I was considering taking a walking tour of Antigua today with Elizabeth Bell. She´s a well known character around here and knows everything about Antigua apparently. In the end I decided I would rather have my last Saturday to myself and not be "trapped" in a tour - even if it was good.
I went to the market and got the prize for the contest as well as a few other regalos.
I was leaving the market and as I came to the end of a block I heard the sound of drums. I love drums. If I hear a marching band, drum line, any sort of drumming, everything else in the world disappears. I came around the corner and saw a marching band coming up the street.
There were three girls dancing in the front, followed by guys with snare drums, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, other horns, xylophones, different unidentifiable percussion instruments, and bass drums (I think that´s what they are - the big ones!)
I took a video of them and as they passed I saw there was a great crowd of people with banners following them. Well, I couldn´t help myself - because of the drums - so I joined them! I walked with this random group of people, following the marching band, through the streets of Antigua for an hour and a half!
The parade spectators sort of appeared about a block ahead of us as we went and either joined or wandered off as we passed. Every few minutes the sound of the band was joined by the sound of car alarms, since the loud drums set them off.
A little boy became very interested in the band and started following closely. He was probably 5 or 6 and wearing a bright green striped shirt. His father tried to stop him but the band members encouraged him. For perhaps half an hour he walked along with the band, completely enthralled by the drums and brass instruments. One of the drummers gave him a drum stick so he could beat the big drums. Then later a trumpet player gave the little boy his trumpet and the little boy tried to play it. The trumpet was almost as big as this kid!
The parade of people was led by several people holding a big banner - which I never got a chance to read. Leading the pack in front of the banner was this crazy old lady. She looked to be 80 years old, about 4 1/2 feet tall, very wrinkly, and hardly any teeth. She was wearing a bright orange t-shirt, shiny black work-out pants, high heels, and a big floppy blue hat and carrying a big umbrella. Her grey-brown hair was tied back. When the music really got going she was a dancing maniac - twisting and shaking and shimying (is that even a word?) and sometimes some really risqué looking dancing. After a bout of dancing, she would bow and blow kisses to the crowd, turn to us behind her and shout out something and everyone in the people parade shouted back and blew whistles and laughed.
As we got close to Parqué Central two women started talking to me. They asked if I lived in Antigua. I said no I was just here for six weeks. They wondered if I was alone. I said yes, my novio is in Seattle. When I told them I was getting married they asked if they could come! They were being a bit silly I think. They told me that this was a big event put on by the government or perhaps it´s an election rally; I´m really not sure. When we got the Park there were tons of tents set up and stages with people singing - a huge fiesta!
Well, this was all before lunch. We´ll see what the rest of the day brings...