THE NEW FACE OF SEMANA SANTA
I fully expected to see Rod Serling standing beside that sign post up ahead because there was something definitely something strange about strolling on the Malecón this Easter morning. The usual rivers and screes of 'Holy Week' trash were conspicuously absent. The Malecón looked as if it had been scrubbed and hosed clean. I was definitely on another planet.
This year, in the wake of a Malecón make-over and a tightly orchestrated regimen designed to meet the Semana Santeros' needs, the habitual carnage has been minimized. Bivouacs of Porta-Potties, an Armada of police vehicles and ambulances, rows of trash bins serviced frequently, and a platoon of orange-vested street sweepers ensured that the town would not suffer its usual heritage of Easter chaos.
While the town seemed in good repair, the tent city still populating the beach was a field of paper, cardboard, tin, plastic and bottle discards. But given the ubiquity of garbage cans, perhaps the litter will migrate away from the sand and into the green receptacles along the Malecón.
It's also firmly hoped that the 5 peso charge for the use of the chemical toilets was not a deal-breaker and that, unlike past years, a walk on the beach at low tide does not become a training exercise in a fecal mine field.
The number of people celebrating Holy Week in San Felipe this year is obviously less than during the years of unbridled prosperity. The collective effects of the economic depression with its attendant rise in crime rate, plus the bad press about Mexico has not only choked the flow of US and Canadian tourists, but obviously Mexican tourists as well. In past years Semana Santa was a source of gringo dread because of overcrowding, bumper-to-bumper traffic, noise, drunkenness, wholesale littering, violence, arrests, ambulance sirens and vehicular deaths. But it would seem for 2012, someone has put Matt Dillon in charge of Dodge City. Of the list just described, only the noise was in evidence this morning. How many revelers from last night are sleeping it off in the local calaboose is anyone's guess. But those who remained seemed quite orderly, if not unconscious on the sand with a Tecate tin in their hand.
Hopefully this precedent will become a trend and in the years to follow, Semana Santa will become an event everyone can enjoy.
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