Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Enchanted Forest

I spent my Halloween night doing a lot of walking.  No, I was not out trick-or-treating.  I went to see the light show in Chapultepec Park called "Celebrando la Eternidad" (Celebrating Eternity).  As far as I know this is yet another new event added to the busy Day of the Dead calendar in Mexico City.

I took the Metrobus from my apartment up Insurgentes Avenue.  It was still rush hour, and the passengers were packed like sardines.  When I got off at the stop nearest the Paseo de la Reforma, I decided to walk the rest of the way to Chapultepec Park... more than a mile... rather than transfer onto another Metrobus route.

When I got to the park entrance there was an enormous, twisting line of people waiting to get in.  I couldn't find the end of the line, so I put on the expression of a confused, lost tourist and just merged into the line.  No one said a word.  Even so it took about twenty minutes to reach the entrance.  

You entered through the mouth of a large, illuminated skull.

Within the park the Altar to the Fatherland, also known as the Monument to the Boy Heroes, was illuminated and surrounded by pictures of famous people from Mexican history.  The flowers in front were, of course, marigolds.

Beyond the monument there was a
large, skeletal figure of a "xolo", the Mexican hairless dog which was in pre-Hispanic times thought to be a guide for souls in the afterlife.

Along the path, the forest was illuminated.  Volunteers and police kept the crowds from wandering off the prescribed path.

Along the path were some figures inspired by the drawings of the early 20th century Mexican engraver, José Guadalupe Posada.  Posada frequently used skeletons in his satirical prints.  In fact it was he who first popularized the image of the "catrina".

Toward the end of the route, there were tents where the visitors could download photos of their departed loved ones from their cell phones.  Then at the end of the path, by one of the park's lakes, there was an "ofrenda", and, adjacent to it,the photos of loved ones appeared on screens.

The exit out of the park was farther down Reforma near a Metrobus stop.  However, the buses were all jam-packed.  I chose to walk... now more than a mile and a half... back to Insurgentes Avenue.  Fortunately there the Metrobuses heading back toward my apartment were not crowded.  

So, I got my exercise that evening... walking at least three miles.

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