KatieKat 2007 Cruise Chapter Three

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20 February, 2007Carnaval Mazatlan
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20 February, 2007 -- Carnaval Mazatlan

Mazatlan claims that its Carnaval (Mardi Gras) celebration is the third-largest in the world, following Rio and New Orleans. We elected to stay and enjoy the spectacle.

[Carnaval Billboard] Billboards all over town featured the Carnaval.

[Kathy by temporary statue] All along the malecon (esplanade), a great variety of imposing and rather whimsical temporary statues were erected. That's Kathy next to one, which gives you an idea of their size.

It was a four-day non-stop party! First, on the Friday, cruisers were entertained at the marina by dances put on by the local Salvation Army orphanage. On Saturday the marina organized dinner and fireworks-watching. On Sunday, it was an afternoon dinner followed by the huge parade. On Monday evening, it was fireworks again. Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, it was a slightly scaled-down version of the parade, thankfully with much less of a crowd. Gosh, it's hard work having fun!

[Carnaval Billboard] In our past lives neither Kathy nor I could be accused of being party animals, but here we did try to get into the spirit (not spirits) of the event.

[View of crowd looking down from balcony] [View of crowd looking down from balcony]

View of the crowd looking down from our balcony. All along the beachfront there were podiums set up with entertainment blaring away. We later tried to join in, but were soon overwhelmed by the crush of people. A friendly happy crowd.

[Hanging Tortilla] Each year there is a burning/blowing-up of some greatly-disappoved-of aspect of something in life - called a burning of the Bad Humour. This year, it was Mr. Corn Tortilla - reflecting the huge increase in the price of corn and corn flour. Yes, Mexico is dramatically feeling the impact of corn diverted to ethanol use in the US! Hope somebody is dealing with the macroeconomic impact of this societal change! Anyway, they dramatically blew up this effigy (he was filled with fireworks) to the cheers of the assembled throng. This is a photo of Mr. Tortilla before he met his fate.

[Fireworks] The fireworks were set off from three distinct areas - two on shore at each end of the half-moon bay we were in, and one from a boat on water. Something about sea battles was the theme. Won't bore you with the dozens of photos I tried to take of the fireworks.

The following afternoon we converged on a hotel where we were feted with an excellent dinner, followed by VIP seating on raised bleachers. The parade was simply huge and easily lasted three hours. If we thought the tens-of-thousands of people at the fireworks was a crowd, it was nothing compared to all the people stretched along the many miles of the parade route. The parade started at dusk.

[View of crowd looking down from balcony] [View of crowd looking down from balcony]

Just a small portion of the parade crowd, as these photos were taken hours before the parade actually started. The crowds stretched all the way to each end of the bay.

[Truck with display] A camera aimed at the crowd and a huge truck-mounted display allowed everyone to see themselves.
The crowd loved it!

Since my camera was hand-held, I had difficulty taking decent shots in the darkness. These are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took of this event.

[Float - palace pulled by white horses] [Float prancing horses] [Float dinosaur] [Float Centaur] [Float Centaur] [Pretty girl] [Dancing girl]

You get the idea. Just a few of the dozens and dozens of floats, interspersed with dance and other groups. Strangely, no marching bands like we have in the US, and the dancers were much more conservative compared to the clippings I've seen of Rio. Unfortunately the photos of the wriggling dancing shimmying latin-dancing girls all turned out blurred :-(

The parade on the last day was held in mid-afternoon, allowing us to get a better daylight view of the floats.

[Dragon float] [dragon head closeup]

I thought this dragon was extremely well-done. It was associated with a school which used the Harry Potter Hogwarts theme.

[Girl in very long dress] This little girl's long flowing dress gives you an idea of how elaborate some of the outfits were.

[Dancing clowns] The colorful and whimsical nature of Carnaval is exemplified by these dancing kids in their clown costumes.

[Generator on float] Every float had an external noisy and smelly generator choking the dancers behind it.

[Tractor with four large wheels] The floats were pulled by a variety of vehicles, many by tractors. I simply had never seen four such large wheels on a tractor.

[Stilt-walkers] [Made-up stilt walker with fake boobs]

Rather gross, these stilt-walkers provided a humorous break for the crowd. Kathy called this my blonde-aversion therapy.

[Blonde girl with long crooked fingernails] These fingernails would be enough to make me run!

[Girl] [Girl] [Girl] [Girl] [Girl]

During the second parade, I was able to get some better photos of the floats - unfortunately, the photos were blocked by these pesky girls. Just a small sample.

[Girl in blue] [Girl in blue] [Girl in blue]

My favorite!

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