My only skirt and some mascara on; I was ready for my first Toba wedding. Or so I thought– looking the part only gets you so far.
After the ceremony, the various grupos de danza, made up of women with long hair and skirts to match, took to the center of the outdoor church. The bride and groom led the pack around and around while a group of men shouted songs and played wooden flutes. One of these men approached my roommate and me an hour into the proceedings. “What are your names? Where are you from?” These were hardly unusual questions. We answered readily, smiling.
Suddenly we heard the “sisters from the estados unidos” being announced over the microphone. It was OUR turn to escort the newlyweds? Well, when in Formosa… I began trying to copy the rhythmic steps I had been watching the women do. The two of us shuffled and wiggled around, leading the crowd of wedding guests in two laps of dance, if you can call it that. When I lost the beat, I resorted to emulating the groom’s rhythmic jogging. Eventually we were free to laugh our way back into the group of spectators.
By the number of people who complimented me on my “dancing skills” today in the village, I am guessing that stories of gringas causing a scene at Toba weddings spread pretty quickly. And there weren’t even that many cameras.