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Sunday, July 18, 2010

A parade, a spectacle under the chapiteau, a cabaret

It's Sunday morning, the third day of the 10 days of festivities. The first night featured all the European groups, in a 4 hour long performance. I had managed to find a seat in the third row, after moving up close just to take some pictures. The groups include Slovakia, Albania, Khazistan, the Canary Islands, 2 different French groups, and more. Most feature both singing, dancing, and live musicians. The Albanians are just 4 singers, a woman and three men, who sing in a strange, monotonal drone. I wasn't too enthralled at first, and am sure most of at least my group wasn't, but it did begin to grow on me. Very hypnotic.

Some of the groups include children, some are just children, some are all youngish adults, some have quite a mixture of ages. I find them all pretty wonderful.

Yesterday there was a parade through the downtown streets, which was exhilarating. It seemed like the whole town of 6000 turned out. This must be such an amazing event for them. It's a pretty quiet town, then two weeks of intensity and people from all over the world. During the parade each group stopped multiple times and performed, not just a brief hint but a full dance. I was at the beginning of the parade, and then walked forward so saw some of the groups several times.

Last night was another show under the big tent, including all the groups. I stayed until 11pm, then headed over to the cabaret, where different groups perform each night, until 3am. I lasted until about 1;30 am, I think most of our group stayed until the end. It was really phenomenal, watching first the Brazilians, then the Irish band, play, with everyone from people in their own group to dancers from the other groups to local folks of all ages, kids, teens, older adults. There were GAnnatian (?) teenagers moonwalking to Brazilian music, South African kids doing breakdancing to Irish music, little local kids running around in circles, people doing the polka, etc, etc. One of our groups tasks is working at the cabaret, and my shift is tomorrow. I signed up for it, but am having second thoughts. It's not so much the hours, but it's very noisy and I don't know if I'll be able to hear and understand to take orders. But Dominika and Harold looked awfully cute walking around with their trays last night!

My job yesterday was to work at the restaurant. Lina, our 16 year old German volunteer with blond dreadlocks, and I spent about an hour cutting up carrots, and ten another three hours cutting up onions. Quite fortuitously, I had put in my contact lenses that morning for only the first time, and had no trouble with the onions. It really does make a difference. Lina, on the other hand, had tears running down her cheeks the whole time. Our veggies went into couscous and a couple of other African dishes. Helene is the queen of the kitchen, and quite the character. She is half Nigerian, half Togo, but I believe she lives here. She rules the kitchen, but quite benevolently.

I have much more to tell, about our meals with the performers, my trash detail this morning, my new friends the South African kids, etc. but it will have to wait because one of the staff just arrived to claim the computer. A bientot!

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