Monday, October 17, 2005


A walk on the Malecon is a great way to start the day. I am getting out now most mornings. Day breaks late around here, a quirk of the time zone, and we all leave the house at first light, about 0730. Dave and Ray wait on the corner for the bus and I head for the beach, about 8 blocks away from our apartment on the hill.

The Malecon is a paved promenade that parallels the waterfront in the heart of town. The waves lap on one side and taxis rush by on the other. It is a lively, comfortable place. People sit and people stroll, they walk their dogs and run, they carry water bottles and babies, they seem to be going somewhere or not. It is a place that gives this town a center and does it by being on the edge.

We went to the Malecon last month to witness the celebration of independence. Thousands of people were there. Politicians had speeches to give and soldiers beat their drums and waved flags. A huge fireworks display had bloomed from the sidewalk overnight. Huge loudspeakers were everywhere and bands were playing. Vendors had food and drink and eggshells filled with confetti and cotton candy and everything festive for sale. The culmination of the night was scheduled for 1100 pm and by 1000 the crowd was drawing closer to the main plaza. Right on time, the mayor emerged onto a city hall balcony, called out the names of revolutionaries one by one and the crowd, all together, shouted "Viva!" After all of the heroes had been heralded, the mayor clanged a big bell and "Viva Mexico!" rang out over and over. El Grito, it is called. The Shout.

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