It's Carnaval week here in La Ceiba! La Ceiba is home to the biggest party in Central America. For the past 7 days, our city has played host to over 100,000 people from all over the world.
Starting last Saturday, each neighborhood in the city has hosted a carnavalcito (little carnival). Perhaps the most popular Carnivalcito is the one in El Sauce. Just down the block from our house thousands of people crowded in the streets. The same quiet 5 block stretch we walk every day took over an hour to navigate! It was shoulder to shoulder people from one end of the street to the other. Stages were set up everywhere. One band had the Chicas Samba group dancing out front. This show at the community event consisted of 4 women in tank tops and underpants shaking their butts for 2 hours to some punta music. Tom really enjoyed it.
We didn't have our camera with us that evening but this YouTube video from last year's El Sauce carnavalcito pretty much sums it up. The streets were lined with homemade games, food and drink stands, and even a hand-cranked swing ride for children!
The week culminated in the Gran Carnaval de San Isidro. We headed downtown in the sweltering heat (well over 100 degrees) and spent the morning shopping at the street vendor booths and watching people clamor for beads. Our carnaval is much like Mardi Gras, except people get beads just for yelling and waving arms. It's not necessary to show any body parts. :)
The parades started around 11am with school bands from all over Honduras. Then it was 150 Harley Davidson motorcycles from all over Central America. Next came the horses. I saw 3 of my students riding horses in the parade. The horses all pranced in a funny tiptoe trot.
Finally, the floats came down the streets carrying women in costumes dancing and throwing beads and other small kids toys.
In an effort to cool off a bit, we headed onto a side street to sit in the shade for a bit. We had been there for just one minute when 2 mariachis rode up on a bike. Tom paid them 100 Lempiras to play us 3 songs. We, and those around us, thoroughly enjoyed the performance!
By the time the parade was over, we headed back into the air-conditioned refuge of our house. We didn't stick around for the all night party in the street (El Sauce x 10) but we heard the celebrations went well into the early morning hours. All in all, it was really fun!