Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feliz Compleanos in Chacala

Chacala celebrates birthdays in a really big way, especially for kids. I am really amazed at the amount of money that is spent on birthdays for kids 1 to 5 years old. And older too, but especially for the little kids.But I went to a birthday in Chacala a few days ago. It was my kind of party, low key but full of energy somehow. And happy kids and Moms. And family members.

And I actually had the experience of actually being late to a social event. A first for me in Chacala. The organizer said the event would be in the late afternoon, and I said 4 or 5? And I thought she said, maybe later.So I wandered over about 5pm, assuming I would be early, as usual. It was in the late afternoon, and the party was held under big a metal roof. It was really a garage area, but it worked great for a birthday party.

But much to my surprise, the party was going full blast when I arrived. It was the best birthday I have been to in Chacala. Lots of games for kids and adults, and a very relaxed and social atmosphere. I really liked it.

There was even had red jello for the food. I haven’t had red jello since I was in the hospital. Red jello and chicken broth for three days straight. In Mexican hospital for Gringos, Europeans, and well-off Mexicans. I don’t think that would have been the diet at a Securo (public) hospital, but who knows. I am surprised here every day.I really had a nice time, mostly taking pictures and hanging out. The kids were around 5 to 10 years old, some younger and some older. And lots of Moms were there, and mostly in the party mood. It was a nice party, from my point of view. With homemade decorations and food, and no paid EVENT COORDINATORS. Or loud voices shouting directions over microphones. Or loud bands. playing non-music sounds. I liked it a lot.
The party included some of the kids dancing, in a kind a of contest. And the mothers playing that game where you “out” if you aren’t sitting in a chair as the music stops. Musical chairs. Very fun.

I think childhood memories come flooding back at birthday parties, at least for me. I grew up in a neighborhood in Los Angeles where there were a lot of wealthy families. So I got invited to some pretty amazing birthday parties as a little girl. At one party, at a famous comedian's home, was held around the swimming pool. Maids helped us change into swimming suits in individual, private dressing "tents". At another party, a dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (site of "Pretty Woman") we had a luncheon served by waitresses, and then played party games with amazing prizes. One little broke his arm during "Musical Chairs", which kind of brought the party to an end. And the game where everyone has balloons tired to their ankles. Everyone tries to stomps everyone else’s balloons. The winner is that last person with a balloon. The birthday boy won the two main games. Legally. I thought that was really nice.I think there might have been the traditional piƱata before I arrived. I could hear a lot of yelling as I walked over.
I loved it that there were lots of family members there, including Arturo, Pablo, the birthday boy’s young Uncle, who has just graduated from a 2 ½ year college program for tourism. Including English and computer skills.On a different topic entirely, a little baby girl was born here last month, and another local woman is well on her way to having her third child. That seems to be the number of choice for young Mom’s around Chacala. Three kids.I think babies came to mind as I was writing this because I remember the mother’s pregnancy and the birth-day of a number of the kids at the party. I like that feeling. I have had my camera for a year now, this week. And I have photos of many of the kids in town, starting from then. I like looking at how they have changed, or not changed. And how much some of them look like their Mom or Dad. Or a grandparent.

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