Sea Turtles & Celebrations

1 of November 2013

And it has passed, another October, like a shadow, eclipsing day dreams of black cats and cheap face paint. November, our fourth month in Playa, is here, but I’m holding onto the cusp of my October fantasies for two more nights. Tonight is the Halloween party hosted by Tepeyak school, and tomorrow night is Nardo’s party in Xcaret. But before I get ahead of myself, last night was Paamul’s Halloween celebration. The palapas twinkled in the ink blob sky with strung-up orange lights and trick-or-treaters gave the excitement and wonder of Halloween its voice. At the community center, the main shin dig- what with the food, drinks, tables, and haunted house- ghosts flapped their sheets in the wind as witches and spiders conversed over jicama tea. I ran around all of Paamul with Chris and his friend from their homeschooling group, Nina. I decided to ditch the community center and its hot, crowded interior and dragged Nina and Chris along with me. We touched the night, laughing through the pitch black, dirt streets of Paamul. Nina and Chris were dressed as pirates, and I had my hair piled on my head in a rat’s nest, sprayed black, and Sharpie tattoos that looked impressively realistic (thanks Mum for the two hours’ worth of work) crusading up my arms and back. Welcome back, Amy. One reason Halloween, or Dia De Los Muertos, is my favorite holiday is because for one night, you get to clothe yourself in someone else’s life, and be totally free to the possibilities of dusk. The two pirates and my Amy made it down to the beach by the Paamul restaurant and dive shop. Elvis crooned as retirees drank to the night and danced in swaying circles. There’s two things I don’t like about Paamul: one, how disconnected, isolated, from resources it is; and two, the vast majority of caucasians. Other than that, the lone community in the jungle is a dream come true. The beach  was flooded by the lights from the restaurant, but the water was a pool of ink. A young girl who lives in Paamul was alone, knelt on the sand, and as I approached, she stood and handed me a baby sea turtle. Emma is a little blonde, and I think it was nature’s intent for her to run along the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean. She wore a velvet red dress and seemed more at home with the turtle in her hands and the sea breeze in her hair than anything else.  “It needs to go into the water, don’t you think?” I cocked my head at the young girl, who has grown up, done this a hundred times I suppose, with the turtles.

“Yes, but it goes towards the lights, so it isn’t going to the water,” Emma responded, slightly pouty at the thought of the turtle traveling towards the lights of the party instead of it’s home. “How about we take it over here?” I compromise and lead her and the squiring baby turtle away from the restaurant. I bend down and let the turtle swish off my hand into the water. The moon wasn’t out to show it the way. A perfect, black night for Halloween.

“Be careful, an iguana could eat it so we need to watch it until it makes it into the ocean,” Emma creased her brow, and as soon as we realized the turtle had escaped passed the breaking waves, she skipped off to look for more hatchlings. That was the first time I have seen, held, smelled, released, a sea turtle.

The rest of the night we spent at the restaurant with the late-night partiers. A fifty plus year old DJ spun out nineties hits and some disco, even a country song, and I convinced some people to dance with me. Well, I was doing most of the dancing, but Chris held up pretty well. The DJ/ announcer pushed pause on the music for a couple minutes to hold a costume contest. Aidan, Kira, and I all looked at each and resolved, without a word, to join in. We walked up to Mum, who was deep in conversation with a Dia De Los Muertos sugar skull woman, (who actually turned out to be pretty amazing- she was due that night to have her baby! I’ll tell you more about her another time.) We told Mum we were going to participate, until we learned that the contest was adults only. Oh, well for that endeavor. Aidan or Kira would’ve won anyways, my family always makes amazing costumes. A woman walked up to me while I was leaning against a support beam, watching the women twirl and twist in their store bought costumes. “You should’ve gone up there, you look great!” she said. “Oh, I’m not an adult.”

I had a fantastic time, although as I sit and type this up, I get sicker and sicker, a little cold that began two days ago. I’m just crossing my fingers that I can hold out for two more days. Wish me luck, readers! If I have any…

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