This week is Semana Santa, which translates to Holy Week. It begins Palm Sunday and ends Easter Sunday. The kids are out of school, the families return home for the holidays, people flock to the beach and there are tourists everywhere. It also marks the 2nd year anniversary since I was here last, on a brigade with my classmates. I have been told that on the more religious days there is usually a big fiesta at night. Something akin to a religious mullet perhaps, pray in the day and party in the night? There have been several services held this week and several temples set up in front of houses and storefronts. Yesterday there was even a service on parade, where they had a truck with speakers to project the words of the priest as the congregation marched behind singing and carrying statues.
This week started as business per usual for me. I worked in the clinic on Monday and in the hospital on Tuesday. It was busier than what I had been told to expect, at least in the mornings. However by afternoon there was hardly anyone around and the time seemed to inch along. At the clinic I had the chance to catch up with Chumbo and at the hospital I talked to the girls who worked at the admissions counter. Wednesday and Thursday were spent in the office, getting things ready for the next brigade, doing research and helping reset up the workstations.
On Friday the family whom I rent from invited me to join them at the beach. They had gone the previous day as well but as I was working I didn’t manage to make it back in time to join them. We had a great time; it was Ashley, Rubenia, Emerita, Neyelli, Gorman and I who went. We walked over to a beach close by and spent the afternoon. The night before they had asked me about my “traje de baño” which I took to be my bathing suit, and I said yes I would bring it to the beach to go swimming with them. Apparently there was a bit of translation gap, or perhaps I just missed something as it seems only the kids wear bathing suits here. Everyone else brings outfits to the beach, shorts, t-shirts, jeans, dresses; and they actually swim in them! It seems one-sies have made a huge comeback here (I knew I should have packed mine) and that is what most of the family wore to the beach and in the water. Needless to say I felt just a bit out of place in my bikini, so I tried to fit in by wearing my cover-up in the water but was told by Emerita that it was better to wear my shorts in than my top. In the spirit of fitting in I actually swam in shorts, and of course still got teased which I found was the better option than encouraging the cat calls from neighbouring tables. The beach was filled with people, there were little huts stationed everywhere for drinks and food, as well as competing music. There was health station with a doctor where they were handing out condoms, some of which were then used as balloons or flotation devices in the water – safety first none-the-less. Speaking of safety the family told me that the day before they had gone to the Punta and that a sign had been put up to warn others about the currents. Although I knew it would be up, I was still happy to hear that it had been done and that people were taking note of it. After some food, some drinks and lots of swimming we made our way back home trying to keep in the shade for a break from the heat and so that the girls didn’t get darker than they already were. It seems my lily whiteness is coveted here as the family used stronger sunscreen then even I was putting on!
Today was a lazy morning with a little bit of shopping and a stop by the Cornerhouse for a chat and a celebrity juice. In the afternoon I made my way to Los Angeles as it was Maya’s 2nd Birthday Party. Maya is my co-worker and friend Angela’s little girl so I wasn’t going to miss the party. It was lovely. Maya looked adorable and lots of her friends came, although she seemed much more interested in playing with her uncle, her cousins or her mom than most anything else. It was Tinkerbell themed, with an appropriate piñata, homemade chocolate cake and of course lots of music. At the end there was even an explosion of birthday confetti for her. I made my way back home before it got dark and spent some time wandering around town with Ashley to see what was going on in town as Semana Santa is coming to a close, school is starting back up on Monday and the next brigade comes in tomorrow.