Monday, February 27, 2006


Carnaval! If there are 13,000 residents of Loreto then everyone of them lined the streets over the weekend for the parade. It seemed like much more because as the parade passed people would rush ahead to gain a spot further up the path. Robert volunteered to drive a pick-up pulling a float through town. When I wasn't photographing I rode part of the way with him sitting in amazement at what we'd gotten ourselves into. No permit, no back-ground check, just pull a float full of children we don't know and hope they hang on tight. The parade followed a path through the main arteries of town and took nearly an hour and a half to complete. We were towards the front following a live band in a wagon bed,

and a horse and buggy behind them. Most of the floats represented schools, dance groups, and a few businesses. Of course, there were the princesses and the parade Queen. "Que bonita!"

People on the floats threw candy and hollowed-out eggs filled with confetti to the crowd. Every now and then the parade would stop as a dance group performed a number. Allison's float decorated in the Hawaiian theme rolled behind us. Her job was to wave to the crowd. If her dream is to become a princess then she gained a lot of experience in the public appearance department. She complained mightily about the "ugly muumuu" she had to wear; it was not fitting with the glamourous image she'd prefer to portray. Gotta start out small, we told her.

The whole affair was charming. Once again I marvel at the ease of which we slip into the lives of these Loretanos. It is such an accepting and tolerant community. There's room and a place for everyone even the stray dogs that trot between the crowd, the floats, and the feet of the policia. Mexicans love children, so Allison is our key to every door. We are accepted and trusted as parents first. But not to be deceived, Mexican parents check you out before trusting you with their children. I remember early on asking a classmate of Allison's if she'd like to come play at our house and she responded with a dutiful, "No, I must stay only with my family." Since then, the family has grown trustful of us and the two are now playing regularly. Parents here like to formerly meet both of the other parents. So, for all the seeming carelessness in supervision, the freedom to roam, the riding without seatbelts, riding in the back of pick-ups, there is a level of caution.

I was so glad we were here to see and participate in the Carnaval. Robert and I grinned in disbelief at our where our life has taken us--to pulling a float on a dusty road in the middle of Loreto, Baja California Sur, a place one year ago we'd never heard of.

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