Friday, April 13, 2012

Semana Santa and the Porta Potty Banditos

A common sight down here:
a kid and a 2-liter
(or is that a 3-liter?)
Semana Santa takes place during the week leading up to Easter.  During this week, Mexicans seek out beaches to set up camp, party, and relax.  Semana Santa is the most popular holiday in Mexico, outside of Christmas.  We were warned that at most beaches you should be careful where you park so as not to be blocked in. We were told stories about beaches where hundreds of people would set up camp and each "camp" would blast their own music.  A few years ago, some friends returned to their camper after a swim to find people sitting in their chairs, hanging out under their awning.

Since we were warned, we made sure to park in a location where we could likely escape if it got too crowded.  Early in the week, we were surpised by the lack of people, but a Gringo local said that it would get "VERY CROWDED" Thursday - Sunday.  Soon after, we noticed an uncharacteristic increase in government workers emptying garbage bins that had gone unemptied for at least a month.  Then, workers dropped off 3 additional garbage cans AND 3 porta potties. Our interest and anxiety about the weekend were peaked.  Really, we couldn't wait to see what the weekend would hold.

On Wednesday night before the big day, we watched a big group of young boys carry a porta potty 30 yards closer to their camp. It took them several attempts, but it was an impressive feat, hoisting the toilet to shoulder height and walking while keeping it vertical. The next morning, 3 men in an official truck drove up to their campsite and made them carry it back to it's original location.  Five minutes after the government workers left, another truck drove up, tipped one of the porta potties onto it's bed, and drove away.  An hour later, the same government workers returned with the stolen porta potty.  Apparently fresh, empty porta potties are coveted here on the East Cape of Baja!  That is what we call "cheap beach entertainment" -- credit to the Von Leonard family for the term.

Three porta potties safe at last.  Extra garbage cans next to the permanent turtle and dolphin heads.

Things never got too crazy. It did get crowded, and we did get sick of listening to Mexican polka from the truck next to us. We endured 2 days of that before leaving to find a nearly deserted beach only 2 miles away. Much better. Nevertheless, we survived Semana Santa and enjoyed the opportunity to witness a truly Latin American event.

Semana Santa at La Fortuna

Our deserted beach 2 miles away

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