I am sure you are all anxiously awaiting the next chapter of “As The Baton Twirls”. I shall not disappoint.
Today was the 3rd parade in 3 days. We knew it was going to be different because it was out of town. It was located in a small town about 30 minutes away, just outside of the bigger town of Las Tablas. That was the full extent of our knowledge about this parade as well as where this town was located.
Candace, Melanie (Candace’s older daughter) and I dropped the girls off at school at 7:30 and we hit the road a little while later. We ended up catching up with the busses and driving right behind them. But they kept stopping along the way to pick up other kids so at some point we decided to go on ahead and meet them in the town. That was our first mistake.
As we got closer to the town we decided to ask our navigational app, Waze, to direct us. Waze got us in the general direction but it took us down a dirt road to a pasture. We figured there was probably no parade there. We turned around and asked two policia who were standing around on a corner. They sent us back in the direction we came, completely opposite of where Waze told us to go. They told us to go back to the main road and ask someone else and they would direct us. I have previous experience asking for directions. I am a pro.
So then we ask a shopkeeper washing her window and she directs us back to exactly the same area where we talked to the policia. So we went that direction and along the way we asked an old man on the side of the road. He agreed with the shopkeeper so we kept going. Then we asked some guys working on some cars and they said it was in that same general area so we kept going. Then we asked a young man walking along the road. He pointed in the direction he was walking and he said it was that way. He said he was going there too. You know what happens next, right?
We made him get in our car.
We learned that his name was Victor. He was 18 and his sister was going to be in the parade. As we continued to drive for awhile we asked if he had been planning to walk that whole way. He said he was going to take a taxi. We were so happy that we could give Victor a ride and in exchange he could get us to the parade. Indeed, he fulfilled his duties nicely and even helped us find a place to park.
We quickly noticed that we are not in Pedasi anymore, Toto. This place was PACKED with bands. We noticed all the people walking toward the parade carrying chairs. I guess that should have clued us in that this one was long. Not necessarily in distance but in terms of the number of bands.
We found the girls and helped them get ready, including getting them some meat on a stick to keep up their energy. While we were waiting we got to check out all the other schools’ uniforms. It was so interesting to see their color and style choices. Our beige and blue seemed rather plain next to some of the bright pink, greens and purples. I think there were probably 20 or 25 other schools there. It was crazy.
Have I mentioned the weather? Oh, it was hot. So hot. Ridiculously hot. But so it goes. We should be used to this by now. But that does not make it any more comfortable.
So the parade got started and thankfully our school was very close to the front. We sent the girls off, gave them some gatorade about a block into it and then we waited for them to come back around. There were more crowds today, it wasn’t possible to walk along with them. I will admit that I worried a bit about how they were doing with the heat, but I knew that Zoe’s teacher adores her and if Zoe passed out, surely her teacher would be there to assist. Oh, and there were about 5 kids from our school on “safety brigade” who were pulling coolers of water and gatorade for the paraders. Clearly they’ve done this before.
Candace, Melanie and I found a tent that looked like it had been set up for someone special but we took residence in the shade and waited for the parade to come back to the start. We finally saw them coming down the street but right in front of our tent was where the bands did their best performance in front of some dignitaries on the other side of the street. So the parade moved very very slowly at this point and the other bands were forced to just stand there in the sun. I started to see a few girls in other bands becoming sick from the heat so we were glad when the parade finally started moving again and soon our kids were done.
We got permission to take the girls home with us instead of sending them on the bus and we were anxious to get going. Candace and I started to gather up uniform pieces and batons and hats. We turned around and saw Ashley and Zoe participating in a sack race in the park. Are you kidding me? They’ve been standing or walking in the hot sun for the last several hours, they are finally free to go home and they participate in a sack race???? Yep. And Ashley even wins her race and gets a prize.
It wasn’t enough to do a sack race, they had to stay for the lemon-on-a-spoon game as well as the last one, where you had to hold a chocolate coin between your and your partner’s head. You were paired up with someone of your height so Zoe was requested to rejoin the game and be the partner of a boy she competed with for the sack race. At this point I had a fleeting thought of lice being transmitted but what do you do, the boy needed a chocolate coin partner!
Candace and I finally got the girls to leave by promising them ice cream. We went to Las Tablas and had a nice lunch (although still sweating profusely at the restaurant with no AC), got a few groceries and headed home. As soon as we got home the girls went to the square for their promised ice cream and proceeded to play outside for about an hour. Honestly we think someone spiked their drink, how can they have this much energy???
But all’s well that ends well. We are now back home, freshly showered, Marta is cooking and there is NO DISCO tonight. Es bueno. Muy bueno.