Last Monday, apart from being a day off of work for most, thanks to the observation of Benito Juarez's birthday, was celebrated down my street for the day is was, San Jose Day! (It's a big deal down this street.)
We actually started celebrating the Sunday before with a parade from the Alameda to the church. It was officially called a pilgrimage. Padre Gordo reminded us to keep the true spirit of pilgrims, by thinking about our pilgrimage through life. Huh . . . glad he mentioned that! (Although it was easy to get distracted with the dancing chickens in the bed of one truck, courtesy of those who organize the children's mass.) Joey and I were all about joining in, and I was impressed that Mario and Clara were agreeable, especially after we arrived at the Alameda. I forgot that two or three matachin groups generally join the procession. They were very noisy, and neither Clara or Mario tolerate noise well. What troopers!
Then, the following Sunday, the church changed their usual 5-10K race into a mere 1.5 Run/Trot/Walk family event. So I signed us up for that, too. (Yep, I'm a joiner.) Mario had a long night the night before and bowed out, so I strapped Joey into the kangaroo (that's what baby carriers are called in Spanish--how awesome is that with a boy named Joey?), tied the three-year-old into the stroller, and we trotted off around the neighborhood with our Josefino family. I had fun running 5 steps then walking 10--it was pretty fun to watch Joey's head bounce around--but when 1.5 kilometers turned into a longer distance than I had imagined, I gave up and just walked.
After the race, they held a raffle, so we stuck around. My neighbor gave us an extra ticket from a friend who wasn't able to be there. Imagine my surprise when they called that very number for the last prize--a tricycle! As I lept up to claim the trike, Clara tripped and burst out sobbing, so it wasn't a pretty scene at all. I don't think she realized until we got home that the trike was hers. Then she was pretty excited and has been ever since.
Then, of course, last Monday was the actual San Jose Day. They closed the street at about noon and various vendors set up shop. It's my one chance a year for street food (rather, street food that isn't nachos), and once again I was impressed that Mario was game for eating on the street. Beyond food, they had games, rides, bingo, people selling clothes, and a plant lady.
I was also surprised that Clara was really into the matachines. When we first heard them in the morning, she insisted on going to see them and would have happily stayed all day, just watching them. For a kid who doesn't like noise, I was more than a bit shocked
. She does, however, really like dancing.
After eating, I told her she could go on four rides. They had trampolines, which she had tried when we went to the Cola del Caballo, so she was set on that one. She had been spying one with cars (that just went round and round in a circle) for a day or two before, so she jumped at the chance to try that. After about 5 turns around though, she said that she was done, and I tried to explain that she couldn't get off until the man stopped the ride. She did well with that one.
Then she wanted to go into a bounce house. Despite being the only kid on it, once she got her shoes off, she decided she no longer wanted anything to do with the bounce house. Oh, finicky three-year-olds! The lady was great and gave me my money back. We wandered down the street and she decided that she really did want to go on a train ride. We watched it down around for once whole ride, so she could determine if she really, really wanted to go. She did. I kept reminding her that she couldn't get off until the lady stopped the ride (not just whenever Clara decides the ride should end). She understood. She still really wanted to ride the train. So she got on the train with another little girl and and soon as she was strapped in, she decided she really did NOT want to be on the train.
Too bad. It's time to stick by your decisions, kiddo!
She screamed the entire time. It was pretty close to bedtime. And it was pretty noisy (that's the reason Clara told me afterward). And the entire environment was pretty overwhelming. Poor kid.
Apparently the experience did not traumatize her for life, because this week they set up some fair rides in the grocery store parking lot. Clara was pretty interested.
But I'm not falling for that again!
And, of course, no proper Saint Day celebration in this country is complete without fireworks. Patty and I ran down the street at about 10, after the bells had been chiming for awhile. We missed the good ones.
Word to the wise: get out the door as soon as the bells start ringing. This is still Mexico, and the scheduled time is always relative.