Beach Party like its 1999

Perhaps if my school had organized more school outings like Havana University students’ beach party, I would have been more inclined to stay longer. Maybe this is an exportable model. It certainly looks like a lot of fun. Say what you want about Cuba, Cubans, the economic system etc. etc. but they certainly know how to party, how to relax, dance, have fun, and enjoy the summer.

The University of Havana has developed a new custom that has nothing to do with academic matters—in fact, it couldn’t be more different. This new “extra-curricular” activity, which is rapidly gaining in popularity, began on the last day of the European Football Cup. A group of fun-loving college students decided to organize a beach party where they could enjoy the beach and the sun, and at the same time watch the final on a portable TV set. The party was so successful among the students that since then it has become a monthly event held on one of the beaches on Havana’s coast.

Around 10 am, the first shorebirds begin to arrive carrying tents, dominos, balls, coolers, umbrellas, refreshments and food to get through the day. And of course a CD player. What party can go without music? The place slowly begins to fill and there is little room to walk. The party is held at a closed beach to avoid unpleasant and unwanted visitors that may spoil the fun. Admission is through tickets that are sold at the different faculties a week prior to the get-together. The people arrive in different forms of transportation: trucks, buses, cars, whatever gets them to the beach. By noon, the sand is filled with sun worshippers, dancing couples and others who simply like to take it easy and sip their refreshment of choice.

Those who are more athletic throw balls over the net in an attempt to play something that resembles volleyball. By this time, some are already feeling hungry and start taking out the supplies they brought from home. Others, however, prefer to buy their food (fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc) right on the beach.

The day flies by and by sunset, a band begins to play. The show includes dancers and competitions with the participation of the audience. By 7 pm, the effects of an entire day at the beach are evident in some people. The sun, the sea, the partying have made them drowsy and are sleeping on the sand, their faces red as tomatoes, and oblivious to the roar of the multitude around them.

One good thing about this beach party is that most of the people know each other or have at least crossed each other’s path sometime or another at the university campus. There’s a flow of positive energy thanks to the healthy recreation.

More and more young people join the dancing. Come to think of it, the name “beach party” is almost an excuse to hold this large outdoor party. Not many people actually bathe. Most of them just want to hang out with their friends in a pleasant and safe atmosphere.

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