He had been here several times before. Staying in the guest house with his "significant other". This time he traveled alone to participate in the Alborada. He stayed in a hotel within steps of all the action of the jardin.
Since St. Michael is the patron saint of San Miguel, well, let the "good times roll". It started Tuesday night in earnest with fireworks and castillos. Castillos are these big towers with circular pieces on the top that spin fireworks into the air or just about anywhere. They are quite amazing wonders of pyrotechnics. Then there are the bottle rockets. Well, you get my drift, NOISE, is the order of the day.
On Wednesday night there was another parade and more fireworks. It was all in preparation for the BIG event which started at 2AM on Saturday morning with parades from four directions, noise and revelry. I have seen video and photos of the jardin at 2AM and it was packed with a lot of young men who wanted to prove their manhood by dodging fireworks and participating in the revelry.
My friend was among them, even though he is nearly 80! He had a blast. To say he is a unique person would be an understatement. He survived a huge firework plopping right next to him off the castillo and running when the fireworks were lobbed out of the Parroquia along with being lobbed from the other side of the jardin. He was in the middle running from side to side. The young men have learned to wear hoodies and cover as much of their bodies with cardboard or other protective covering to prevent their clothes from catching on fire. Someone's always does. My friend had an umbrella!
Now a person of sound mind (me) would never go near something like that, but then there are others, like my old boyfriend who would FLY here from Houston for the fun of it. I think it is a "man" thing.
Today he came over for a home cooked breakfast and we sat out in the garden and talked about the many trips we had taken in days of yore. One was to the Inter Tribal ceremonies in Gallup, NM along with side trips to Chimayo, Mesa Verde, Farmington and then to Durango. That trip, which started out to be to see sun dances at the reservations, became so much more for me.
In Farmington and Durango, I found much history of my mother's family. Last name of Markley. I discovered that they had been some of the founders of Farmington along with having the first Navaho Trading Post! In fact their store was recreated in the museum in Farmington. In Durango I found the Red Cliff Ranch which had been a great aunt and uncle's home along with much information about my mother's birth and life in Durango. I came home in a state of shock over all of this. Through more research, I have found books, diaries and photos to document various parts of my heritage.
Another trip that my friend and I took caused us to laugh out loud while talking about it. It was at least twenty years ago and we took a ponga to Yelapa for a few days. A ponga is a hollowed out log like a pirogue is in Louisiana. But, you get out on the open sea of the Pacific and it is like being beaten to a pulp as each wave hits. We laughed about the look on my face when the owner of the restaurant told me that the mosquito netting over my bed in the open air thatched hut was not for mosquitoes but for scorpions! We laughed about the "characters" who lived there. The old man who lived under the banyan tree and the woman, a former flight attendant, who lived UP in a tree with two wooden platforms and a ladder. She wanted to rent a platform to me for $5USD a night, but I would have to share the ladder. I politely declined. Then on our ponga ride back to Puerto Vallarta, instead of our own ponga, it somehow turned into a water taxi. At one point as the driver added more and more people to this small tree log boat, I and my friend were sure we were going to be swamped and tip over. I can remember trying to gauge if I could swim to shore. Of course, we had NO life jackets or anything like that! Luckily that did not happen and once our feet were on shore, I think I had a drink to celebrate life, maybe even two.
Fun times. Good memories. Great conversations. I feel blessed to have so many good, old friends who remember the good times and great fun we had back in the "good old days".
Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. Helen Keller