Friday, February 12, 2016

Tangled - the parade that never was

Pretty Carnaval dancer
A hot salsa beat pounds out of enormous speakers, as a truck and trailer filled to overflowing with Carnaval dancers heads for the parade assembly area.  

The street is stuffed with happy spectators.  The street-side restaurants are overflowing with celebrants waiting for the start of the Carnaval parade.  It’s all part of the fun, knowing that the parade never, ever starts on time.  

And knowing the wait will be worth it when the dancers finally arrive.

Group arriving at the north end near Jax Bar & Grill
Truckloads of costumed dancers drive past our chosen viewing outpost on Rueda Medina.  

The groups lurch forward, then stop as the troupe manager decides they should do an impromptu performance – hoping to make a little more money from the crowd to help pay for their expensive costumes.  

The street is a whirl of pink and purple and green and orange.  

Great-grandmothers and Grandmothers
Great-grandmothers and grandmothers strut and twirl.  Their daughters, granddaughters and grandsons follow with more energetic routines. 

The traffic stutter-steps along the proposed route, inching along in the wrong direction.  Other groups have assembled near the Navy base for the three o’clock start time, while the renegade groups buck the system and party on.  

High flying dancer
By four o’clock we decide to walk south along Rueda Medina, towards the beginning of the parade, looking for more dancers.  

Many groups are still performing in the street, nowhere near the assembly point.  The crowd doesn’t care.  Everyone is having a great time. 

A little further south, directly in front of the UltraMar passenger ferry terminal we finally find a dance troupe that is headed in the correct direction.  This group is also dancing enthusiastically and their forward progress is slow, very slow.  

Energetic dancers outside UltraMar terminal
The street is noisy and awash in bright colours as costumed performers strut, twirl, leap and spin.  

Arriving ferry passengers are caught up in the mad whirl.  

Some are startled by the pandemonium, others instantly meld into the chaos – bouncing to the beat as they weave their way through the crowd, dragging unruly suitcases along bumpy sidewalks.  

For them it’s an unforgettable introduction to Carnaval.

Fun introduction for visitors to Carnaval in Mexico
The south-bound trucks get diverted by the municipal police, the wrong way on a one-way street, to enable the troupes to join the parade line-up.  By six o’clock in the afternoon we have given up on the idea of an actual parade.  

Groups of dancers come and go in front of us.  I snap photo after photo, wondering how soon I will exhaust the camera battery.  The last and the largest group finished their spectacular display in a candy-coloured whirl of pink, orange, blue, green and yellow.  Worn out from all the fun we walk back to where we parked our car. 

Last and largest dance group
The next morning while chatting with friends, we discovered that the parade never did get as far as the corner by Jax Restaurant and Grill - the official end of the route.  

Many groups gave up part way along, too exhausted by their three full days of energetic dancing, and then the energy-sapping long delays during parade. 

Ah well, there is always next year!

It’s Carnaval.  It’s Mexico!  Nothing ever goes as planned.

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

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Several of our friends dancing in this group

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