To truly learn a place, you have to dive in, participate, get involved and not just be a bystander. The potentially mundane takes on a new view as you feel connected to the community as a resident vs. tourist.
Kirby and I have been trying to do that wherever we go, so this feels less like a “trip” or even a “vacation” and more like our everyday lives, which is our intention. And, what I truly love in Mexico is that there is always a party or celebration happening. Nearly every week, there is some form of official celebration.
This weekend is Founders Weekend in La Paz.* The date that Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico over 450 years ago, complete with a kitchy reenactment of Cortes walking off the ship into the water and storming the beach (followed by live music, fireworks and lots of food, of course).
Last night was an event similar to events we see in many American cities (e.g. “the bite of, the taste of”) – with culinary booths from restaurants around the city to show off their food and wine. It was a fundraiser to help feed low income kids and keep them in school.
We showed up and immediately knew that we had “missed the memo”. Everyone was in white, except for us and a few others. Apparently, in Mexico, wearing all white is another way to demonstrate cocktail or formal attire and is known as the “Mexican Tuxedo”. Men were in their finest Guayaberas and all the women were in different flavors of white dresses. It was easy to spot the “gringos” because most of us weren’t wearing white.
We have hosted or attended our share of “white parties”, but this crowd was so large, it was beautiful to see such a huge gathering dressed in this way. And of course, we felt a little foolish not knowing it in advance, but hey, that’s how you learn, right? The venue was equally beautiful – set on the beach in an old abandoned cement plant.
We were pleased to meet some new people, eat some great food, drink some great wine, and listen to some great music.
When traveling, how do you seek out new experiences and get to know the locals?
VIVA LA MEXICO!
*Just a reminder that Cinco de Mayo doesn’t mean much in Mexico. It’s not Independence Day in Mexico (that is in September). Cinco de Mayo is really only significant in a small town called Puebla from the Battle of Puebla against France. If anything the significance of Cinco de Mayo is an important reminder of how Mexico helped the USA to fight/win our Civil War.