Lying in bed in the early morning hours I heard music from several houses over drifting through the open window. It was punctuated occasionally by an inebriated voice wailing in tandem. It wasn’t so loud as to be annoying, but I was glad that we didn’t live any closer. As the clock struck 3, right on cue, a gallo (rooster) joined the vocalist, tentatively at first, then robustly as he began to warm up to his daily chore. It actually seemed to trigger some distant memory within the singer (of sleep maybe?) and finally the music died at 4:30 a.m. It was the Saturday before Christmas and everyone was now officially off work and school for the next 2 weeks. I thought I had noticed a very festive air on all the faces the day before as I went about town. There were parties galore all through the day and night – and even, evidently, into the predawn hours.
The weather station had called for rain, high winds and cold weather and throughout the day a smattering of droplets had fallen. It was just enough to make the accumulated dust on the cars become really obvious, but certainly not enough to make the Friday night diners at the outdoor pizza restaurant (Los Mangos Pizzeria) go sit under the eaves of the porch. Well, not most of us anyway. The fact that we had put on long pants and a jacket to dine al fresco could have signaled a cooling trend, I will admit. Most days the windows still stay wide open and shorts with tee shirts are the average daily uniform of the majority of the populace.
Christmas is very festive here in Todos Santos, as it is in many parts of the world, but it feels more intimate. I always thought that a posada was a tradition here in Mexico (it being a Christmas walk through town with lighted candles to honor the famous search for shelter in Bethlehem) however in looking for such a procession I had come up woefully short. A longtime resident told me that nowadays posada means ‘party’ for the most part. And there are lots and lots of those around each evening. Many businesses have had posadas for their trabajadores and customers alike. Some welcome the whole town. The posada was on my definite list of things-I-want-to-experience-here so I was very sorry to learn, too late, that there was a traditional posada last night. Tonight one of the local expat hangouts will be hosting another one. This I will not miss, even if it most likely will be different than ‘traditional’. But they said to bring a candle, dress warmly and be ready to sing carols and indulge in special treats, so major de nada!
Noches Beunas, or poinsettias as they are called in the US, are offered at a few nurseries, though they don’t seem to be as much a staple here, more a treat than must-have. Houses adorned with lights are more low key with no attempts to out-do one another. Roadside stalls selling all kinds of things have sprung up, from fruits and vegetables to handmade gifts. It is definitely Christmas, though without the glitz and hype.
Last weekend there was live music at La Esquina, our favorite coffee house. Pura Vida played a mixture of Reggae, Latin, Salsa and exceptional dance music. We had 3 young surfing buddies of Robert’s stop by unexpectedly (our 1st guests at the house!) so they joined us, along with many neighbors, friends and a good portion of the town it seemed, to get our boogie down. No one waited to hit the dance floor. From the 1st song it was packed, from age 80 to the single digits. Even some dogs joined the throng. I love watching people dance, but even more I love to do it. Each person letting him/herself express in whatever way feels good, how wonderful! Yes, there are those who definitely groove to the beat on a more synchronistic level, but still everyone was swaying, moving, enjoying. And after all, that is the whole purpose, utter pleasure.
Everyone seems to be celebrating in one way or another. The other day we walked to the beach and watched a whale, just 200 yards off shore, as it breached and spy hopped over and over in what seemed to be absolute delight. It made it almost impossible to watch the gorgeous sunset that was happening simultaneously.
|copyright Page Hodel|
Not having our longtime friends and family around us right now we are forced out of our old routines. We’re meeting new friends and making new traditions. We’ll be hosting the 1st dinner party at our new house on Christmas day with some of our neighbors. Nothing traditional on the menu, except the tamales that Angelica is bringing. And some champagne perhaps…..
I want to wish everyone a beautiful holiday season, no matter how you enjoy it, or what you call it. This time of year is so precious, with all the merriment, the winter solstice, religious and non-religious celebrations alike. Let us open our hearts and accept the wonderful diversity of each one! Let us tenderly embrace our own choices while honoring those of others. And above all let us remember that we are ALL of the same family – the Human Race, the Universe and beyond.
Much love to you and yours~