Carnival in La Paz was a blast

By JOHN M. DERBY
TIMES PUBLISHER
March 9, 2017

Having been to the Carnival at Rio and the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, we were ready for anything when we drove south 250 miles to what is regarded as the biggest carnival in Baja California, Mexico.
It lived up to its reputation in many ways, with seven days of parading down the Malicon (main boulevard running next to the sea).
In other ways it was different. Lots of police security, not so wild and little or no crime. In addition, the Carnival de La Paz is very much a family affair with young children on some of the floats and young dancers in the street.
There was no nudity, but very attractive ladies dressed in sequin-laden dresses, and usually music on every float. This proved to be a problem when the floats ganged up too close and the music from one float overlapped the next.
One thing for sure was the parade watchers could hear the music and a pair of ear plugs should have been passed out for every person in attendance.
Our hotel could not have been better situated for the parade as we had front row seats from the front steps. This also became a problem when we wanted to go to sleep. Even with all the windows shut, the sound was deafening until three or four in the morning.
It was so loud that we tried to dampen the sound by stuffing wet toilet paper in our ears. It barely helped.
The parade started at 6 p.m. and alternated direction every night. Each night the parade and the number of carnival fans increased until Fat Tuesday, when a crowd from 5 to 7,000 lined the street and the parade lasted about two hours. Then the carnival took over the street.
Lined on each side of the street were food venders, carnival games and people selling everything from carnival masks to jewelry and toys. There were rides and games of chance, much like our own county fair.
Every two or three blocks was another stage with a live band and people dancing to the music which had that traditional three step beat. Bands switched during the evening and the music never seemed to take a break.
We went to bed well before midnight with two pillows used like a clam shell to muffle the sound.
Our reaction to the Carnival de LaPaz: Two Thumbs Up.


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