Ghostly brides. Half-faced children. Phantom cowboys. Gentlemen apparitions in formal wear.
Ladies in flower bedecked headdresses and jeweled Catrina makeup – all gathered in centro for a relatively new event on Isla Mujeres, the Parade of Silence paying tribute to the souls of the departed.
|Ru Perez Director Casa de la Cultura, on right|
Organized by the Casa de la Cultura, and the Jean Piaget private school the procession was scheduled to start at six in the evening at the old cemetery located at the north end of Hidalgo Avenue, culminating at the Casa de la Cultura on Guerro Avenue.
Six o’clock Mexican time: más o menos. In this case the event was surprisingly not too far off schedule, starting at six-thirty.
A group from our neighbourhood agreed we would meet downtown, watch the parade, and then go out for a light dinner. It should be easy for seven people to meet up on a five mile long island…wouldn’t you think?
However by the time I had snapped nearly a hundred photographs and the procession had passed us by, we realized that four of our friends had still not arrived. We did see several other well-known locals who were enjoying the spectacle, relaxing street-side in the various bars and restaurants that line Hidalgo Avenue.
Lawrie and his sister Linda Grierson decided that they would head to The Reef, where the group had planned to pop in for a drink with our favourite island bar-tender, Freddy Medina. In the meantime I scouted around Hidalgo Avenue for the others.
It turns out they waited twenty minutes for a taxi, not wanting to risk the new Breathalyzer sobriety roadblocks that were initiated a week ago.
For those of you unfamiliar with life in Mexico, drunk driving has been tolerated until very recently. Open liquor in vehicles, on golf carts, or even motos – no problem.
A few times we have witnessed moto-scooter drivers so bombed that when required to stop for traffic or pedestrian crosswalks, they forget to put their feet on the ground. The result is a comical slow-motion toppling of driver and motorcycle into a heap on the hard pavement, in one case conveniently beside a police officer. The Breathalyzer sobriety checks are a step in the right direction, however, according to the island coconut-telegraph the testers are re-using the same plastic ‘straw’ for every person. It’s a very unsanitary practice to say the least. Hopefully this is just a rumour.
But I digress, Julie, Rob, Brent and Dé were about to start hoofing it into centro when an available taxi finally arrived. Having rounded up the strays, we trailed after the procession, heading in the direction of the Municipal Square and The Reef Bar at the south end of Hidalgo Avenue.
The colourful, but quiet group slowly wound its way between the tables and chairs pushed out into the street by restaurant managers trying to maximize every possible square inch of serving space.
Hidalgo Avenue has a fun, chaotic atmosphere with cramped spaces, colourful tables and chairs, wait-staff hawking menu choices, and the delicious smells wafting from open-air kitchens.
The Parade of Silence continued a few more blocks, culminating at the Casa de la Cultura. We turned a sharp left and up the stairs into The Reef for an adult beverage. We finished up our fun evening with a yummy dinner at Javi’s Cantina on Juarez Avenue. The beautiful live, background music was provided by Jorge and Martine.
|Jorge with Javi on drums|
We are already anticipating procession of the souls next year. Sometimes life in paradise is just so darn difficult.
Lynda & Lawrie
|Julie and Linda G. with their new friend|