|The boy in the plastic bubble (inflated by a leaf blower, sealed with duct tape, and set out to sea in a kiddie pool).|
In the pop-the-balloon-with-a-dart game you can win a painted clay statue of the Virgin of Guadelupe, or a bottle of tequila. Toss a ring over a cell phone and it's yours. There's a ride called the SchlitenFahrt (certainly some German castoff), and if you get to the park early, as we always do (we're still Americans) you'll see the handyman walking around all the juegos mechanicos tuning them up with a wrench. Be careful of the electric wires that run to the generators. They're easy to trip over. If there's no one in line the carnies will let the kids stay airborne on the trampoline harness or play in the moon bounce until someone else comes along The snack stand vends pork rinds with chile, beer-flavored Halls cough drops--and toilet paper and laundry soap. Beer costs the same as the super market, about a dollar a bottle, and the henna tattoos well last over a week. The local niños wear tiny cowboy hats and 5-inch long boots and pour rivers of Valentina chile sauce on their popcorn. And best of all, after the operator inflates a 6-foot plastic bubble with a leaf blower while your child is inside, hands over his ears, he seals the entry zipper with waterproof duct tape before pushing the ball out to the center of an inflatable pool. Everybody's safe.
It's a microcosm of the Mexico we adore: the surreal juxtaposed with the everyday, the absolute lack of responsibility and rules, and the weirdness that defines so many of our activities.
|The snack stand--also vending Chlorox, laundry soap, toilet paper and other sundries.|
|Everyone's a winner. Get yourself a cell phone if you can only ring one with a plastic loop.|
|The Pichacho Mountains in the background.|
|Even Sam's scared by the fair michelada (beer with lime, chile, salt, Worcestershire sauce and other spices).|
|Yes, it's really called the SchlitenFahrt.|