In my room, trying to work, but my mind is wandering, too much coffee with my Adobada tacos this evening.
This town is usually noisy, there are constantly events in the town center.Â Every Thursday night a brass band plays on the steps by the fountain, on most Friday or Saturday nights, there are people making noise, screaming together, laughing together.Â Most of the time I ignore it, and continue on with my work.
But tonight I needed to get out.
Through my front door, and down one block to the Central Cathedral.Â In the main square next to the Cathedral something is happening.
The square has four sides.
The east side is a government building, the wide double doors open and marked by three steps leading inside.Â The south side are five steps leading to the walkway along the edge of the Cathedral.Â On the west side are fifteen steps leading to the main street, where a couple tour buses are parked.Â The north side are three steps leading to a empty smaller square with a fountain.
The steps surrounding the square are full of people, and behind them stand the rest, patiently waiting for something to happen.
I lean against the stone wall of the cathedral and look into the wide empty expanse of the square.
The only thing there at the moment is a large square stage, set only three inches above the paving stones.
Some bad modern dance music blares for a moment -too loud- distorted through bad speakers.
The girls in the crowd whistle and cheer.
The music is abruptly cut off.
After a minute the music starts up again, not too loud this time, and two young ladies walk from the government building and out onto the stage.Â They are both wearing simple modern prom dresses, one black the other shimmering blue.Â But there is something not quite right.Â The girls of the crowd whistle and cheer, but the men are silent.
I watch the ladies dance, but they are not really dancing, they are awkwardly moving back and forth, walking up and down the stage.Â They move their hips in a jerky fashion, not fluid or comfortable at all.Â I have an instant cringe, I cringe for those on stage, in front of a crowd, and doing badly.
The two performers are too far away to see their faces, which are mostly covered by their long black hair, but I suddenly realize what’s going on, and that these badly dancing men don’t look all that bad in their dresses.
That has to be it, I think, but I can’t be completely sure, but then one of the performers walks off the stage towards the crowd, and the people scatter like a gunman is approaching.Â But not every one scatters.Â The ladies stay put, smiling and laughing and clapping.
A few of the ladies hold on to their struggling men, the men pull on their held arms, desperately trying to get away from these men in drag.
The crowd cheers.
The other performer heads in my direction and the collection of boys and young men scatter, grabbing onto each other and looking back in horror and laughter.Â Suddenly there is no one between me and the approaching dress, and I have a momentary panic, not that this man might pick me, but that I might be thrust out into the limelight.
But the performers are not picking people to join them on stage, just having a little fun torturing the boys.
Eventually the song ends, and the crowd erupts in cheers, and the men in their dresses disappear from the stage.
There is an announcement over the loudspeaker, and the people slowly stand up and exit the square down the main street or through the alleyways.
And I return to my little room.
To tell you this story.
The world is a beautiful and strange place.