Postcard from Mexico City: Mega traffic jam of Catrinas

The leering clown masks at a vendor’s stand yesterday remained largely unsold, snubbed, left hanging above the crowd. As though attending a ball demanding black tie, the denizens of D.F. stuck largely to the dress code yesterday. Masks were not part of it.

In the afternoon, La Reforma was one giant makeshift makeup studio. Cosmeticians for the day set up anywhere they could perch with formality equal to itinerant shoeshine vendors. There appeared no dearth of eager clients waiting to have their faces blanketed in the eerie thick white base transforming them into Las Catrinas or their bone-men counterparts.

We strolled over to a museum in Chapultepec Park to while away a little time before the 7 o’clock start time of the Mega Procesion de Catrinas at the landmark Angel of Independence. Then we returned and perched there. Waiting. And people-watching. And waiting.

We were definitely not alone in our anticipation of the people’s parade marching by. But the desfile never actually appeared there, at what was billed as its starting point.

The closed center lane to traffic in the block ahead leading toward the Zocolo was jammed with costumed people. Crammed like sardines in a can. If they were making any forward progress at all it was at a snail’s pace.

A friend reported las Catrinas did parade by several blocks away, but hundreds, probably more than a thousand, of those stuck in the bottleneck at the beginning failed to make it out of the first block. At 8 o’clock, truckloads of police started pulling in behind them, slowly nudging the crowds of would-be marchers out of the way to reopen La Reforma to traffic.

Instead of being all dressed up with no place to go, perhaps many of las Catrinas eventually made their way to the Zocolo where the costume party could continue.

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