Thursday, December 16, 2010

we beach people gots culture

OK.  I wanted culture.

And I am getting culture -- wave after wave.

We are in the second day of the Melaque Festival de Mar
(Festival of the Sea).  (If you are interested in the festival itself, you can take a look at their well-designed web site.)

Thursday kicked off the festival with a parade that started in Melaque went through San Patricio, on to Villa Obregon, and back to the jardin in San Patricio.  Where these guys performed.  They are a police motorcycle unit with an interesting traffic-stopping technique.

I have attended many parades -- from Macy's Thanksgiving Parade to the Rose Festival Parade.  But the small town parades are my favorites.  And this could not have been much more small town than it was.  That is what made it fun.

Right from the start with the Army color guard who took their job of showing the colors very seriously.


And then there were the usual pickups ornamented with the festival court.  That is our queen at the top of this post.

But never underestimate the theater of the absurd when it comes to local parades.  One of my favorite floats was a tractor pulling a trailer filled with ladies of a certain weight huffing and puffing on their exercise bikes as if their very exertion of calories would keep the float moving.

Not to mention the cohort of school girls earnestly marching along in uniforms that must have come from the Russ Meyer costume department.  I just did not have the heart to post a photograph.

But I could not pass this one up.  At the very end of the parade was a group of scantily-clad teens riding the beach equivalent of unfettered liberty -- the ATV.  This is not the best shot I took.  But I love the look on the face of the young woman behind the "bunny."  I could keep a week's worth of blogs going merely by asking for captions.

And I would be in real trouble if I failed to post something about this group.  I have mentioned several times that Melaque does not have a large expatriate population.  What we do have, though, is heavily weighted to Canadians.  About 80% if you can believe local folklore.  Here they are -- "eh"-ing their way along the parade route.

And, for you women, who accuse me of having a bit of a sexist streak in the photographs I choose to publish.  Here is one for you.  Advertising a local restaurant.  Though I am not certain what is being served.

But nothing in Mexico can start without an official ceremony.  And Wednesday night pulled out all of the stops (as we say in the organ business) to get the festival on a roll.

The committee constructed a huge stage in the San Patricio jardin.  With enough sound equipment to satisfy an early Eagles fan.

Like every Mexican function, there was a long Politburo-style table to be filled with the local Importants.  And dignitaries there were.  Mayors.  Festival officials.  A professor.  The festival queen.  It was a cast to warm the heart of any sit-com producer. 

Following the speeches, the dignitaries took their places in the audience on chairs designed with the international design for important butts -- white draperies with colored bows.  I could not decipher if there was any distinction between the green, red, and gold ribbons.  Perhaps, by caliber of handgun.

The speeches were designed to recognize the cosmopolitan nature of the audience and its various currencies.  A good portion of the speeches were presented first in Spanish, and then in English.  And almost all of the recorded songs before the ceremony were in English -- right out of the Boomer play book.

The rest of the week is going to be filled with a variety of cultural and sporting events. 


A literary fair and book sale.  A skim board tournament.  Singers.  Folk dancers,.  Flamenco.  Lectures.  Beach football tournament.  Beach volleyball tournament.  Art exhibitions.  A children's orchestra.  Polynesian dancers.  A swim competition.  A symphonic band.  And a grand finale -- with awards.

We received a good taste on Wednesday night.  After all of the speeches, we were entertained by the indifferent talent of a Mexican instrumental octet and a series of Mexican folk dancers performing dances from various states.

I like the photograph below.  It was unexpectedly blurred.  But it symbolizes this festival to me.  A bit unexpected.  But still recognizable as art.


It certainly will not be mistaken for the Cervantes Festival in Guanajuato.

But it needn't be.  We beach people are happy to have this.


Anonymous said...

After reading your last post, I recommend your attendance at the Flamenco portion of the Festival De Mar.

Calypso said...

Looks like fun - you have to love the Mexican people's penchant for celebrating. Good photos amigo.

Islagringo said...

Sounds like fun! Big deal with the motorcycle. We have more people than that riding one motorscooter all the time! And I would definately want to check out the menu at that restaurant!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

The restaurant was serving beefcake...LOL


Anna said...

You got some great shots of the parade Steve- thanks for that because we were in the Canuck contingent and not in a position to take photos!

Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- I was thinking Polynesian may be more my style.

Calypso -- And a celebration it is. After about the seventh folk dance, I was ready for something else. But the audience was eating it up. And that is the whole point of this festival. To attract more pesos. Not to mention enjoying life.

Islagringo -- Who knew we had such local talent?

Theresa -- I suspect there will be patrons looking for the waiters instead of the pollo.

Anna -- I could not leave out the expatriates. After all, as a majority minority, you are carrying a lot of goodwill for all of us.

Irene said...

That looks like a Jimmy Buffett stage rather than The Eagles. Thanks for the parade pictures. They remind me of one of the best parades I ever attended, the Folklife Festival Parade in Bismarck, North Dakota. Every middle school in a 50 mile radius had a school band marching, every merchant in town had a float, including one of the local supermarkets which had a flatbed full of shopping carts! All of the spectators knew someone who was in the parade. The best part was the steel-drum band from the local university. That was the last thing I expected to see and hear in the middle of North Dakota.

Unknown said...

Love the photos, Steve. We gots culture here, too.

Steve Cotton said...

Irene -- It is funny you mention North Dakota. I was actually thinking of a specic parade in South Dakota when I wrote that piece. It is a region of home towns.

Laurie -- Yeah, but we gots lots and lots of beauty queens to spice ours up. (By the way, thanks for acknowledging my beach people lingo.)

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Ohhhh, maaaaaaan. I miss the beach! So much fun, what a good post and pics too! Put me right in the thick of it.
The beach gots culture, it's just that it's the only culture. And thats ok.
Cool parade.