Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fet Gede

We got all dressed up in our black and purple to celebrate Gede, the loa or spirit of the crossroads or that junction between life and death. I knew Portsha had something planned for Sunday at the Malonga and then couldn't find the information and my search brought me a document that ended up being the Fet Gede for 2007, not 2008. I didn't notice that the dates were incorrect. I just saw Saturday and ancestor celebration and I was off--canceling plans to attend the Oakland Metropolitan Opera, a concert featuring KEM, even plans for a movie which I found out later this evening was I will just plan on skipping the Bee film everyone seems to be raving over.

So I go pick up one friend, wait for another and then we head in pouring rain to San Francisco. I must have really wanted to celebrate with my Haitian sisters and brothers. We get to the dance studio and don't hear any drumming, don't see any black people and wonder...hum, what's going on. I call my daughter and ask her to search the in-bo in my Gmail and give me Portsha's number. I leave a message, Portsha calls me back and tells me, I am looking at last year's press release. I'm like, oh heck what are we going to do--all dressed up and no where to go.

My two companions are hungry and one recalls a restaurant with a belly dancer. We call my daughter again. She does a search and finds Al Mansour, and away we head to Clement Street where I find I cannot eat anything because it all has black pepper in it, so I watch one friend enjoy one course after another, while the other one samples her wares.

I drink hot tea and enjoy the North African music until the belly dancer comes out and entertains the full room of guests. The waiter is abrupt and rude initially and then warms up. He even gives me a hug as we leave.

All I could think of was that he was nothing like Yassir Chadley, musician, Imam and friend--also Moroccan. We leave San Francisco headed for a dance spot. It's a dive so we head to Alameda for the Caribbean Island dance club. It's about midnight and the club closes at 2 a.m. A man leaving tells us the cover is $10. They charge me $15, even after I tell the man a patron told me $10. He charges me $30 because there are two of us, and then charges my friend, who is riding with me $10.

I don't understand; I'm not in Jamaican and if black people are going to charge some black people one price and others another price, then I'm not going to patronize them anymore.

The music so so...not all reggae, certainly not conscious and too expensive. The Shattuck Downlow and Ashkenaz is a lot better. The people treat you better to. The men didn't seem to understand "no," as in "No, I don't want to dance with you, I am perfectly fine by myself."

For the hour and a half we were there, I kept having to turn away from unwelcome intrusions. They even had the nerve to touch me. I'm like what the.... I'd heard such great things about this place too. I remember having a meeting there after work. I heard that years ago colleagues from College of Alameda would have parties there a lot. They serve food also. I don't know if they are under new management, but I will certainly inquire next week when I ask for my $10 refund, since I was overcharged.


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