Mexico is a land of contrasts. While large corporations in Mexico do business at the cutting edge of technology, other businesses are happy to lag comfortably behind, with shop owners still behind the counter.
In this area where families stroll to the center of town or to the malecon at the lake’s edge to relax in the cool breezes on summer evenings, it should come as no surprise that traditional Lakeside events surrounding the annual September Independence Day celebration reflect the area’s by-gone days.
There is a menu full of these old-time activities this weekend here at Lake Chapala from which to choose – the problem is finding time and energy to take part in everything!
Globos – Your First Priority
Ok, so I’ll make this decision for you – then you fill the rest of the time. If you’ve never attended Ajijic’s Regatta de Globos (Event of Hot Air Balloons) on the Saturday before Independence Day (September 16) you’ve got to make time to see them.
Hurry! The Globos start heading up into the sky about 3 p.m. Saturday (tomorrow) at the soccer field across the street from Salvador’s restaurant.
Globos? Hot Air Balloons?
Sorry, this isn’t the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon show – there won’t be anyone riding in these crafts or noisy blowers inflating them, and the sky won’t be filled with towering commercial vessels. But, as far as I’m concerned, these motor-less hand-crafted aircraft are even more amazing than those that take folks over California’s wine country.
Each of the several hundred balloons which will attempt to take flight on Saturday afternoon and evening has been recently handmade from -- tissue paper. Yep, dozens of sheets of colorful tissue paper that have been meticulously (or not) fastened together – more or less air tight – with bottles and gallons of white school glue!
When I heard that, I envisioned balloons about two or three feet tall – a cute and pleasant past-time for a holiday weekend afternoon – right? Well, not quite.
While you’ll see balloons that are traditionally shaped in a riot of colors, wait till the dozens of teams get their paper and small inflation fires warmed up and start filling their masterpieces with hot air. (A
You may see that “lucky ole sun, a nearly full-sized yellow school bus, a VW Bug, hearts, butterflies and -- well the sky isn’t the limit in this sport – with any luck at all, the sky is only the beginning.
Globos seem to be much more of a traditional event in Ajijic than in other Lakeside villages – in fact, at one time the Globo competition was held in conjunction with the November Fiestas of Ajijic – the nine-day celebration honoring Ajijic’s patron, San Andres (St. Andrew).
There was just one big problem with sending tissue paper creations high into the sky until they dissolved into flames and fell, tumbling onto the mountainside at that time of year. The corn crops on the mountain were fully mature, with tinder-dry leaves. The way I heard the story was that Morley Eager, the patriarch of the family that now owns La Nueva Posada and then were the hosts of the Posada Ajijic, had organized the regatta and was very pleased with the number of entrants and the fruits of their labors.
Morley was particularly pleased with his own entry -- biggest and best balloon sponsored by the Posada. It made it off the launch site, sailed off higher in the air than most, then suddenly, in the agony of defeat, the tissue paper caught from the heat source and fell like a stone into a corn field which immediately burst into flame – destroying the farmer’s whole crop.
The story probably would have ended there…if Morley, with his typical marketing finesse hadn’t insisted that the balloons he sponsored be proudly emblazoned with not only the hotel’s name, but also his own…in several locations. Seems there was just enough of the vessel left for the farmer to identify the “owner” of the craft that wiped out his season’s work and bring the charred remains to the locally famous innkeeper.
Always the gentleman, Morley paid up, in full…even though he thought it seemed strange at the time that that particular field was said to have yielded more corn than any other space twice the size.
Don’t forget – 3 p.m. Saturday, September 11 at the soccer field at the head of the tianguis street (Calle Revolucion). Be there…or miss all the thrills, spills and laughter.