Mazatlan Carnaval, Feb. 2013
13 May 2013 | Mazatlan
cool, daytime 70's nighttime 60's
Mazatlan Carnaval, Feb. 2013
It’s time to get this blog up and running again. We were in Mazatlan in Feb. for Carnaval. The Mazatlan Carnaval is such a big event that the city has an influx of over 300,000 people from all over Mexico for the week. It had many different activities going on for an entire week, and was a lot of fun. Every night there were street parties that went until the wee hours of the morning. The music and crowds created a very exciting atmosphere. There were about ten different bands playing along the street with hordes of people dancing in the street, some in colorful costumes. Each band played different kinds of music and they were all up on big stages with lots of colorful spotlights on them. There were also lots of food vendors and other vendors selling masks and wigs and many other things.
One night there was a spectacular fireworks display staged like a sea battle. We watched it from a friends’ boat out in the bay. A navy ship came in the bay past us and anchored. They would shoot fireworks towards the shore and the shore would respond by shooting fireworks back at the ship. At the end, it appeared like the ship was blowing up with one explosion after another until the whole ship was engulfed in explosions (white fireworks) and smoke.
The theme for this years’ Carnaval was the movies. There were huge paper mache statues of actors all along the malecon (waterfront sidewalk). There was a 40 foot tall Marilyn Monroe in the well known pose with her skirt being blown up in the air. Many people were having their pictures taken while standing under her skirt and looking up!! Also Marlon Brando dressed as the Godfather, Charlie Chaplin, Cantinflas (Mexico’s comedian similar to Charlie Chaplin), and several others I can’t remember. The parade followed the theme of the movies as most of the floats were from one movie or another. The parade was big with many, many floats beautifully lit up (it was at night). Between the floats were many different children and adult groups marching to music and often dressed as characters from the movie. The final 2 floats were most eagerly awaited for because they had Brazilian women scantily clad in bikinis and big headdresses dancing and gyrating to the music. A few hours before the parade we went to a hotel for a buffet lunch and then we had seats in bleachers that the hotel had set up just for the parade. All afternoon we watched from the second floor dining room windows, while thousands of people kept arriving on the street for the parade. I’ve never seen so many people in one place at a time before, not even in Pasadena for the Rose Parade!
The last event we went to was the bullfight. Besides the regular bullfighter, there were two other types of bullfighters which we had never seen before and which were quite interesting. One was a group of ten young men. Their goal was to stop the bull with their bodies, sort of a big “hug the bull”. They would line up single file facing the bull and when the bull would charge, the first man in line would get his body on the bulls’ head between the horns and wrap his arms around his neck, then the rest of the men would surround the bull and hang on. When the bull stopped moving, one of the men would grab his tail and pull it and the bull, from side to side. When they were done, they immediately scattered away from the bull in all directions and the bull stood looking around trying to figure out what had just happened. The other bullfighter was on horseback, but not the typical horse you see covered with a big padded blanket. This bullfighter used his horse to tease the bull, as a bullfighter uses the cape to tease the bull. It was amazing to watch, like a choreographed dance between the horse and bull. The horse could spin and change directions on a dime while the bull chased him, often running in such tight circles that the bullfighter could lean back and touch the horns. The horse could run sideways and backwards almost as fast as he could go frontward. The man started the horse running frontward with the bull chasing him, then the horse gradually turned sideways so the man could reach out and touch the bulls horns, then the horse would spin a 360 to confuse the bull and then continue running. A truly amazing thing to watch!