Parade of Lights - 2011

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San Felipe, Baja, Mexico


Christmas Parade of Lights - 2011

This years's Parade of Lights seemed to leave every house in San Felipe empty. At 6pm, the scheduled time for the start of the event, a sea of faces lined both sides of Avenida Chetumal. Parking was a dodo bird hunt as was any place to sit down.

The scheduled delay (all delays are by nature part of a schedule here) allowed enough time to visit the local OXXO and purchase a 16oz hand warmer, commonly called a cup of coffee during warmer weather. This mildly exothermic device was calculated to keep the fingers limber enough to operate a digital camera. Unfortunately the coffee was better than expected and the heat renounced the fingers in favor of the stomach.

The parade began around 6:25pm. The lead vehicles sounded like an Aviary from Hell as their choir of high decibel sirens assaulted our ear drums. The din was truly stunning, in every sense of the word. I'm sure the Gran Cuvee stemware at Fat Boys burst into shards as they drove by.

The relief at seeing the parade approach was quickly erased by the realization the trucks and floats were moving too fast for the camera. In fact, the whole pageant dashed down Chetumal like a Norwegian luge team. There were no stops for the convenience of the shutterbugs. Cameras were panning shots so quickly that upper bodies were moving like Best Buy turnstiles on a Black Friday. It was a lot like watching a tennis match on fast-forward, except instead of ballboys running out to pick up fouls, kids were scrambling to collect the candy that rained off of floats and out of truck windows. Especially endearing were the knees of the young girls wearing Santa skirts and white leotards, which knocked together like croquet mallets in response to the cold weather.

It was all over before the kid standing next to me had finished picking his nose. I walked back to my car as an exodus of vehicles poured onto the avenue. It was then that I realized there are more cars and trucks in San Felipe than there are homes, --probably one for every cell phone.

Fortunately I had anticipated the traffic problem and had parked my car near a dirt road shortcut that led away from the congestion and put me on Chetumal quite a bit north of the mayhem. On my way out I passed the last trailer float, lumbering down the avenue a full quarter hour behind the parade. Perhaps it was an early start to next year's event.

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