Wednesday, March 10, 2010

hey, rube!

I can't remember where I first heard that aloha-like yell.

My memory fingers a childhood favorite book: Amigo. The story of a circus palomino. I do recall the book teaching me the appropriate funeral rites for a dead parakeet.

But that universal carny call for assistance popped into my head Monday afternoon.

noticed a carnival was setting up in the vacant lot behind the local school. Not one of your fancy Brazilian carnivals, mind you, with over-decorated floats and under-dressed women.

This was the type of carnival I remembered as a boy. The type of operation that would show up at the county fair.

Bottles to knock over with a baseball. Ring toss. Coin toss. Almost any way imaginable to toss pesos from rubes to carnies.

And the rides. All the way from tykes imagining they were motorcycle thugs to teens proving to their mates and girlfriends that macho is not merely a myth.

Up north we still have similar rides -- or vestiges of the same rides after they have been re-engineered in the hopes to limit trial lawyers to BMWs rather than Maseratis.

Not so in Mexico. The rides here are still fun because they feel dangerous. I saw one ride operator use a hammer to open the safety release bar. The entrapped teens simply laughed.

hen I stumbled onto the carnival on Monday afternoon. they were still setting up. I was a bit surprised to see this island of frivolity in the midst of Lent in a small Catholic village.

I asked one of the workers why they were there -- in my north-of-the-border journalist quest for facts.

He looked at me quizzically, and responded: "We are here because we are here." A Zen master could not have summed it all up better.

I later discovered the carnival is in town to help us celebrate the birthday of San Patricio's patron saint -- Saint Patrick. And the festivities started on Tuesday night.

But that will be a post for tomorrow -- taking a peek at how saints are celebrated in my small fishing village by the sea.

ntil then, I will leave you with this photograph:


Anonymous said...


that first picture instantly put a smile on my face-how could it not?
i can't help but wonder who's in the 2nd picture. an exhausted carnie after setting up perhaps? i love carnivals, especially the rides and food. i was never very good at the games.

have you ever been in mexico for semana santa? i know last year you arrived afterwards. the time leading up to easter, "domingo de pascua" at least in cuban spanish, will be very interesting. your quiet little village by the sea will be bustling with tourists, vendors and all kinds of activities. in chacala they have a transvestite show. chris and i attended when we were there doing our volunteer work 2 years ago and it was very interesting to see. those men really look beautiful in all their garb. i wonder what things of interest you will have there. i know you'll tell us all about it. can't wait to read those posts.

have a great day steve.


el jubilado said...

That carnie is fun. Went every year for four - usually with the kids. Fun to watch the bravado in ages from 3 to 10 and the rides they could - or thought they could handle.

What a relief to get away from the 5 minute 10-15 peso rides and head for the booth where the kids paint plaster figures for 45 minutes

You better try for a night shot of the castillos

Steve Cotton said...

Teresa -- Thank you. Yes, the second photograph is of a carny taking a nap of opportunity. It has a rather eerie accident look, though, doesn't it? I have not been here for semana santa, but I will this year unless I am in the highlands. I look forward to seeing the crowds.

El Jubilado -- I thoroughly enjoyed the carnival. I need to get back there in the next few days. I have some night shots of the castillos. I actually got shot last night by one of the rockets. I feel like part of the community, now.