Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bicentenario Celebrations in Pátzcuaro

We don't usually attend nighttime events in Pátzcuaro, as we live way out in the country and don't like to drive at night. I'm also in the habit of going to bed early and arising very early.

But as this was Mexico's Bicentenario year, we decided to attend both La Noche del Grito on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and the next day's Independence Day celebrations.

To make this easier and more enjoyable, we booked a room at the lovely Villa Victoria B&B, located only 3-4 blocks from Pátzcuaro's Plaza Grande.

After we arrived, we walked a few blocks to the Portal Salazar, on Calle Codallos, across from Plaza San Francisco. There we enjoyed a late breakfast at Menudería Tére, one of three similar places at that location. We just happen to be be most familiar with Tére's and like it. In fact, it's becoming a once a week habit of mine.

Then we went to the Plaza Grande to check out the decorations and the construction of the "castillo" from which the fireworks would be fired that night. All was looking good, so we went back to Villa Victoria for an extended nap to prepare us for that night's festivities.

About 5:30, we arose and went out, walking along Calle Iturbe, which had been closed off to traffic and set aside for tents offering junk food in all its glory.

There were also the enchiladas placeras de pollo, for which Pátzcuaro is famed. Seen in the daylight, they tempted even me. But we walked on, as we wanted to eat at Restaurante Lupita's (formerly Cha Cha Cha.) We were the only diners at 6:00 and we were closely attended by our waiter. I ordered arrachera, on the recommendation of a friend, and it was quite good. I also had a Margarita, which although it was good, came nowhere close to the generous pour of the potent Margaritas that Enrique used to make at Cha Cha Cha. But after all, it's a totally different restaurant and the price was about $30 pesos less at Lupita's, if I recall correctly.

Doña Cuevas had a nice Fish and Chips dinner. 

As we paid the check, the rain began and we scuttled under the roof lines to seek shelter at La Surtidora, at Portal Hidalgo.  After drinking hot chocolate and conversing wth friends, we dashed back to the B&B for reinforced weather proofing, then returned to the Plaza Grande to listen to speeches, and hearing, but not really seeing the crownings of the various queens, and at last, a stirring and impressive grito from the balcony of the Presidencia. My impression was that emphasis was appropriately on the Independence movement rather than the Revolucíon.

The wait in the rain for the Grito was uncomfortable (we did have umbrellas) but when the fireworks erupted, it was worth it. Must have been at least 20, possibly 30 minutes of show. It wasn't as artful as some more sophisticated displays, but it was made up by enthusiastic bombardments and skybursts. This display, you crafts fans will appreciate, was hand, not computer fired. Men with fusee torches went about lighting the fuses, and early on, one pyrotechnician was seen climbing down a scaffold in a shower of sparks. The display held a surprise element, as some of the mortar launches fell short, and the bursts took place just over the heads of the daring crowds. Colored fire peppered the lawn. I had my wet umbrella for further protection. :-) As far as I could tell, there were no injuries. (The pyrotechnicians run serious risks of injury in there work, not just from the fireworks but from falling.)

The show wound up to an explosive, screaming flashing climax, and we stood stunned, engulfed by smoke.

Then we went back to our lodgings for a few hours of sleep. At 9:00 a.m., the Villa Victoria staff served a wonderful breakfast which did a lot to revive us.

Thurday morning was a day of parades, marching students and "carros alegóricos" or dramatic floats. I'll leave the description of that to others. But my conclusion was that for the parade bystander, once you've seen 15 or more units of uniformed students drumming and bugling, you can happily go home. We did just that, walking 8 or 10 blocks from Centro to the Libramiento, where we caught a taxi. The road home was nearly deserted of traffic, and we arrived at our house, exhausted but happy.
(We plan to pass up Pátzcuaro's Anniversary Celebration on September 28. We can handle only so much excitement. Once in 200 years is enough!)
These revolucionarias were especially colorful
Rather than select and place any of the dozens of photos I took, I'll embed the album in slide show form, below. Have fun!

1 comment:

Felipe said...

Nice rundown, señor. Every year I see the parade on the morning of the 16th, I am flabbergasted at the quantity of schools there are in town. We are a prolific people.