We back tracked to Mazatlán on Feb 5th, via an 8 hour bus ride – each way – to enjoy the Mazatlan Carnaval. That was a fabulous ride through the country side and the Carnaval was a real kick. We managed to make reservations a few weeks ago for a nice hotel on the historic square where bands and street vendors started coming to life at 6:00 p.m. We met up with Dan and Tammy of SV Anjuli, met some new friends – Rob and Susan on SV Athanor – Seattle, Wash. and thoroughly enjoyed being a land tourist taking part in the festivities.
The Carnaval is a 118 year old tradition, the third largest in the world. The theme was
“Mazatlantida: La alegoría que emergió de las olas” (The allegory that emerged from the waves), a theme which is in keeping with the recent tradition of choosing relatively inscrutable carnaval themes.”
Six Bands on stages were set up spanning the 3 1/2 mile Olas Atlas malecon. Latino, Mariachi, Jazz, and various Pop music blared as people of all ages danced shoulder to shoulder and shuffled from one band location to another.
The traditional Carnaval ritual “Quema del Mal Humor (Bad Mood Burning) is the incineration of a giant puppet. It is generally modeled after an unpopular public figure, the effigy is hanged and burned, exploding like a massive piñata without the candy. This year was none other than – – – Donald Trump ! The crowds cheered and roared with laughter as Donald was motored down the malecon hoisted from a crane.
The ‘Naval Battle’ fireworks display representing the battle with France was lit from the beach just over our heads, the raining ashes continued to burn as they floated toward us. Music and lights accompanied the fireworks to the impressive grand finale. No expense was spared there.
We left after the fireworks, it was well after midnight as the younger generation crowds were just getting started in front of the band stages. Outside our hotel the crowds and bands lingered well after 4:00 a.m. At 5:00 a.m the cleanup crew with gas powered leafblowers started their engines blowing garbage and people away. For our 3 night stay this was the evening routine.
The Grand Parade on Sunday afternoon started at 5:30. Dan and Tammy were able to get tickets for seating on a hotel balcony. Vacant lots lining the malecon were transformed into balconies, some engineer put a lot of thought into saving money and resources. Platforms were built with old pallets, the supporting posts were tree limbs, and the cross “beams” were 1″ x 2″ boards all pounded in with shiny nails.
Some people brought step ladders to tower over the crowd. Try that in the U.S? We tried to estimate the number of people, 3 1/2 miles of people on the streets, sitting on rooftops and balconies, hotels suites – uncountable.
The float displays were dazzling. The Carnaval queen’s float was most impressive. There was a float of prior years’ queens, some of them were close to 70 – 80 years old. There were several Mexican company floats (sponsors of the Carnaval such as GasPasa, a Propane company not medicinal product) that had high powered stereo systems with skimpy costume dancers. There were Dance School floats and their students danced for miles dressed in beautiful flowing costumes. There was a float of speedo clad young men dancing to the beat of wild drum music, the crowd clapped and cheered.
Another activity to add to your list of travels.