of doo-wop singers; The Voices of Yucatan, striking in their pure-white outfits; and the final group, which I couldn't get close enough to see but which at one point involved a couple of young women in what looked like spangled majorette outfits. All the music involved lots of horns and seemed familiar to the crowds, as singing along happened a lot. Fog machines are popular with outdoor stages, leading to some interesting lighting effects.

But the real show was the crowds. Both of tonight's outdoor bands inspired dancing, with couples of all ages joining in whenever they could find two square feet of floor space. This was not easy.

Away from most of the dancing couples (it is a grand plaza, after all), children and adults were indulging in a variety of street food, browsing the dozens (hundreds?) of booths selling various items, perching on benches and walls, and generally enjoying themselves. The purveyors of glow-in-the-dark doohickeys that could go airborne for brief periods were doing a brisk business, as was the guy selling light sabers. Lots of bubbles were being blown, adding their little bit of magic to the night and the fog and the glowing whatevers.

A group of teenaged boys engaging in some rather alarming breakdancing added a daredevil element. And the backdrop to it all: some simply beautiful buildings.

Quite a party.

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