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 Africa86 votes
76.11%
 South America3 votes
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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"Heaven is where: the police are British, the cooks are Italian, the mechanics are German, the lovers are French, and it is all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where: the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the police are German, and it is all organized by the Italians." -- T-shirt in Tortola, British Virgin Islands

407--Mexico: Bucerias Panga Blessing
@ CherieSpotting     Feb 05 2008 - 11:47 PST
cherie writes: Bless that fleet! Every year the people around Banderas Bay gather in Bucerias to bless their fishing vessels called ‘pangas’. The pangas rush across the Bay loaded down with passengers, palm fronds and Papier-mâché. There’s no danger that the pangas would sink—there’s enough balloons aboard each one to keep the whole town afloat.

The floats were so colorful you almost had to squint. I’m not sure what was more painful—looking directly at the sun, or at those dizzy-bright balls of latex. Suddenly the pangas approached and the beach was ablaze with flowers—plastic, paper, natural—who cares! The strong colors made you feel drunk—or was it the margaritas?

Hundreds of revelers gathered on the water-front to cheer and watch as the pangas burst through the surf and thudded on the sand. The crowd was mixed—little girls in white chiffon dresses eager to take their first communion, mothers clasping the rosaries around their necks, fathers standing cross-armed and stoic with their cowboy hats, and tourists with their white sneakers and Puerto Vallarta t-shirts. Of course, there were the guys selling nuts-and-chews out of wheel-barrels.

One vessel held the Virgin Mary with two young angels (complete with fluffy white wings). Once the pangas were beached, the priest escorted the passengers to the town’s church where a service was performed. Those that didn’t go into the igelsia, enjoyed the carnival rides or munched on corn-on-a-stick hot sauce. Some snacked on the fried bananas and while slurped down cold Pacificos, but one thing we stayed away from was the popular Tacos de Cabeza (brain tacos.)

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Cherie and Anne at the annual "Blessing of the pangas" in Bucerias, Mexico.

Cherie and Anne at the annual "Blessing of the pangas" in Bucerias, Mexico.

The pangas line up just outside the breaking waves, waiting for a chance to charge the beach.

The pangas line up just outside the breaking waves, waiting for a chance to charge the beach.

Each panga, or fishing boat is draped in ribbons, balloons and paper flowers.

Each panga, or fishing boat is draped in ribbons, balloons and paper flowers.

The entire town of Bucerias (and surrounding towns) gather on the beach to celebrate the blessing of the pangas.

The entire town of Bucerias (and surrounding towns) gather on the beach to celebrate the blessing of the pangas.

Pangas line up until they blend in with the haze of the horizon.

Pangas line up until they blend in with the haze of the horizon.

Little angels pay respects the the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus (who is represented by a doll.)

Little angels pay respects the the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus (who is represented by a doll.)

Pangas and palm fronds.

Pangas and palm fronds.

Balloon crosses and paper flowers adorn the fishing vessels.

Balloon crosses and paper flowers adorn the fishing vessels.

Everywhere you look there are pangas coming and going.

Everywhere you look there are pangas coming and going.

It's smart to wait for a lull in the swell.

It's smart to wait for a lull in the swell.

A little girl watches from a distance as the pangas burst onto the shore.

A little girl watches from a distance as the pangas burst onto the shore.

That swell is not so swell.

That swell is not so swell.

The crowd rushes to help each panga as it barges up the beach.

The crowd rushes to help each panga as it barges up the beach.

Getting your panga on the beach is only half the battle--then you have to get it back out.

Getting your panga on the beach is only half the battle--then you have to get it back out.

A wave of color floats across the bay.

A wave of color floats across the bay.

A sailor takes a closer look.

A sailor takes a closer look.

In Bucerias, there is standing room only.

In Bucerias, there is standing room only.

The panga is blessed!  Now go out and catch some fish!

The panga is blessed! Now go out and catch some fish!

Pangas brave the surf.

Pangas brave the surf.

It appears that the fishing fleet has beached itself.

It appears that the fishing fleet has beached itself.

The view through the balloons.

The view through the balloons.

Full speed ahead!

Full speed ahead!

Friends gather around the panga.  The excitement is contagious.

Friends gather around the panga. The excitement is contagious.

The blessing of the pangas is much more exciting than the crowd's expressions suggest.

The blessing of the pangas is much more exciting than the crowd's expressions suggest.

Ready or not...here we come!

Ready or not...here we come!

Little girls dressed in white for their first communion.

Little girls dressed in white for their first communion.

The beach is drenched in color and enthusiasm.

The beach is drenched in color and enthusiasm.

Exploring Bucerias together.

Exploring Bucerias together.

The town follows the priest, "Mary", and her angels to church.

The town follows the priest, "Mary", and her angels to church.

After a safe panga landing, "Mary" carried "Baby Jesus" up the beach.

After a safe panga landing, "Mary" carried "Baby Jesus" up the beach.

Bucerias celebrates with plenty of music, food, rides and laughter.

Bucerias celebrates with plenty of music, food, rides and laughter.

The town square is packed.

The town square is packed.

More wheel barrel snacks.  (There has to be a better way to provide munchies.)

More wheel barrel snacks. (There has to be a better way to provide munchies.)

Lunch in Bucerias.

Lunch in Bucerias.

Anne finds a lucky horse-shoe.  Don't let your luck run out.

Anne finds a lucky horse-shoe. Don't let your luck run out.

Brain tacos, anyone?

Brain tacos, anyone?

I have a special affinity for these palm trees.

I have a special affinity for these palm trees.

Caballeros waiting for the port-a-potties.

Caballeros waiting for the port-a-potties.

The view from the stage.

The view from the stage.

Bucerias carnival ride.

Bucerias carnival ride.

The crowds in Bucerias for the annual panga blessing.

The crowds in Bucerias for the annual panga blessing.

Bucerias town square.

Bucerias town square.