Saturday, October 07, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
Free Caravan to la Penita Nayarit
La Peñita de Jaltemba Semana Santa 2006
By Dorothy Bell
Semana Santa is celebrated in much of the Catholic World as the week leading up to Easter. In Mexico there are well known plays and processions, however for most Mexicans this one week holiday means a time for a family vacation and for many, an opportunity to bake on the sandy beaches. It creates an explosion of people that move from central towns and cities to the waves of the Pacific in cars and buses to rent a bungalow or erect a tent on a beach or campground.
We are staying in the La Peñita RV Park in the town of La Peñita de Jaltemba on the Pacific Coast. It is a working Mexican town that acts as a supply base for other towns that cater to a mainly Mexican tourist base. It is not glitzy or glamorous and the nearest SR. Frogs or McDonalds is some 40 miles south in Puerto Vallarta - a culture away. The population of La Peñita and the neighboring communities is only a paltry 20,000 people.
All things change during Semana Santa. The population explodes and every bungalow and available room is rented for top drawer prices. A room in a local hotel that normally rents for $15 per person now rents for $45. Food prices in restaurants increase and everyone that has something to sell, is on the beaches and streets selling it. Musical groups invade the streets and restaurants, some with a xylophone, large stand up bass, horns or drums. As the population and vendors ranks swell, so do the aromas, conflicting sounds and bustle of celebrating families throughout the streets.
Most of the Norte Americanos have returned to their homes and only a small handful of expats and late returnees linger. It is a Mexican holiday feared by the snowbird and RVer alike. There were only 5 RVs in this particular park at the beginning of the celebration. In February there were 100.
George Aceves, owner of the Hotel California believes that it is the increase in music, noise and traffic that drive the “older” RVer and Snowbird home. “They just can’t take it” he says as we share a coffee on the main street. And I agree that the average gringo tourist just doesn’t get the joy of Semana Santa. The noises are “annoying,” the crowds are “inconvenient” and the traffic is “horrible.” And while Semana Santa is all that, it is also the celebration of all things Mexican. Faith. Family. Friends. Culture.
This particular holiday, our family was determined to celebrate Semana Santa together. Our oldest daughter, Justine and her “novio” Memo arrived by bus from Mexico City and our son, Adam flew in with friends Brittany and Mick from Vancouver. Our youngest daughter Dylan worked hard at school so she could celebrate with her older siblings. We expanded from 3 people to 8; from one RV to 2 plus tents. We were all excited and anticipated the joy of eating, drinking and laughing together until dawn and then until dawn again
As we waited for Justine and Memo to arrive the day before Semana Santa began, we counted the busses zooming by. They increased tenfold or more from the regular season; old Dina busses spewing diesel fumes to sleek new ultra modern buses for the discerning traveler. The traffic was a steady stream of vehicles; supply trucks, busses, cars with luggage racks filled to the brim and the old faithful pickups with families crammed in the cab and the box filled to capacity.
The traffic increased steadily over the next few days and the RV Park filled up. Those 5 RV’s with a population of 10 are now surrounded by tents and 1000 Mexicans. Today, April, 13th is the busiest day and likely 300-500 more folks will be squeezed into the campsite, so they too can enjoy the Mexican coastline. Whole families meet and camp together for a week, some traveling for days from throughout Mexico and the United States just to get here to be with their sisters and brothers, aunt and uncles and if they are lucky, a grandparent or two.
It is wonderful! You can’t walk two minutes without a “Buenos Dias” or hello. The aroma of various Mexican cuisines is non-stop. A few old grandfathers congregate under some palm trees and drink tequila or beer and talk about old times. The young Mexican men play volleyball as bikini clad women chat under sun tarps and ignore their preening. There are babies and children everywhere; crying, laughing giggling and toddling.
Music is constant from eight in the morning to eight at night with a variety of genres from Rap, Hip Hop to Mariachi and Banda – a Mexican Country Music. It continues but with lower volumes late into the evening as the young men and women congregate in an out of the way spot to flirt, chat and drink Coronas away from the prying eyes of their parents.
The RV Park caters to Mexicans during these days. Traffic is so bad now that most folks don’t want to go to town – including the Mexicans. The park brings vendors to the campground; beautiful fresh vegetables are sold from the back of a pick-up; a local rotisserie chicken restaurant delivers; a fruit stand is a permanent fixture to the beach and a restaurant serving tacos and burgers operates behind the office. The “clubhouse” in gringo season is now converted to a small store and video game arcade.
The town is jammed to the limit but more people will arrive the day before good Friday.. The beer store has run out of the regular sized beer. They only have “Chico’s” or half bottles left. The streets are lined with Mexicans of all ages buying trinkets and t-shirts to carry home. Hotels wear signs “No Hay Vacantes.” No room at the inn.
But there is always room for more people at the beach. After all, this is Semana Santa.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Italian on the Zocalo
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Ja'Qui and the Perez Brothers New CD
Ja'Qui and the Perez Brothers have cut a new CD and it looks and sounds great!
Entitled "Just for You" It covers all the tunes that got you dancing last year. Including Proud Mary, Bottom of My Heart and many more.
The cost is 120 pesos.
Ps...the side picture is only the rough design of the cover...photographs for the cde were taken by yours truly..Bill and Dot