Ruben Blades

By gregebersole

December 31, 2010

Category: Travel

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Wednesday afternoon, I went with my friend, Liceth, to the Ruben Blades concert at the huge soccer stadium near the town of Palmira. We took a small bus to the bus terminal in Cali, then got on a bus to Palmira. It dropped us off at an overpass near the stadium. We crossed the highway, then walked along side it to the dirt road heading back to the stadium. It was powdery dirt. There were motorcycles waiting to provide transport to people. The two of us hopped on behind the driver of one and we rode to the stadium. At 5:30 p.m., there were already a lot of people filling the place. We found seats quite a ways up. At about 7 p.m., the show started. The concert featured many bands, two at a time on a revolving stage. After one band played a song, the stage revolved and the second band played a song. The first groups played vallenato music, romantic ballads. Lots of accordian. It reminds me a little of Mexican ballad music. I like the music. The crowd loved it and sang along to nearly every song. The salsa groups that played included, Grupo Niche from Colombia and El Gran Combo from Puerto Rico, among others. The show was supposed to end at 5 a.m. I was afraid Blades would play at 4 a.m. He didn’t. He started about 11:30 p.m. or close to midnight and played for about an hour an a half. He was very good. Many in the audience didn’t know some of his songs, perhaps newer pieces. During one they whistled loudly, showing they didn’t like it. Some who were sitting in the expensive chairs in front, were standing with their backs to him. Then, on the next song, they knew it and liked it and were standing, singing and dancing to it. We left the concert about 1:30 a.m. There were no buses running, of course. Lots of taxis were waiting. Liceth kept asking the drivers how much they were charging to Cali. They almost all said 60,000 pesos, or $30. It was a seller’s market. They could charge whatever they wanted and get it. There was no other way to get back to Cali. Eventually, we saw a taxi just coming up the road to the stadium. We checked his price and he said 40,000 pesos, or $20. We took it. He hadn’t had a chance to compare notes with the other drivers on what they were charging. He drove extremely fast and we were in Cali in no time. Liceth is a good person to speak Spanish with. She knows some English and can explain something that I don’t understand or know how to say in Spanish. One afternoon, we spent 3 hours in the park, speaking mainly Spanish. It really helps me out to use it so much. I try not to speak English hardly at all any more.

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