The town of Chila is 10 km northwest of here. Each Valentine's Day there is a great festival and awesome fireworks and we had been encouraged by many to go see it. that was the plan for the 8 of us. By the time evening rolled around only Jim and I were keen to go.
Around 9:30 p.m., we hailed a cab and asked how much it would be for the drive to Chila. 80 pesos, or about six bucks for us. We jumped in and off we went in the dark night to our unknown destination. Our driver did not have much english so it was a quiet ride.
He turned off the main highway and drove about one km and dropped us off at the Catholic Church. Indeed, masses of people were on the far side of the church, municipal police in black uniforms kept an eye out for ??, not sure what!
The church is on the corner of a large square. It was beautifully decorated inside with garlands and bouquets of lovely fresh flowers. Many people, of all ages, walked to the door, crossed themselves three times, kissed their hand, and entered. They usually just sat in a pew and spent time in prayer or contemplation. The would then rise up, repeat the crosses and quietly leave by the side door. I liked watching that. I also made note that if I got too tired walking, standing, etc., I could make my way to a back pew and rest there.
To the left of the church was a wide walkway and then some stadium seats on a steep sidehill. We stood at the top, no access or spaces below, and still we were behind about 4 other heads. We were trying to watch traditional dancing on the stage below. The were lovely to see, so grand in the old Spanish and colonial costumes. I will try to upload a video.
The band that play for the dancers looked like high school students and they were excellent! There is no hesitation in their ardour and the trills of the clarinets, and oompapas of the tubas was great fun!
We got tired of trying to see through the crowds and thought perhaps we would be able to see better from the far side of the arena/stage.
Some vendors dotted our pathway, the crowds were thick. We felt like we were the only North Americans around there - and it was a great feeling!! Families sauntered around us, all gentle and happy to be out on this lovely evening.
We did see a few drunks but they were happy and having fun with buddies.
On this far side from the church we could see big awnings so we walked toward that and saw the most interesting markets. The kiosks sold housewares, cookware, clothing, leatherwork, jewelry, underwear, food, etc. really amazing.
Back to the stage, another group of dancers to watch. We did meet Melinda, the pastor's daughter, and her husband. Nice young couple. he is Mexican and teaches surfing on a local world-famous beach.
Finally! Shortly after 11 p.m., the great fireworks display began. Several structures had been built and loaded with various types of fireworks. The main structure was about 30 metres high and loaded with a variety of designs. Near the top were the words Sr. Isidro Labrador (their venerated saint) and above that was a likeness of him. Above that was a horizontal ring with the words Chila 2013 around it. And beyond that was the finalize setup of fireworks.
All these went off in amazing order, all of us shockingly close. In fact toward the end bits and pieces were falling on us from high above. During this whole display we had a musical band right near us and their music accompanied every part of the fireworks. It tickled us, horns, clarinets, and a tuba just racing through their creative music. Very well done!
Just when we thought everything was finished we turned toward the church wall and there was a rain of waterfall fireworks. Then, after that, a big finale on the church roof.
Nobody went home from that event disappointed!!
So now, at midnight, to find a taxi home to P.E. we looked for a taxi at the corner where we had been dropped off but it was far too busy with local traffic.
We decided to walk along with the throngs back through the kiosks. It was as long as a city block, and then, all of a sudden, we were in a carnival area! The rides were definitely geared for children. It was pleasant to still feel their gentle family attitude.
We kept walking, found a street with other people walking and finally saw a P.E. taxi, he was free to pick us up and again, had a quiet trip back to town.
We quietly unlocked our gate, kept the flashlight on and quickly went to bed. Some of our crew didn't even hear us come in. They had probably been in bed for more than 2 hours!
As we went to sleep Jim said, "I like those people". I knew who he was talking about and agreed that our time in the midsts of thousands of Chila locals had been a lovely, memorable experience.
I will upload a video or two if I can....
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