April 6, 2009

Semana Santa

Yesterday we went to the beach at Santa Inez. As we drove out of town there were several indigeous women, sitting in front of the church making palm crosses. It was a really great Kodak moment but my camera wasn't ready. The beach was really deserted. There were miles and miles of beach just all to ourselves. Other times we’ve seen one or two couples off at a distance. You can't imagine how lovely it is to have such a beautiful beach and no one else to share it with. We discussed the possibility of spending our anniversary night next week by camping there, however it is very hard to gauge two important aspects: how strong the wind might be blowing the sand on that day; and whether there will be lots of drunk Mexican campers crowding the beach with boom boxes and fireworks.

The wind blowing the sand can be pretty unpleasant and there is no way to get away from it or minimize the grit in the face effect when the wind is up. Yesterday we finally went up in the dunes to get a little protection from the wind so that our tuna salad wouldn't have that special crunch that only sand can add to it. The trouble with the dunes is the stickers and cactus, once you become dune protected you are right up where the cactus are growing and they are seriously prickly. We encountered some nasty very large stickers that attached themselves to Dash and our blanket. I sure wouldn't want to experience stepping on one. You would never get all the spines out of your foot. Finally the sand and wind found us in the dunes as well, so we left. It’s a good thing as I got home I was fairly burned and would probably have been a crispy critter in just a little more time. That wind hides the feeling of all the sun that you are getting.

The drunk Mexican campers is directly correlated to the fact that the next two weeks are the time that most Baja Mexicans take off for Semana Santa (Easter) holidays. We are told by those in the know that it is best to stay clear of the beaches then just for sheer noise and rowdiness. Apparently these are not the locals but visitors from Tijuana and northern Baja. We don’t know if anyone goes to Santa Inez during this period or whether they head farther south to Bahia Concepcion, an idylic bay surrounded by 4 or 5 white sand beaches close together with easy access from the highway. We certainly saw a good 100 cars passing us going south on the highway, fully loaded up with vacation gear and full carloads of people. None of them were turning into the road to Santa Inez, but they’ve got the next few days to take over that beach too.

When we got back to the house we were sitting in our bedroom and heard an odd chanting clacking noise from the street. It was not identifiable, so Esperando went out to see what it was and called me to come look. Apparently as part of Semana Santa the Yaqui Indians (and other repentant Catholic persons) have a sort of penitente celebration where they dress in costume and wear masks with deer or other animal heads or even devil or witch heads. They have on a girdle of jingle bells, and carry a stick in one hand and a machete in the other which they clack together repetitively as the walk along chanting. Some of them parade in groups of 10 or so downtown, but the main event is at a stadium near town where they have a whole assemblage. I found a youtube.com video of the event from last year

This morning we went early into town to run some errands and saw the church had been all decorated up with palm fronds and crosses. The Navy is out on the pier practicing maritime music with bugles and drums--so I guess maybe we have a parade coming too. This week promises to be interesting.

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