The dancing gringas

On the Saturday before Halloween, Erica and I went down to the beach for a quick dip and to sip some gasolinas. The weather was erratic and the sun streaked through stormy rain clouds over the water. Odd rainbow colored glares illuminated the clouds in the sky and the water was rougher than usual. Yet the beach dogs were out and I mean like 15 and so were the Puerto Ricans. We went swimming and I was thinking to myself “this is why humans are stupid, because they go swimming when there is lightning and thunder out”. The lightning was far out over the ocean though so we figured we would be ok. Then it got windy and I got cold anyways so I got out to dry off before heading to Annie’s, the local bar on the water. Erica and I continued our bonding and drinking with a Cuba libres (rum and coke with a lime- the lime makes it a cuba libre). Erica is a total lightweight and it’s pretty hilarious. One gasolina and that girl’s ready to go!

Anyways we had a couple heart to hearts and I got to see more of where her demeanor comes from. She is a total sweetheart who definitely has been walked over by some friends for being such a nice person; I hope that she finds people in her life who are good for her. But back in El Combate…

During our chat I learned she did belly dancing in college, which is awesome because she has such an awkward white girl air to her but she does have rhythm. She told me she pushes herself to perform and do open-mic because she has always had a fear of crowds and the only way to get over it is to do those things- pretty amazing I think.

We bonded over our shared experiences on stage. We walked back home around 7 and saw some tables and DJ equipment being set up on a section of the street that was blocked off. I also saw some cowgirl drag costumes and we decided we needed to come back for the festivities later.

We got Leanne and Bonnie-may had a round of Silly Ani’s and headed to the Halloween block party. Before we went I decided I needed a costume. I was already wearing my America tee shirt from DG- it has “America” written on the front with a flag and on the back it says, “You know I like my chicken fried”. It is pretty red-necky and I topped it off with a pigeon feather in my hair and a rainbow Rambo bandana, pretty pathetic costume- I was like the gringa colonizing asshole.  

When we got to the block that was closed off for the celebration, there was a ring of Puerto Ricans ranging from 3 to 88 years old. There was an amazing avatar costume, the madhatter, a vampira, a clown and many more. The madhatter seemed like the ringleader and was dancing around with anyone who would dance. Most people just watched and I was itching to dance. I was also super nervous because NOONE was dancing. Erica and I decided we would get some liquid courage and then join the madhatter. We order some cheap and strong Cuba libres and hopped on the pavement to dance with the madhatter, who beaneath his painted white face and rosy cheeks was probably one of the kids dads. The DJ was blaring some old school Whitney and other great 90s jams, which I suddenly knew all the words to and was singing. So now here I was, the gringa, in the American t-shirt singing and dancing with the madhatter. I looked over at this grandma who just loved it, cracking up and watching us dance. Everyone seemed to be highly entertained, with their raised eyebrows and small smirks, that these two white girls were dancing in the circle of Puerto Ricans. After a few songs I called it quits and joined the outer circle where our landlords/neighbors ,Victor and Nidia, had shown up.

Then there was the costume contest. I was shocked the madhatter did not win his outfit was spot on. Instead Avatar came in first followed by some others including the vampira, some colonial looking man, a circus lady etc. During the costume contest a man in a white robe disrobed into his shiny gold banana hammock thong bikini and shook his junk in front of everyone, including the little kids all around, I was half shocked and half very amused.  

El Combate really came through with the costumes and I was pleasantly surprised and kind of regret wearing that America t-shirt but ce la vie.

Since that night I think Victor likes us more. The next day he goes, “you no drink today, but you drink last night” si Victor si.

A unique drink to PR, hard to find anything about PR that was unique


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