Monday, September 30, 2013
what happens in san miguel de allende -- ends up here
I have finally concluded that San Miguel de Allende is both Disneyland and Las Vegas. The worst of one and the best of the other.
Sunday was a big parade day. I arrived just as it was starting. And when you arrive late for a parade, you get the leftovers. For me, it was the equivalent of the neck and back of the holiday bird.
My attention meter was low when I saw an opening where I could point and shoot between heads, caps, and umbrellas. I knew you would understand.
I quickly discovered, though, why there was the semblance of a view. I was right behind the dehydration station. When I could get a shot, the participants would inevitably have a juice bag and straw obscuring their faces. But I decided to stick it out. After all, I was getting a few good shots.
Like this velvet painting come to life.
Or this shot. I like the character in this woman's face. Even with her water bottle.
You know how much I like humor. Especially,if it verges on the inappropriate. But this is one of my favorites. For anyone north of the Rio Bravo, it brings back images of those John Ford westerns.
I had finally accepted my limited shooting range -- until a little boy, who obviously concluded I had not moved quickly enough out of his way, bit me on the calf. I was out of there to play the Ugly Photographer role.
You know the person I mean. They get out into the parade route and hog the view. Up north, a policeman would have put me behind the rope. But this is Mexico.
As I made my way walking upstream, I encountered a tribe of trolls. I wish I knew more about the various Indian tribes. The best I can give you is truncated analogies. More first plane photographs.
I believe these costumed dancers represent an historical throw-back to the days when Mexicans celebrated their Spanish heritage. It would be the equivalent of a group in an American parade dressing up in knee breeches and dancing an English minuet.
We spend so much time ladling disdain on the Spanish Conquest that we often forget the Spanish were just one more tribe that invaded Mexico. The tribes that were here spent a lot of time striking terror into their neighbors.
Thus the war paint and ferocious looks. And the parade participants were great in their roles.
There were several groups that featured the historical divide within tribes. Such as, the Indians who fought on behalf of the conquerors and their successors, and those who resisted.
This group would occasionally put on mock battles between the two groups. But why the French flag? Perhaps a reflection of Mexico's Second Empire.
Even though Mexican children seem to be well-attuned to laughing at death, this fellow sent children screaming back to their parents. The devil in priestly garb. I suspect there is a self-negating Revolution motif going on here.
Some of the Indians were dressed in costumes that were colorful, but well out of my knowledge range. The Big Book of Things Steve Does Not Know has a full blank chapter on Indian lore.
Some of the participants simply went a bit too far. This death character was contrived enough to reduce himself to caricature. But this a parade -- not Shakespeare.
And, of course, there have to be little Indians.
The parade may have been over, but the performance was not. The Parroquia had been decorated with traditional Indian panels.
In front of the church, one Indian group danced. The Veracruz dancers climbed their pole and twirled to the ground. And each tribe took turns performing in front of the jardin.
I can honestly say I am paraded out. I was even too tired to rejoin the crowd in the jardin Sunday evening for what must have been an outstanding fireworks display.
So, it is a good time for me to exit stage right and head back to the pounding surf of Melaque.
The past three weeks have been great. I have left less money behind than if I had gone to Disneyland. And if I had gone to Las Vegas, there would have been nothing to stay there -- because you have seen it all here in Mexpatriate.
See you back at the beach.