Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cry The Beloved Country

Semana Culiacana concluded with the Grito de Independencia, which, because we had the press pass equivalent of the Wonka Golden Ticket, we got to watch from the balcony of Culiacán City Hall.  All the local news luminaries were there, as was Miss Sinaloa, and a couple hundred of the city's richest, best-connected people.  (Presumably there's an entire class of rich, well-connected people in Culiacán who don't attend these gatherings for fear of being gunned down by yet another group of rich, well-connected people, but that's another story.)

Also in attendance, of course, was the governor, Mario "MaLoVa" López Valdez.  We know nothing about the man or his politics - presumably, like all his predecessors, he became the top official in Sinaloa by running on a "tough on crime" platform - but we can state unequivocally that he possesses the largest, squarest head of any politician, nay, any human being, we have ever seen.  Seriously.  It's not just square - it's cubical.  Perfectly cubical.  Scientists in Geneva have published peer-reviewed papers about it.

We also know that he placed the final shrimp on the the World's Largest Shrimp Cocktail last year.  In other words, the man's a champion.

He also travels everywhere with his frumpy, age-appropriate wife walking several steps behind, and his smokin' hot teenage daughter, Sofía, on his arm.  A couple of years ago, when her dad was a senator, Sofía was widely considered a favorite to win the Miss Sinaloa title.  The day after MaLoVa was named the PRI candidate for governor, Sofía abruptly withdrew from the contest so she could "devote more time to her studies."  We assume the real reason involved a sex tape with [Ed note: joke deleted on the emphatic-to-the-point-of-panic advice of counsel.]

Malova, Jr. 

So anyway, the grito hour approaches, the the night turns into one of those elaborate and over-formal ceremonies that Mexico does better than anyone.  The military band strikes up, and the governor and the evening's honored dignitaries line up and wait to process from the back of the balcony to the front.  Standing next to the governor, and therefore in the position of greatest honor, is our dope-burning general, looking superbly elegant in his formal, overstarched uniform.

Scanning the crowd, he notices us standing off to the side and then - we swear - comes over and shakes our hand and makes a silly joke about us joining him in line.  This doesn't sound like much but, trust us, breaking rank 90 seconds before the Grito de Independcia to joke around with some unkempt, grossly perspiring gringos is simply not done.  But this is a guy who, a day earlier, unleashed on an abandoned field of skunk weed a team of trained killers eight times the size of the one that took out bin Laden; he could give a fuck about your fucking ceremony.

The band has got their instruments up to their lips now, waiting for their cue.  The electricity in the crowd is slowly amping up. The anonymous earpiece-wearing functionaries who make the Grito happen are moving into position.  And governor López, who has banished his own wife in favor of his daughter because she attracts more media attention, is thinking, whoever we are - and to be sure, he knows everyone in this crowd, and the names of all their children, but has no idea who we are - whoever we are, we must be really fucking important if the General just did that.  So with the seconds ticking away until the Grito, the governor decides, fuck it, and he, too, breaks rank and comes over to shake our hands.  

With the important task of welcoming the emissaries from Burro Hall out of the way, and confident that he has secured our vote, or our patronage, or our promise not to behead his children (really, who knows what he was thinking?) he turned on his heels, marched to the edge of the balcony and cried, ¡Viva Mexico!  ¡Viva Mexico!  ¡Viva Mexico! We couldn't have agreed more.

In the extraordinarily unlikely event that you haven't had enough of Semana Culiacana, we're told the - how to put this? - more journalistic version will be airing (in the US) tonight at 8:00PM and again at 11:00PM, on the National Geographic channel.


Anonymous said...

great post.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding post. Now THIS is real journlism. Bravo.

Burro Hall said...

I assume you're all referring to the bikini shots?

Anonymous said...

Did the Governor's daughter come over to shake your ........