Written on Fat Tuesday, two days ago:
I dodged warily among a half dozen horses at the cobblestoned corner of Aldama and Constitución as I waited late this morning for the Carnaval parade to began. The horses were itching for a chance to dance to a brass and drum band that was warming up. I also kept an eye out for the masked scrum eager to grab an audience member and toss him or her on a mattress on a truck bed full of flour. Congas and maracas practiced beating time for the Carnaval Queen.
An hour after the parade ended I stood in the middle of Constitución, beer in hand, and looked up five long blocks towards the mountains that edge our lake. A bus was bearing down on me, still at a distance, one of the white ones with red trim that announce it’s headed for Chapala. Nothing odd in that, but it was followed by a billowing white cloud, remains of the many kilos of flour thrown at today’s parade bystanders by the slightly scary, grotesquely masked sayacas.
And two hours after that, workers arrived at our casa to carry three huge full and planted terra-cotta pots—each about the size and weight of a burro, and at least as unwieldy—many back-breaking paces across the comedor and sala, through the patio and up twenty-three narrow steps to the mirador. Three small wiry guys laughed and humped their loads without incident—a typical Mexican job. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Tonight there will be music and fiestas all over town.