Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SURVIVING SEMANA SANTA IN MEXICO: Stock Up, Stay Home, & Sneak Out for A Look Once in A While

The Beaches Become Crowded with Umbrellas and People
     During the week before Easter, Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the week after, Semana Pascua (Easter Week), our small village with a population of about 5000, explodes with people who fly in from the U.S. for spring break and Mexican Nationals who come here for vacation. Sayulita expects an estimate of 17,000 to 21,000 tourists to visit, depending on how many busloads of people come in each day.
     It's a scary thing to see for many who live here. Some restaurant owners close up and take their vacation to avoid the masses. Some shops don't open to avoid shop-lifting. Many snowbirds leave to return to their homes north of the border, saddened that the generally peaceful town is about to be invaded.
Lots More Porta-Potties to Handle the Crowds
     Grupo Pro Sayulita brought in many porta-potties, paid for trash pick-up services, and provided trash bags and extra trash containers for the mounds of garbage that is produced during this holiday. Volunteers work hard to clean the beach daily. This holiday creates an overwhelming assault on our small beach town.
      We are expats, meaning Sayulita is our home. We stay most of the year, leaving only when the rainy summer brings uncomfortable heat and humidity, and the electricity bill from running our one air conditioner at night is more expensive than the cost of driving our motorhome to Oregon.
     We love living in Sayulita. But during the two weeks of Semana Santa and Semana Pascua, we become hermits much of the time. In the weeks before Semana Santa, we stock up as though the town will run out of food and water. And it does.
We Stock Up On Purified Drinking Water and Wine
     We stock up on garafons (5-gallon refillable plastic bottles) of purified drinking water in case the Ciel water truck runs out of water before he makes it to our door. Some days there is so much traffic, pedestrians and vehicles, that the Ciel truck can't possibly make it up our street. We don't want to run out of water or wine!
We Stock the Freezer with Healthy Meals, Bread, & Tortillas
     We stock the freezer with healthy meals we've made in our crock-pot weeks before the food ran out in town.We stock up on wine, toilet paper, groceries including bread, peanut butter, cheese, and paper towel because the town will run out of these things. We found out yesterday that if we had wanted steak or hamburger in the freezer, we should have purchased it a week ago. The town is already out of meat.
Mi Lola's Pizza Prep Station and Oven
     We do venture out to take a peek at the town occasionally. We found a peaceful escape and delicious pizza at Mi Lola’s restaurant. The walk there was interesting, with the rows of vendors tables displaying colorful trinkets and the tourists throwing rocks at the beer and wine bottle-breaking booth. On the walk home, we always look for some fresh fruit and vegetables to purchase, as these will disappear from the stores by Easter weekend.
Pom-Poms Are a Hit with the Tourists this Year
     But then we needed to return home for the quiet of our hideaway. I find it’s a perfect time to sit at my desk and proofread the final version of my novel scheduled to be published in May. It is peaceful, sitting at my desk in our casita with the background sounds of the constant chattering of parrotlets in the mango trees, hens and roosters in the street, other tropical birds, chirping, and Bella barking at tourists who walk too close to our gates.
     A couple of days of hiding and we decided to venture out again, somewhere calm and peaceful. A good way to stay calm amongst the crowds is to take yoga classes. Yoga with Jim Gallas at the Don Pedro Palapa, overlooking the ocean, gives us the feeling of being a million miles from the chaos.
Peaceful View during Yoga Class at Don Pedro's Palapa
     Zumba is also a good escape from the mobs. We stay fit during Semana Santa by doing Zumba at home or at Debora’s class at El Club. I cancelled my Zumba classes for now because my students had either flown the coop or were hiding at home, avoiding the crowds, too. It’s a good time to practice new Zumba choreography to Desde Esa Noche - Thalia ft. Maluma.
We Remove the Trash from the Recycle Bins Every Few Days
     When we get cabin fever, we clean out the garbage dumped into the recycle bins we’ve placed in our neighborhood. Jon will help with the weekly recycle pickup from our eight bins and the delivery of the plastic and glass to the Sayulita Recycle Center. We pick up trash on the streets on our half-mile walk from the beach-side recycle bin to our home. We’ve done our community service for the week. 
Jon & Mey Collect the Recycling & Haul it to the Recycle Center
It’s worth it to hunker down and survive Semana Santa in Sayulita. When the crowds disappear, the tourists returning to work and school, this town becomes ours again. May is one of the most enjoyable months in Sayulita. 
Sayulita Beaches Return to Normal After Semana Santa
     We will return to the quiet beaches for long walks, boogie-boarding when there are waves, and Stand Up Paddleboarding when the ocean is calm. We will be glad we endured Semana Santa and Semana Pescua in Sayulita.
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Terry L Turrell, Author
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  1. Great article, Terry. We too are hunkering down here in Mazatlan. It is la vida loca aqui! We avoid the beaches, make early morning trip to the grocery store, and walk to some restaurants in less popular areas. All in all, it's not so bad!

  2. Hi Linda and Don,
    Thanks for reading my article and for your great comment.
    No, it's not so bad. The key is knowing what to expect, planning ahead for food and water, and avoiding the beaches for two weeks (except during beach cleanups). After it's over, it will seem so peaceful (and clean) at the beach. Nice to hear from you!