Monday, July 4, 2011

Fete de la Musique: Dancing in the Streets!

Some considerable awesomeness has occurred over the past two weeks.  Allow me to recap.  I’ll just do one a day until I feel that I have sufficiently expressed the occurrences in question which have made for awesome times.

Awesomeness #1: Fete de la Musique

One June 21st every year, there is a huge festival through all of France to celebrate the first official day of summer.  Every city in France has music & bands playing in the street, and people are everywhere.  I’ve been in France two other times for Fete de la Musique, once in Normandy, and once in the south of France. 

This was my first Fete in Paris, and Fat Tire always organizes a big group ride throughout the city because it’s one of 3 times per year when we are closed for the night (because the streets are too full of people to have any tours), and therefore, everyone is off work at the same time.

A group of us rode straight from work 30 minutes north to one of the guides’ apartments where we were all meeting to hang out before starting the ride around 9:30pm.  Costumes were encouraged.  My two favorites were our manager, Graham, in full band conductor attire, and another girl, Suz, with a huge blonde afro.    

My favorite stop on the ride was the dancing stop.  

We spent a good couple hours here dancing in the streets to Latin music, and every time a car would try to come through, people would dance all over it until finally, someone was kind enough to clear the way (while dancing of course).  There would be some sort of booty shaking maneuver signaling that the car could go to the right following the direction of their hip shakes.  I mean the poor cars. 

Look, here is one of our tour guides, Brian, sliding down the front of the car’s hood, for crying outloud. 

And then as soon as they’d finally make it through, people would jump on the back of the car and dance all the way behind it…it looked like that end scene from Dirty Dancing, everyone just dancing the car goodbye, as if we all knew the same dance.  Sometimes people jumped on the back of the bumper and rode the vehicle away for a while.  I often danced it goodbye with a good old fashioned lasso move.  It’s really conducive for moving forward while also getting your dance on. I think you know what I’m talking about.

Since this was by far my favorite stop on the ride through town, I detested myself for bringing my backpack with me rather than leaving it at work.  One truly can’t dance to one’s full capacity with a giganto backpack of bricks.  But I did what I could.  It was a blast!!

It doesn't get much better than this random French guy, who could not be making a more perfect face.  Oh how I love it.  "Gee, I'm having a lot of fun, Kristin, but if only we could get a picture w/ a young French guy making a swarmy face...oh perfect!"

My other favorite part was when we were riding through town, 25-strong taking up the street, and a bar up ahead was blasting “Empire State of Mind”, so we all hit the brakes, pulled over, jumped off our bikes for a quick dance party, then continued on our way.  Let’s hear it for New York.

I was extremely thankful that I made it through that ride without any crashes, since there were lots in our group who crashed or fell off bikes in the mayhem…one person fell on the street into the oncoming traffic lane when he bumped into the bike in front of him, another went flying over his handlebars, and another slid on the slick pavement after it started raining, and another two I didn’t see ended in a broken elbow for one and 5 stitches in the chin for the other.  Ugh.  It rained on me as I rode home at 3am, but that’s survivable.

You know what’s a great combo??  Working a full day, going straight to a late night festival, getting 4 hours of sleep, and then being at work at 8:30am for another 12 hour day.  I'm not in college anymore, folks.  I need my sleep!!  It was really fun, though, so I’m glad I surpassed my inner grandma and stayed out late.  I LOVE DANCING!!  And if it's in the streets of Paris, all the better.

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