It was a long drive from Todos Santos back through the winding mountain roads to Loreto and then out to the little village of San Javier, with the van packed to the rafters with four people and a few extra suitcases. It wasn’t part of our plan initially, but the chance to hang out at the annual fiesta sounded too good to pass up.
We didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that this was an annual celebration at a 300 year old mission in honour of the patron saint, San Javier. Seemed to us that he was the patron saint of cowboys.
We met a local school teacher at the festival who spoke enough English to fill us in on some details. He told us “ Every year, all the local farmers from the surrounding area come here for three days and three nights to play music and drink beer. Lots of beer.”
And that about sums it up.
Almost every man at the festival had a white cowboy hat and a moustache. We had the moustache situation under control but were feeling a bit left out without the hats. Not to worry, Dad sorted that out pretty quickly.
We got there on the second day and camped overnight. Mum and Dad in the van and Bec and I in our tent. There was a stage setup with some folk dancing and I think a band played there at some point. But mostly there were just random groups of people playing their instruments together. Sometimes they played and nobody appeared to be listening, and sometimes a crowd would form and start dancing.
It was a real family affair. The music went until late into the night and it seemed like parents and kids alike were all up long after we had retired to our campsite in the car park.
We all had a great time people watching and trying lots of different Mexican foods. Some were great, like the birria tacos, the breakfast gorditas and the tamarind sweet treats. Some weren’t so good, like the menudo, which is basically a greasy tripe soup.
Mum snapped some really good photos of the locals and Dad’s spanish skills came a long way in one day… he’s now fluent at saying “Tres mas cervezas, por favor.” (“Three more beers, please.”)
It was definitely worth the drive… although traffic was slow on the way back out.