March 19, 2008

Semana Santa cranks up with people - and accidents

Accident on Highway 200
Accident at La Manzanilla entrance

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - The Semana Santa crowds have started showing up en masse, with many busloads of people coming to town, and the huge buses negotiating streets more suited to small pickup trucks than 40-foot long buses. Watching them taking corners - without taking out buildings - is worth the trip down the hill.

The highways have already started to have their share of accidents, too. This morning, on my way to Arroyo Seco, I was greeted with the scene above right at the entrance to the pueblo. It didn't look like anyone was seriously hurt, but several families have just had their holidays pretty well ruined. And people on the highways are driving fast, even by Mexican standards.

Croc & dolphins
A life-like crocodile joins the dolphins at La Manzanilla entrada

At the same (and only) entrance, the city folks have just installed a new sculpture to add to the dolphins. I don't know just yet who actually created it, though a local artist who goes by the sobriquet Apache is a likely suspect. Crews were painting it today. What color? Crocodile Gray, of course. Check your newest box of Crayola Crayons.

Closer to town, one measure of how many people - and cars - are here was the installation of a traffic cop in front of Santana Realty. A traffic cop! In La Manzanilla. Say it ain't so.

But there he was, whistle in hand, even crossing pedestrians. I took the photo below as the Admiral was making her daily commute into the office.

Traffic cop in La Manzanilla
Traffic cop deals with gridlock in La Manzanilla

But the biggest impact in town is really out on the beach, where the hundreds of people of two days ago is growing daily and will reach several thousand, I'm told by local folks. And the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in well in town and on the beach. Ice cream vendors, people selling jewelry, food, churros (they are so good, they should be controlled substance), and in one booth, micheladas, a beer served in a cup over ice, with some lime juice thrown in.

They are quite delicious, but can you imagine a bunch of young guys erecting a palapa on a U.S. beach - any U.S. beach - and selling beer?

Not without a liquor license and an environmental impact report on how much the palm fronds in the palapa would interfere with the life cycle of the indigenous hermit crabs.

Micheladas - not lemonade
Not selling lemonade

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