Saturday, May 26, 2007

Being 15 in Chacala, Part 1

Chacala has been filled with semi-extravagant kid birthday parties lately. But today is a big Quinceniera party. A party for a girl during 15. It’s the second Quincenera party I have been aware of since I came to Chacala. They probably have been others I didn’t notice. Or get invited too. I have no idea how to spell Quincinera, and it isn't in any of my dictionaries. Oh well.

The first one was over near Trini’s and Beatriz’s during the first or second summer I was in Chacala. The music came from about 10 giant speakers and went on from about 1pm until maybe 2 or 3am. Lots of good food and visiting.

This fiesta is in the parking lot of the restaurant owned by the grandparents of the girl whose 15th birthday we will be celebrating. My role is mainly helping set-up. And taking some photos.At 7am, the morning of the big day, we cleaned the church and the churchyard, and did some decorating. I got to trim out the older flowers from four large bouquets that were already in the church. And I raked outside and helped burn the debris. And swept inside. I forgot to bring my camera, but I did bring my rake and broom. I have been involved in enough cleaning parties in Chacala to know to bring my own tools.Some of the young women were blowing up balloons with an air compressor. And making a giant balloon arch to go over the entrance to the church. And then another one for the fiesta site, down at the beach.

I came home in time to catch the town water to fill my tinaco, and to water my plants, and wash some clothes. Then I went down to the restaurant. The restaurant parking lot had been closed, and cleaned and raked with new sand. All the beer and refresco coolers were moved out of the restaurant and under the palms. And a giant blue tarp was set up around the restaurant’s barbeque-outdoor stove area. The parking lot looked transformed.The actual cleaning of the parking lot at the restaurant was pretty well done by the guys. But some of the young woman were doing balloons again. For arches and to tie on the trees. And arranging the tables.The grandmother told me there were going to be 75 tables. The Coke truck had left a whole bunch of extra tables and chairs. Coke loans the tables and chairs for parties. Same with beer companies.This event is a pretty big deal. The family has been preparing for this event for months. It’s a kind of dress-up affair. I don’t have any appropriate clothes, and I haven’t figured out what to do about that. I’ll figure something out.

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