Saturday, March 6, 2010

TAO's first Carnaval

On the February 7th, still engineless, Chris’s father Dave flew back to Los Angeles, and the preparations for Mazatlan’s largest celebration of the year, Carnaval, heated up. Some say that Mazatlan has the second largest Carnaval celebration in Latin America, though as this was his first, Chris can’t confirm. Chris began his initiation into Carnaval by joining Adam and Kristina from Estrella and several other cruising couples to watch the super bowl at a local sports bar. To tell the truth, Chris didn’t know who was in contention for the super bowl this year, so he was a little apprehensive about entering the bar. But, it worked out well because the Saints and Colts had a very evenly matched game and the crowd was very easy going.

Carnaval proper spanned nearly a week, beginning Thursday, February 11th and ending Tuesday, February 16th. Again, Chris joined crews from several other cruising sailboats for forays into the largest of the Carnaval events, a reenactment of a battle between the French Navy and the Mazatlecos in the 1800s and an impressive parade. All night party goers from around Mexico and beyond came to enjoy these events and the non-stop festivities. People crowded the streets with colorful masks, outrageous costumes, and the ever popular fake jet black mustache, beard combo.

The highlight for Chris was the hour long fireworks display used to bring the battle with the French navy back to life. Fireworks were set off onboard several ships offshore depicting the attack on Mazatlan. These volleys from the sea were returned by land based launching sites, creating a spectacular pyrotechnic event that easily outlasted and outsized any 4th of July show Chris has witnessed. In the end, fireworks were used to depict the defeated ships ablaze after they failed to seize the port from the citizens. Amazing!!

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