There was much hype around Monday's Nuestra Noche and it was billed as the "do not miss" event of the week. It was held in the old Cuban section of Tampa called Ybor (pronounced E-bore) at the historic Cuban Club. Originally the party was scheduled to be held from 10pm to 2am after Monday's opening session. We were relieved when they moved up the start time to 8pm when Monday's convention business was cancelled because of hurricane Isaac.
We picked up our tickets from the Cuban Club on Monday morning when we visited Ybor so when we arrived that night with credentials in hand we were ushered right upstairs and encountered the tightest mob of people you can imagine. We waded into the mass and quickly determined that staking out a bubble of space would be essential to survival. The pounding Latin music, flashing strobe lights and Cuban sliders added to the Latin-inspired flavor. The fire marshalls closed off admittance soon after we arrived which created loooong lines of guests waiting for people to leave so they could get in.
We were expecting visits from Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Suzanna Martinez and other notables but the suffocating crowds made us wonder if it was worth the wait, especially when we also possessed an invitation to a reception with RNC Chair Reince Priebus. We could only take so much and upon hearing word that Marco would be arriving late we decided to head out. No sooner had we left when we saw from twitter that Rubio had indeed made an appearance and wowed the crowd. Oh well, meeting Reince Priebus, his mother and sister turned out to be a sweet highlight.
On the way into the Cuban Club we encountered...
Code Pink protesters who turned out to be paid professional agitators. They expressed their unhappiness with "corporate greed" but obviously they didn't realize the Democrat convention doesn't start until next week :-)
Wall to wall at the Cuban Club
Safe in our little "bubble of trouble"
On the way out I spied one of my favorite journalists Byron York, waiting in line like an average Joe
Jeff, Fredi and Mr. RNC, Reince Priebus
Cool cats in fedoras
Fedoras, Miami Vice linen suits and seersucker were VERY popular among the men in Tampa.