Move over Buenos Aires, step aside New Orleans, the La Paz Carnival celebration is in full swing! The 1.5 mile malecon street along the seafront is packed with dangerous looking mechanical rides, vendors covering all fried food groups, wrestling masks, tropical drinks, and 10ft high ramparts of stacked blankets (blankets? no idea why so many blankets). 

We focused on the mini-equestrian industry. We learned that “pony” in Spanish is: “poni.”

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We had the option to see some even more phenomenal animals: a 5-legged pit bull, a two headed calf, a kangaroo dog, a hairless dog, and some type of unusual chickens.

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Then there was Mary Poppins holding Wendy, who at only 40-cm tall, is the smallest girl in the world  – although the fine print suggested it was only an optical illusion.

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Though we could have seen all these wonders for less than $1 per person, we passed and headed straight for the bandstand where we heard some top shelf Ranchero and Salsa and saw some brilliant hula and Mexican Classical Dancing (Bailar Classica).

We met our new friend Ysidro after about 5 seconds of watching the band.

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He was a man with a mysterious past and two kids in Indianapolis. Ysidro had a variety of skills including recreational hard drug acquisition and salsa dancing.

Ysidro schooled S in salsa, then K & S blew everyone’s socks off with a little bump and grind and some spicy polka moves they picked up in Erie’s Lower East Side.

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We practiced our Spanish and collected the following intelligence from Ysidro:

1) Mexican wives are expensive and they talk too much

2) American wives don’t speak Spanish and like to dance

3) “Bailar classica is no ‘effing good for me”

Ysidro was finally driven off by the high brow classical dancing to find another Ranchero band but not before giving us three tiny coffee mugs that could have been part of Wendy’s stoneware.

We feel like we have finally participated in the Mexico of the Mexicans.

24°09.00’N 110°19.52’W 14-Feb-10 16:00 PST

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