Friday, September 19, 2008

Flat Days

Sadly, not every day in Sayulita brings waves, and the past few have been exceptionally flat. Twice yesterday we went out, hoping against hope to catch a wave and both times we returned without a single ride. And it was worse than just sitting there waiting. A strong off shore wind made it difficult to enjoy our time out, constantly having to paddle through rough chop and fighting to keep your balance.

The day was quiet in other ways too. We noticed that most shops in town were closed, and although things have always been sleepy due to it being off-season, it was unusually so. We later found out why. A local husband and father was electrocuted the night before, dying before help could come. The entire town turned out for his funeral and procession, men carrying his casket around the town, once, twice, countless laps over the course of the afternoon. In tow were his friends and grieving family, the whole town really. Two traditional Mexican brass bands, with more passion than precision, played surprisingly upbeat polka beat songs. Although this is the second funeral we've seen pass by, this one had far more passion, it was clear this was a man who everybody not only knew, but liked in this tiny town.

As we sat watching them file towards Playa de Muertos we reflected on how funerals are such private affairs in the states. I'm sure people die in our neighborhoods every week as well, but we rarely find out, and even more rarely witness their funeral. Perhaps it's the small town that makes it different here, but I suspect it says more about the Mexican culture: of close knit communities and even closer knit families. That contrary to the stoic ideal of America, here passion, good and bad is more accepted, perhaps even encouraged. There is something special about not just witnessing but participating in the passing of a good neighbor or friend, something we might just have lost a bit in our busy high tech lives, a real connection.

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