As we write (mid-afternoon, November 3) eastern Pacific Depression Eighteen-E has been named Tropical Storm Sonia and NOAA projects that she will be coming to visit a coastal area near us some time early tomorrow morning. The current model anticipates landfall north of Mazatlan at about 4 a.m. tomorrow, winds up to 45 miles per hour and 2-6 inches of rain (localized amounts up to 10 inches).
At the moment it's raining steadily and the skies and occasional rolls of thunder are a bit ominous. El Capitan has been out to check on Abracadabra to see if anything had changed since he checked on her last night.
|El Capitan Departing the Marina Gate of the Apartment Complex.|
First Mate Photographer is Snuggly Indoors
Bryce reports that Abracadabra is still tied to the dock, her hatches and ports are still closed and El Capitan is soaking wet, but feeling confident that she will weather the storm. Molly has declared the coming storm a sign that it's a day for a big breakfast, drinking a lot of coffee and reading our electronic New York Times.
More on Sonia when we know how tough a broad she is.
Dia de Muertos -- Estilo Mazatlan
Last year we wrote a lot about Dia de Muertos, it's significance and how it is celebrated here in Mexico (see our November 5, 2012 post if you're interested in that) so we won't go through all of that again. This posting is about the public celebration here in Mazatlan.
As background, it's important to know that Mazatlan is the home of Cerveza Pacifico Clara - the beer of Mexico's Pacific Coast. This beer is one of the cultural impacts of the wave of German immigrants to Mazatlan in the mid 19th Century. [Another is an annoying screeching clarinet sound that can often be heard in Mexican banda music . . . ]. Thus it shouldn't be surprising that the public Dia de Muertos celebration in Mazatlan involves a big parade featuring donkey carts filled with barriles (beer kegs) from which beer is dispensed for free. What better way to honor the departed?
|Donkey Standing Patiently, Screen Left|
|Una Mas, Por Favor!|
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, we went downtown with the plan of sitting at a table at a restaurant on Plazuela Machado -- the starting and ending point for the parade. It became clear that all the good restaurants around the plazuela had been booked for some time, but we knew we were too old and agoraphobic to join the parade and try for free beer, so we took an available table.
As we waited for our first round of sad adult beverages (possibly the worse margarita in Mexico) to be delivered, sailors from Calliope and Grasshopper walked by. They were looking (in vain) for a place to sit so we invited them to join us. Six of us crowded around our little table and made it a party.
|The Crews of Abracadabra, Caliope and Grasshopper|
(Photo by El Capitan)
Our little party was only one of many taking place along the edges of the parade route. It was a night of excellent people watching. Many were painted up to honor the presence of death in every day life and, as a result, to celebrate life itself.
|There's Death Within Love . . .|
|Within Youth . . .|
|Within Beauty. . . |
|A Favorite Mask -- Life and Death Together.|
With our compadres we celebrated life and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the evening. As is often the case when talking with other sailors in Mexico, we marveled how a mob scene with free beer still managed to seem a joyful, family friendly event. Noisy and chaotic, yes -- but not a single staggering drunk or fist fight was observed. And this is in Sinaloa, which is deemed to be such a dangerous state. Close your eyes and imagine a free beer parade in a large city in the US or Canada . . . .
We left the scene early, and our table was avidly snatched up by a Mexican family way too large for a table for four. We decided not to try warning them about the bad food and drink they were going to be subjected to -- the seating and dining choices were even slim
We took a "red truck taxi" (exactly what it sounds like: a communal taxi that is a bright red truck with some benches built into the back) home, happy to be alive - and not just because we'd ridden in the back of a pick-up truck!