Another Freitag, another Geburtstag. This time it was Rached (the one in the hat), who reached the milestone of age 20. Ever excitable, he hoped to get us all dancing for the occasion. “SiemussenheuteAbend tanzen. Siemussen. Siemussen.” He talks fast, is what I'm getting at.
Anyway, we began the evening with a Kölner tradition – open containers at the tram stop. Before too long we were wandering, somewhat aimlessly, toward a place to spend a few hours before midnight. Earlier that day, in class, we'd practiced giving general directions, so now it was all “Geradeaus!”, “Nächste Kreuze!” and “Gehen Sie links!”
Perhaps because we were an overwhelmingly Latin American group, we wound up in a Cuban-themed bar where a friend of Bruno's was working. Between Zülpicher Platz and the University there are a dizzying number of bars that at least represent themselves as Cuban. Lots of Che stencil work, portraits of Castro, sugar farming murals, etc. I'm told we have a large Cuban immigrant community here, but my presumption (admittedly, based on very little) is that Cuban expats would tend toward the anti-Castro, and so the prevalence of the “Cuba, si!” decor sorta baffles me. Kelly's theory, which I'm quite content to subscribe to, is that revolution chic is a reliable method for attracting die junge Leute. But I digress...
Our little Juan ordered a zombie. He didn't actually know what that was, but he'd heard of it. When it arrived, he found it too strong to drink, even after taking it back to the bar twice – once for more sugar, and a second time for more juice. All for the better, the last thing this kid needs is social lubricant.
Here are Bruno and Hugo, taking a break from their usual bickering which, conducted in Portuguese, I only come to understand much, much later.
This time we didn't neglect to catch Kelly in a picture. She's only smiling because she knows we'll be cleaning the stove in the morning. (And it sparkles, how it sparkles...)
Finally, here's Claudia and, again, Juanito (what is he, in every picture?).
After midnight began the debate of where best to fulfill all of Rached's dancing dreams. Inevitably, we splintered into factions. Hip-hop, Latin, rock, or oh-my-god-anything-but-hip-hop? A club with a cover or a pub with dancing? There was a lot of standing and shrugging, and I confess that Kelly and I played the old people card and went home to sleep. Rached and his cousin went on to a late night at Cent Club, where I'm willing to bet dozens of girls found themselves wearing Rached's hat (it already happened twice at the Cuban bar). Most of the rest of the group went on, I think, in search of Latin music. None of them, I'm betting, woke up Saturday as refreshed as I did.