Even though we have a year round pretty even temperature, Summer here is special. There is so much going on that at times it makes me dizzy, and far too much to keep track of!
Last night and to night were typical examples!
Last night as I parked up at the end of my street, I heard what has become to me the unmistakable sound of Senegalese drumming. Puzzled, I jumped out of the car and pottered over to the village square, where I could see a little crowd had gathered, and sure enough on the small stage there was a Senegalese band, just starting up. I decided to watch for a while, despite the tub of Ben and Jerry’s in my bag. This music is just so evocative, so rich and comes from the soul. I’ve seen this band before, and I was annoyed that I didn’t know about this performance so I could have invited friends over! They do the range of music from its origins to present day, with dancers demonstrating traditional and modern dances. In Senegal tradition dictates that the audience participate, so I was thrilled to see a young friend jump up onto the stage. Abdul Aziz is a terrific dancer, better than the professionals, in fact. When he jumped down he spotted me and came rushing over. I haven’t seen him in ages so it was great. Then someone else rushed over, and I realized it was Carolina, who I thought was in Guatemala. She just came back from teaching there, so it was so nice to renew that acquaintance again. So, I pottered home eventually with melted Cookie Dough, but a wide smile on my face.
Tonight held yet more surprises. Helen and I had tickets to see “Hamlet” in the Teatro Guimerá in Santa Cruz, and we decided to go a little early to take at look at the revamped main square, La Plaza de España, which was reopened to the public after being boarded up for months and months. We were delightfully surprised by effect. What had been a traffic snarled and rather outdated area has been transformed into a very pleasant open space, which invites you to wander and linger. The center piece is a pool, which resembles a shallow lake with white sand. The sand is only concrete, but very effective, and when we arrived kids were cavorting in the water. On a hot, hot evening it all looked very cool and fun. Just before 7 the police ordered the children out of the water, and a quite spectacular water spout rose to an amazing height from the middle of the pool. We had a sandwich in a street cafe and watched the fun.
“Hamlet” was excellent. Rather a shock to this English system to see a favorite and well known work in Spanish. I couldn’t comment on how the translation worked, because I will never speak Spanish well enough to be able to appreciate the equivalent of Shakespearian English. My impression was that they didn’t try to do that. Some scenes were cut or shortened, but this must be a touring production, so not a surprise. Juan Diego Botto as Hamlet was interesting. I felt none of the ambivalence I often feel about this character. One moment I am so in sympathy with him usually, and the next I am thinking “What a wuss”. But Botto played him as more macho, with a plan, not so haunted. Claudio and Gertrude were good, solid, conventional performances, and Ophelia was her usual, irritating self, so I guess they were all par for the course. We were in the “gods”, money being tight at the end of the month (not to mention a little treat I have in store for tomorrow), so we came out with aching knees and necks! But well worth it!
As we walked from the cafe to the theatre we came across this little band being escorted by the police
We did wonder why they deserved a police escort, but as we walked further on we came across this group, and my favorite street, Calle Noria, lined with folding chairs.
It was then that I remembered reading in a local paper about a re-enactment of the abortive English bid to capture Santa Cruz led by Horatio Nelson in 1797, and we had walked right into the middle of it! Why does everything happen at once we wondered, but hurried off to the theater. To our delight, when we emerged it wasn’t all over, the British were making their last stand in the square just adjoining the theater! So we stopped to watch for a while. Lots of old muskets being fired, and guys rushing about in superb costumes. I’m kind of glad that England lost though. I love Santa Cruz just the way it is!
Here’s a link for history buffs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Santa_Cruz_de_Tenerife_(1797)
So, here I sit, an iced Jack Daniels sliding smoothly down my throat, the waves lapping the little beach opposite (for a change the bar downstairs is quiet), listening to Jammu Africa, and feeling most mellow. If I tell you that tomorrow I am going to see Mario Vargas Llosa peform his interpretation of A Thousand and One Nights will you be jealous?? Sometimes there is just toooo much!