Our next planned stop following Alamos was Mazatlan, and the 3rd largest Carnaval in the world. But, as the drive from Alamos would have been long, we stopped in Las Glorias, a small, very small, beach town, for two days.
One of the books we are using – Traveler’s Guide to Mexico Camping, written by Mike and Terri Church – is the Bible amongst RVers in Mexico. It says the following about Las Glorias: “We wouldn’t consider driving South without stopping [here]”, and “This has rapidly become a very popular destination…” . Both of these statements may have been true in 2009, the latest edition of the book, but the perceived violence over the last few years in Mexico has changed things: RV traffic from the US and Canada has slowed dramatically and when we arrived at the camp ground we were just the 3rd vehicle there.
But luckily, later in the day, we got to observe a phenomenon that has become rare in Mexico: the arrival of an RV caravan. In the past, many US and Canadian RVers would join RV caravans of up to 20 vehicles, and spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days traveling together through Mexico. Talking with the owner of the Las Glorias campground, he mentioned that 4 years ago, they would have 30 or so caravans arrive every year. This year, he’s counting on three…
We, the inhabitants of the three vehicles already in the campground, had front row seats as the 20 giant RVs pulled in. Comfortably seated, with a beer in hand, we pontificated on how we would have done a much better job of maneuvering and backing our vehicles in to the sites.
Two days later, we drove to Mazatlan. An easy drive; the roads, albeit the toll sections are pricey at times, are good and rarely crowded – Carnaval, here we come!
Actually, we had already had a Carnaval appetizer in Alamos. The Alamos Carnaval lasts only three days, but in hindsight, perhaps we should have stayed.
The Alamos Carnaval was a local affair with little glitz, but a good feeling. The highlights of the first Carnaval evening – the only one we attended – was the presentation of the contestants fot the Carnaval Queen, and the burning in effigy of “the bad guy” – kinda like a religious pinata.
The Mazatlan Carnaval in contrast was big, commercial, and did not have the local feel of the Alamos one. The theme was movies, “Lanterna Magica”, and hence the floats were all (US) movie themed.
The end of the Carnaval parade had the coolest grouping: 20 or so Mexicans cowboys (?), ranchers(?), mounted on beautiful horses. And horses that would “dance” when commanded by their riders. As soon as I can, I am buying new jeans – which Karen will iron every day – button down shirts – which Karen will iron with huge amounts of starch every day – and a Mexican cowboy hat. Great look!
The Carnaval parade, which was the final event in the weeklong Carnaval celebration, was low key and family friendly. Not quite the parade of debauchery I was expecting. Ah well, next time, we’re going to Rio.