15 January 2015

Postcard from San Juan: The Strange and Wonderful Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastian

I'm at the Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastian in San Juan, standing on the edge of a crowd grinding to some hard-core oontz-oontz electronica, when a guy in a green top hat offers me two little white capsules.

I take them.

Let's be clear: they're Tic Tacs. Or at least I'm pretty sure they are, because he dispenses them from the right container, and he's part of a group branded head-to-toe in the Tic Tac logo, and corporate guerrilla marketing is a common thing here.

But the fact remains, within minutes, I see some weird stuff. A shadow morphs into a bow-and-arrow-toting warrior. Don King appears in the crowd and so does and Elsa from "Frozen," toting a melted Olaf in a plastic bag, reduced to a pool of water, a carrot, and a couple of sticks. Stilt-walking spirits jam to roaming salsa bands, surrounded by cacophonous crowds. When the guy in a chicken mask walks by, I'm relieved by how normal he seems.

The streets are pools of light and competing waves of noise--bongos and "ONE OF US HAS TO STAY SOBER" and oontz-oontz-oontz--crushed into narrow, cobblestoned corridors. From the wrought-iron balcony above us, a woman who looks just like Dame Maggie Smith scowls down at us.

It's all so preposterous, so heady, that for a moment, I wonder, were those REALLY Tic Tacs?

Pretty sure. But I guess I can't be certain.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You know the drill: keep it civil and on-topic, don't spam, don't run with scissors, floss. For posts older than three weeks, comments will be moderated before publication.