It’s fiesta time again. And this is the biggest one of the year. The Fiesta Santiago Apostol. Nothing is done in half measures here. And yes, it’s a fiesta because St. James is the patron saint of the city. And it’s three long weeks of fiesta.

There have been activities in the plaza every single night since it started; programs that typically involves loud music. It started 11 days ago and ends August 4th. But today is the crescendo because July 25th is St. James Day celebrating the Apostle James or in Spanish, Santiago Apostol.

The city has been a madhouse of activity all day. People flocking in from everywhere: the states, outlying areas, and other parts of Mexico because Sahuayo throws one wild romp of a party on the 25th.

The central cathedral has been shooting off explosive rockets from their rooftop every 20 minutes. The rockets are so loud they set off car alarms. When the wind direction is right, I catch burning paper fragments on my rooftop.

The real party doesn’t start until after dark and won’t end until the very earliest, like four or five o’clock tomorrow morning. So imagine a procession of hundreds of men wearing costumes with tall ornate masks winding their way through the city, accompanied by music and laughing screaming kids; going on all night long.

2012 Fiesta Santiago Apostol

2012 Fiesta Santiago Apostol

I missed it last year because I was biking through the Michigan Great Lakes region. In 2012, I partied all night long with the best of them. But I was comfortable, surrounded by my neighbors on Victoria St.

This year I am staying home. Call it intuition but I believe there might be trouble out there on those streets for me tonight. I say that because of three important pieces of corroborating evidence.

First, I had a conversation with a policeman downtown a couple of days ago. I asked him if he was jazzed about the 25th. He looked at me through sad eyes and talked to me from his perspective, that of a cop and said, “Lots of drunks (I knew that already). Lots of fights, some stabbings, and sometimes murders.”

Secondly, I had my complete fill of murder yesterday. I also had a most sobering and thought provoking reconciliation with the associated dangers that can come from the most simple misunderstandings.

And third – and most conclusively –  on my way home from the Mercado this afternoon a guy stopped me and said, “Don’t get drunk tonight.”

I laughed it off saying, “Don’t you get drunk either”, thinking that was what lots of guys were saying to each other today knowing full well that they’d be out drinking on the streets until dawn. But this guy didn’t laugh back. He looked very serious when he said again, “Don’t get drunk tonight.”

And you know what? I won’t.

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