“Oaxaca”! It was an alcohol-fueled, involuntary response to a stimulus, from me, just one of the many oversized visiting gringos at the Thursday night festival. “No”, said the Mexican woman beside me. Then she thought for a second, and said “Sí, Oaxaca”. The contest was underway. I lost, of course.
Duwan is so good at finding us interesting things to see and do. This time we were in the plaza in San Jose Los Cabos on the weekly fiesta night. The square was filled with artists and performers. We had just eaten supper at a vegan restaurant adjacent to the parking lot in which we were camped for the night. Home was a block away. Downhill.
The stimulus? A group of dancers in traditional costumes. When we visited Frida Kahlo’s home in Mexico City three years ago, we saw a collection of her dresses. She chose to wear the high-necked style of the women from the matriarchal Mexican state of her distant upbringing, Oaxaca.
Oaxaca was far from Mexico City and, in practical travel miles, even farther from here. But Mexicans appreciate and enjoy their diverse sub-cultures. This festival was a celebration of those differences.
A procession of dancers emerged, each of them clad in meticulously crafted traditional garb. In addition to the Oaxacan dresses, I was able to identify the Viejito (little old man) attire from Michoacán. For the others, I looked over hopefully to my neighbor, who called each state out as her esposo surreptitiously smirked at the gringo’s ignorance.
Soon, a niña from Vera Cruz reached out and pulled me onto the dance floor. I and my fellow conscripted gringos did the two-step quick step and the boss nova, a little Victor Sylvester* and a Rudy Valentino. You should have seen us movin’. I am positive we added inestimable value to this cultural experience.
** All pics are click to enlarge. Once you have them enlarged you can view them in a slide show. Also, you can hover over the pics to see captions.
I was totally amped for our next stop, Cabo San Lucas. Many folks consider it the SPRING BREAK capital of the universe, but I wanted to see a prominent feature left from two major tectonic events: the collision of plates that created the Rocky Mountain chain, and the East Pacific Rise, which separated Baja from the rest of Mexico. The erosion at the rocky southern end of the peninsula has left a spectacular arch, right where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California.
We wanted to kayak to the arch. It cost a lot of money. We wanted to park and hike to the arch. It cost too much money. We decided to trust the pictures we had seen, and move on. We did make a couple of passes through town, though, to show you how special this place is.
* Victor Sylvester
Leo Sayer sang “Long Tall Glasses” in the early ’70s before the internet. Way back then, one trusted one’s hearing to learn lyrics instead of looking them up online. I was sure that Leo said “Tweety and Sylvester”. Wrong again. VICTOR Sylvester enlisted in the British army for the first War to end all Wars at the age of 16. He went on to become a famous dancer and band director, dying after I started college. Holy crap! The depth of my ignorance astounds even me.