Over the last week we have had four days of Carnival.
Now, my understanding of Carnival is that of Brazil and New Orleans, where people dress up, build floats, dance in the streets, and have fun.
Not so here, except for the fun.
Here, they come in by bus, car, motorcycle, taxi- anyway they can get here. The streets are full of people, and the beaches are so crowded with umbrellas and shade stands that you have a hard time seeing the beach. I was up at 5am on the first day of Carnival, thought I would take the dogs down to the beach before it got busy. Too late! People were making their way to the beach at that time of the morning, so we kept the dogs at our house for the period of the Carnival. We stayed away from the beach in favor of our pool.
The big food stores had packed as much food and drinks on the shelves as they could. Check out lines were longer than usual, and that could mean an hour plus wait.
The theme of Carnival here is water and foam. It seems that traditionally, people throw water at their friends and strangers that come close or pass by. Now the water was packaged in balloons, water pistols, and foam in cans, cans that contain compressed gas, so, when activated, they shoot a stream of foam. I have seen people that had been foamed and cars covered in foam. When walking on the malecon, it was difficult not to be sprayed in foam or splashed with water, and this went on for four days.
After the four days when the people returned to their homes, the cleaning crews came out, and what a great job they did.
I am not able to tell you how many people filled Salinas for those four days, but I can tell you that there was not one room vacant in the hotels and hostels.
Apart from the pickpockets, the odd drunken person, and a few car accidents, the incidents of trouble were few. These people wanted to spend time with their families, enjoy food, and soak people with water and foam. What a pleasant, but crowded time.
Maybe we will see you here next year for Carnival?
Birthday - Entertainer and politician Sonny Bono (1935-1998) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Following a career as a popular singer, he became mayor of Palm Springs, California, then became a Republican congressman, serving until his accidental death from a skiing mishap.
February 17, 1865 - During the American Civil War, Fort Sumter in South Carolina was returned to the Union after nearly a year and a half under Confederate control. The fort had been the scene of the first shots of the war.
February 17, 1909 - Apache Chief Geronimo (1829-1909) died while in captivity at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He had led a small group of warriors on raids throughout Arizona and New Mexico. Caught once, he escaped. The U.S. Army then sent 5,000 men to recapture him.
Birthday - American politician Wendell Willkie (1892-1944) was born in Elwood, Illinois. He was the Republican nominee for president in 1940, running against Franklin D. Roosevelt.
February 19, 1942 - Internment of Japanese Americans began after President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order requiring those living on the Pacific coast to report for relocation. Over 110,000 persons therefore shut down their businesses, sold off their property, quit school and moved inland to the relocation centers.
Birthday - Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was born in Torun, Poland. Considered the founder of modern astronomy, he theorized that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system.
February 20 Return to Top of Page
February 20, 1943 - German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel broke through American lines at Kasserine Pass in North Africa as inexperienced U.S. Troops lost their first major battle of World War II in Europe, with 1,000 Americans killed.
February 20, 1962 - Astronaut John Glenn became the first American launched into orbit. Traveling aboard the "Friendship 7" spacecraft, Glenn reached an altitude of 162 miles (260 kilometers) and completed three orbits in a flight lasting just under five hours. Glenn was the third American in space, preceded by Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom who had each completed short sub-orbital flights. All of them had been preceded by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who was the first human in space, completing one orbit on April 12, 1961 - a feat that intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Glenn’s successful flight showed the Americans had caught up and was followed in September 1962 by President John F. Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.