Sunday, July 18, 2010

Save the Rave!

Of all the things that need saving at this moment in this world, I cannot honestly say the rave is one of them. It was a beautiful morning in ColOMbia all the same.

Hoffen is a friend of Sherm's friend Cata, and a member of my twice-weekly English class. She is in school for movie-making. Somehow she had all these free passes, and I ended up with 9 of them.

This made my Aussie pal Marli real happy. Like most Australians I've met, she digs on electronic dance music. Also, she had friends from home who had arrived just the day before; so, perfect.

After some hemming and hawing, hesitating and complaining about how much it was going to cost, I allowed the peer-pressure to wash over me like clean hot water on a cold night. I ran back to the apartment to get my bus pass. After procuring sufficient sustenance to last me through morning, I had no cash.

Save the Rave was held on a beautiful piece of property in Chia, which is almost an hour by bus North of Bogotá. Chia is a tranquil farming area in a verdant valley, cuddled under el Cordillera Oriental de los Andes. Obviously, the view was improved by the dawn, but we had many hours to go before concerning ourselves with such luxuries; first, we had to get there.

We = me, Lina our Loyal Local, Marli and her two friends from home, Beauden and his girl Alex.

There were rumors of a bus, a free bus picking up at Calle 85 y Kra 15. Lina was unsuccessful in several attempts to call the Help number given on the tickets for information about this potential bus.

Another Aussie friend of Marli's has an apartment "near" to the pick-up. I was imagining walking distance. But nope, hop out of the cab at Calle 50-something. Woop, but we're several hours late, and that group had just left for this bus we've been discussing.

Okay, no problem, new cab. Lina finally gets a hold of someone, and she says the arrival of the bus is imminent. Great! Vamos!

So we get out at the prescribed intersection, and there is a grocery store parking lot half-full of minglers, groups of individuals wandering around at 9:30 on a Saturday night. Marli called her friends from my phone but hung up before saying anything because there was only one other large group of gringos standing around on the edge of the parking lot.

Aussie dudes with Colombian girlfriends and long flowing locks of golden hair awaited the bus, and also us. We sipped on vodka and Coke for half an hour. Just as we were getting nervous, a big white school bus appears down 85th, heading West. Yes. Cross the street, nominal fee, and we're on board, basically there already.

This is Marli (on the left) and her friend Alex:

It was a lack of forethought that led to us finishing all of the alcohol before we even got on the bus. I would have taken some responsibility, but I wasn't drinking.

Okay, okay, so we get there, and understand immediately that we should have worn boots instead of valued sneakers. Earth plus Water makes Mud. Mud in the dark makes for very dirty shoes, and splotches of splatter half-way up my pants.

The music was on and off: interesting at times, enough to inspire some dancing, but overall very average. I don't know if it was due to issues with the equipment, but some of these DJ's were having trouble matching their beats on a very basic level. This led to choppy, incoherent transitions, eliminating any chance to create choral tension, much less let it drop.

The dance floor under the tent was uneven and covered in mud. The acoustics were better just outside the tent cone covering the stage. Plus Jupiter was huge in the sky! I spent several hours shuffling about, half-dancing and staring at the one star, in fact a planet, visible through the benevolent cloud-cover.

There were fire-pits scattered throughout the campground. We spent some time sitting near one such fire, on this log:

These here are the aforementioned Aussies and Irish with said Colombian girlfriend(s).

And then the sound system failed. The first time, there was about 10 minutes of silence. The second time it went down, we were treated to almost half an hour of morning sounds, complemented by the residual throbbing the hours of techno had installed in everyone's equilibrium. I was a trifle disappointed when the music sputtered to life again. The ambiance of a new day awakening outside the city felt far more in line with my sensibilities by the time 4 am came around.

So like I said, it was on and off.

I would like to take a moment now to discuss the ridiculousness of naming a party "Save the Rave". The party business is as booming now as it ever has been. People think the world is ending, and like Prince all they want to do is party. The rave is in no danger of dying. Extinction seems out of the question, if truly this percentage of teenagers are exposed to dangerously enticing pharmaceuticals, finding short and false jollies on what are essentially numbing agents. Brain-cell genocide, pushing the big red button and dropping chemical weapons on their brains. Why then, must this rave be saved? And from what (besides simple rhyming)?

But we had to laugh when the sound went off. Just imagine the headlines, like: "Music Dies at Save the Rave", or, "Pave the Rave: Who Kicked the Plug?". Is that irony?

Did I mention there were some teenagers there? They came and stood next to the tall, blond Alex and tried out their newest dance moves, experimenting with wing-flips and leg-kicks -- the evidence, I suspect, of having You-Tubed Michael Jackson or Justin Timberlake over and over.

Eventually the girls got cold and we skipped and stumbled toward the gate. Bad news: the bus that brought us will not be back until 7:30 in the am. Oops. Lina needs to be at work at the hostel at 8.

More information: the local buses start running at 5:30. It was then about 4:30. We can make it.

I passed the time staring in this direction:

As it tends to do, the time passed and soon there was sunlight, and Sunday traffic, and finally, a bus with "Bogota" posted in the window. I snagged a window seat right behind the driver and had a fantastic ride back to the outskirts of Bogota. I watched the sun rise over the Andes, bestowing light on the agrarian geometry of crops and fences, trotting dogs and horses.

The driver and his assistant refused to let me pay, finding it funny somehow when I tried to hand them my fare (2,000 pesos had magically appeared in my pocket). We got off at Portal Norte, and my bus pass was a Godsend. J95 brought us home to the Gold museum.

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