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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/14/2011 - Christmastime in La Paz

Just looking around, it's pretty hard to believe that Christmas is only 11 days away. I took a walk around town yesterday to get a few photos of what Christmas looks like down here. There are a few minor decorations in some of the store windows and you see an occasional Christmas tree.

We saw some trees for sale at City Club that were from very near our old stomping grounds. Weird to look at a tag on a tree in La Paz and see it's from Sublimity, Oregon. Anyway, Christmas just doesn't seem to be as big a deal here as in the States. Of course, part of why it might seem that way is that we don't have a TV so we don't know if they experience the same bombardment of Christmas commercials here as we did up north.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that Christmas down here is a completely un-commercialized affair. It definitely isn't.

This Coca-Cola tree is a backdrop for an upcoming concert on the malecón which is apparently sponsored by Coke. But that's not the half of it. Starting last week sometime, the vendor booths moved in downtown.

For a good 2-3 weeks, part of the streets downtown are blocked off from vehicle traffic and are lined with plywood and blue tarp booths selling what can only be described as pure junk. Cheap toys and clothes and lots of them. Oh, a few of the booths are just extensions of the stores behind them and they're selling whatever they sell in the store and a few are selling handicrafts. But mostly they're selling Barbie dolls and cheap guitars and stretch pants made to look like really tight jeans. On the plus side, there are more food vendors downtown during this time than there usually are. You can even get corn dogs (be still my heart).

There were some ladies selling fund-raising stuff on the zócalo:

And there was a band:

As you can see, the band is made up of people of all ages so I'm not sure whether it's a club, a class, or what. Can you guess what song they're playing in this photo? Look at their fingering closely. Got it? If you said "Obla-Dee-Obla-Dah", you're right! Good job.

So what are our plans for Christmas? We don't have any and it feels great. If nothing else comes up, we'll probably go out for dinner somewhere. After all, we should be in Mazatlán by then and we'll have a whole new city of eateries to explore.

BTW, you may have noticed that I've made a point of including the written accent in Mazatlán in recent blogs. That's to reinforce to me (and to you too) that it's NOT pronounced MAH-zot-lon but rather mah-zot-LON. I've been pronouncing it wrong for so long that I'm having a tough time adjusting and I need these constant reminders.


Fixed Carbon said...

Steve: My son Erik and I fly into La Paz the day after Christmas, stay the night, then catch a bus to Loreto for some sailing. What is a good La Paz hotel? Can we stop by and say hi?
Regards, Don

Steve and Lulu said...

We'd love to have you stop by, but, alas, we won't be here. We're heading out to Mazatlán sometime next week. As far as good hotels in La Paz, I can recommend two that I've had experience with. One is Casa Buena (http://www.casabuena.net/) and the other is Baja Bed & Breakfast (http://www.bajabedandbreakfast.com/). We've stayed at both and both are great. Baja B&B is located closer to downtown. Matter of fact, it's right in the heart of town and a very easy walk down the hill to the bus station (about 3 blocks). If you stay there tell Cecilia that we sent you. Probably won't get you anything but it should make her smile. Cecilia and Antonio speak excellent English.

Have fun in Baja.


Fixed Carbon said...

Thanks Steve: Good sailing! I recall Mazatlan from a surfing trip in 1968. Astounded my pals by eating tacos made with meat picked from a steamed horse head, from a cart on the street. Good waves. My son was back in 2008 on a similar senior year safari. He couldn't find the horse head tacos, however. He and I are really looking forward to our trip. Best wishes, Don