Playa had been gearing up for Independence Day for weeks now. Men and women have pulled wooden carts through the streets laden with flags, whistles, jewelry, and decorations in Mexican colors: red, green, and white. At the foot of every stairway leading out of the markets there have been displays of patriotic stuff. But last night, Monday Sept. 15, was the true celebration. City Hall has been decorated for some time with “VIVA MEXICO 1810 – 2008” in shiny colored letters, but over the weekend two stages for performances also arrived in the park across Ave. 20 and many video screens so the crowd could see performers from any angle.
We arrived about 9:00 pm to find the park already full with various troupes of singers and dancers performing non-stop on stage. We watched for a bit then walked the perimeter where many food vendors had set up shop. Last year there were only a few and the nearest convenience store was quickly sold out. This was remedied this year! There were shrimp on skewers, tamales, corn soup, flan, and tacos of all kinds. We stopped for an ear of corn served on a strong wooden stick. A stack of roasted corn with husks lay in a pile and as one ordered, a man husked the corn, put in the stick and handed it to a woman to proceeded to smear it with mayonnaise, roll it in salt, squirt it with pepper sauce and a hand it to the buyer. Jim got one of these, but I decided I did not need mayonnaise on my waist and asked for corn with pepper sauce. Well, mine was not simple squirted with sauce, my ear of corn was rolled in hot pepper flakes! I made it through about half and handed it over to Jim. We circled City Hall looking for the ceramic dish ware vendor that we saw last year. He juggled plates, bowls and saucers then packed them in a clear plastic bay and sold the lot (at least service for six) for 50 pesos ($5 US). I was looking for a teapot with cups and saucers that I remembered, but alas the enormous trailer was not to be found. There is a new government in power and I suppose someone did not have the proper permit.
We wandered down to La Ranita bar where they were giving out free beers. One simply sat at a table or stood outside and beer arrived. We sat with Roger (Santa at Xmas time) and watched the Eagles play American football for a bit, then made our way back in time to hear “El Grito”, the scream, from the Mayor of Playa. This was the official beginning of Independence Day and parties flew into high gear all over the country. Most businesses were closed today (as Jim discovered when he took our dirty clothes around the corner to the laundry this morning) as people recovered from overindulgence or continued to party.