I tend to lose track of days here, not to mention time. Just another perk of island life I guess. I bring this up because while walking my dog last night I noticed quite a few groups of folks heading north and I got curious. It took a second to remember it was Sunday and then it hit me. This is the day when there is a party in the plaza, the main square in San Miguel, and many of the locals go down to have some well deserved fun. I took my new pup back home (she’s from our Humane Society) gave her a bone and filled her water bowl. Then, with the excitement of a spring breaker, I grabbed my camera and out the door I went to follow the crowd. I’ve not been to the plaza on a Sunday since I moved here and hoped it was as much fun as I remembered from my tourist days. I started to walk the few blocks.
Along the way many, including me, stopped to appreciate the sunset. Framed by tropical colors, low hanging clouds, and fishing boats skipping through the waves, it was lush. Cameras were everywhere and I started to join in the fun. Just before snapping a shot, however, I got side-tracked by someone I’ve recently become acquainted with, which was fun too. I missed the shot and didn’t care. There will be many more sunsets to appreciate. New friends, however, can become a bit more rare the older we get, even in paradise. So, only after happily exchanging pleasantries, did I focus on taking a pic. I caught this one of a Coast Guard boat guarding some clouds under the remaining light. The light was gone in moments and I continued north.
The plaza was beginning to warm up. Lights poured out of the surrounding shops filled with trinkets while their owners tried to entice folks into their stores. In one spot a giant playpen device was set up for the kids while their families stood and watched. Meanwhile, the center gazebo was being set up for the live band that would play later. Kids were dancing, a couple of dogs were running around happily, and couples smooched on various benches. Music came from a variety of directions and the smells of local cuisine came from everywhere. Food stands were piled with homemade choices that, if unrecognized, their cooks would happily explain, usually in Spanglish. I had flautas and flan (yes, I see the alliteration) and they were delicious. After eating I just sat on a wall to see what I could see.
It wasn’t long before a guy dressed, and painted, entirely in silver came strolling by. He carried a small stand and a coffee can. Once he reached a central point he put the stand down, placed the can labeled “tips” in front of it, stepped on the stand and struck a pose. With no expression whatsoever, and completely immobile, he would wait until someone started to take a picture and would then salute the photographer. With robotic movements he then returned to his original pose. I watched various folks tip him, one small child try to get him to laugh, and a drunk pretend to steal his coffee can. He never lost his composure.Then it started to rain and I got to see him disappear as well. You’ve never seen anyone move so quickly. With the time it must take to apply all that paint I can’t blame him, but the rain made for another fun moment. The stand where I’d bought my food earlier was being covered quickly too. The ladies took care of their merchandise first and themselves after. Laughing and talking they laid plastic and then towels over everything. Once done they shared a yellow rain coat for shelter. Not one to miss a photo opportunity if I can help it, I risked the water on my lens and grabbed a shot. Please keep in mind this is how happy they are when it’s raining, imagine what they are like when the weather is “nice.” After the rain stopped I went back over and showed them the picture and the laughter started all over again.
After this it was time to focus on the band. I’ve heard there is a live band every Sunday, yet another reason to visit. It wasn’t long before they started and people began to dance. One young couple was completely unaware of anyone but themselves; young love I assume. Other couples were obviously long time dance partners. I had to smile when I watched one man record his lady’s dancing with his digital. She was a bit embarrassed, but, since he kept encouraging her, she kept on dancing in her little spike heels. My feet ached just watching. Still, he was quite sweet with his kiss of thanks when the song ended.
Just at that moment a boy came up to me with a multicolored box that had a slit carved into it. He never said a word. He just held it up, looked at me with enormous eyes that were filled with a knowledge far beyond his years and waited. I showed him my camera and asked him if I could take a picture. With a vocabulary that is somewhat limited in his native language my request was part spoken and part mimed. I tried to get him to smile, but that wasn’t going to happen. I took the pic and placed ten pesos in his box. Still not saying a thing he simply turned and walked over to someone else. Quite effective, in my opinion. Not sure how to “just say no” to such a child.
Music was still playing and I noticed a couple of other kids. A girl and a toddler were busily dancing away the night under the watchful eyes of an adult. Have to mention, though, that she had a few moves that seemed a bit too mature for such a young thing. But, who knows? Maybe I’m getting too old, or maybe they just grow up faster here. Still, they were fun to watch, at least for a short while.
There’s even more to see if one wanders just a bit away from the plaza center. Bongo players, a fire dancer, and hip hop teens with break-dancing moves were all happy to entertain the locals and the tourists. There were also artists busily working on their crafts in spite of the chaos. I watched one young man paint a small landscape in less than ten minutes. He then used fire to seal the paint. Having noticed that I was taking pictures he paused and made eye contact with me just before lighting the blaze. How thoughtful and impressive that he could be so in tune with such a small thing while creating in the midst of such pandemonium. I walked away impressed. In fact, I remain impressed by everything Cozumel, so far anyway, and looking forward to seeing more! Hope you can join me, Salud!