Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hey - No One Told Me I Needed to Pack My Sparkly High Heeled Boots!

Last week we went to a Mexican rodeo. Friends (Ken and Joanne) that we had met at the local sports bar had invited us to go along, after hearing about it while Ken was out on a trail ride.

The rodeo was being held at a little town about 10 km east of us - Vallee de Banderas. It is quite a lovely little town, uniquely non-reliant on tourism (other than the occasional group of ATVers who roar through there as part of their 'Jungle ATV tour').

Ken and Joanne were travelling with their Mexican friend in his truck. Gary decided he would come along, so he rode with us. Dell and Angel, and Angel's brother, decided they would come along too, but followed us in their car.

Off we headed to the rodeo. The drive out there is quite beautiful - we had taken a few bike rides that way, so will share more on the scenery in another post.

We got to the rodeo grounds, and found out that the rodeo consisted of a bull riding extravaganza, and a spectacular stage performance to be held later that evening. Apparently two very famous Mexican performers were scheduled to appear. The stage was just being put together when we arrived, and it would rival anything used at home. We were immediately impressed.

The rodeo did not appear to be starting for quite a while, so a group of us headed on foot towards the town's 'centro'. Like most Mexican towns, the centro is very pretty, with a beautiful old church, and a large square where people gather. They also had a unique gazebo and two large fountains.
We realized that, in addition to the rodeo and musical performance, there was a fair, complete with a small midway and booths, distributed around the centro. There also appeared to be a parade readying for start, and a mixture of biblically-inspired characters participating in the parade (we saw a couple of different versions of Jesus walking around, a few virgin Marys, many angels, etc.). It was quite a contrast from the very non-religious activities that were being held up the road at the rodeo.

Back to the rodeo - there were 14 riders scheduled to compete. They had a magnificent 17-piece orchestra that played throughout the event (in fact, they had TWO different bands participating) - and they were LOUD. Their rodeo clown consisted of a skinny, creepy looking little fellow who dressed in drag (long platinum blonde wig, short skirt, big boobs) and who was introduced as 'Monica Lewinsky'. There was always a long delay between riders as they roped and brought the bull into the chute, so the orchestra would loudly play traditional latin music, while 'Monica' would dance 'sexy sexy' (actually he was a fabulous dancer, and had surprisingly great legs for a guy). As soon as the bull ride started, however, Monica would exit the ring rapidly.

They also had a caballero riding a beautiful horse that was trained to 'dance', but it didn't appear that he was part of the entertainment. In fact, he just hung around the side of the grounds and drank a lot of cerveza. Once in a while he and his horse would perform some dazzling maneuvers, but there seemed to be no attention paid to him.

Their bull riding events are very different from ours at home. Instead of tying their hands in, the Mexican riders gain points from riding 'no hands'. They literally jump on the bull's back - the gate is pulled - and off they go. Many of the bulls seemed to run out of steam or lose interest partway through the ride, however, and just stop dead. The caballeros in the ring would run up and either boot the bull or pull his ears in an effort to get the ride going again.

Once the rodeo was over, people began preparing themselves for the stage show. It turned out to be another magnificent 17-piece orchestra, and a latin singer. Being the only 8 non-Mexicans in the large crowd, it was not surprising that we didn't know any of the words and could not appreciate the music to its fullest.

In fact, we felt like a bunch of slobs, as virtually every other person in the crowd was dressed for the big event - the beautiful senoritas were in their sexy, sexy tops and tight pants with high heeled boots of every color (white, black, silver, pink!!!), and the caballeros were in their finest pressed jeans and shirts. Us gringos were in casual tank tops, shorts and sandals - how embarrassing.

Realizing we could not sit through another 5-minutes of LOUD 17-piece orchestra performance, we decided to make our way back to Bucerias. As Terry had consumed a bit too much cerveza, I was given the responsibility of driving home, to which I was a little apprehensive (Mexican roads, Mexican drivers and night time do not mix). The only real issue we had was almost hitting a donkey that decided to park its ass in the road.

Another cultural experience to cross off the list.

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