Pizarro, on his horse, and me
Ticos love to party. Any reason will do. For example, this Wednesday night is a party to commemorate the third anniversary since my friend Lupe was crowned La Reina (Queen) of Santa Ana. Mind you, every year a new queen is crowned, which is in itself cause for celebration, but Lupe is such a wonderful, friendly, generous, outgoing person, that her past coronation is celebrated every year. Unfortunately, I have other plans for Wednesday night (a formal party at a financial institution) and can't attend Lupe's party.
The cause for celebration this past Sunday was a tope, or horse parade. The streets were roped off at 8:00 that morning, so unless you knew the back roads, you had to walk. Hundreds of men (and some women) spiff up their horses, or rent horses, and parade downtown with beer can in hand, to the applause of the onlookers. I don't quite understand the thrill of a tope - for the riders, for the onlookers, or especially for the horses who foam and sweat and have to walk slowly and stop on pavement - but it is party time nevertheless, with lots of booze.
People lined the streets in the morning, jockeying for good viewing spots. This not being my first tope (pronounced toe-pay), I didn't arrive until 2:00pm, which was when the officials began parading past the viewing site where my friends were set up.
There is a vivero, or plant nursery, on the main street where I have bought vegetable plants. It is owned by Carolina's family. Carolina and Hildreth show up at the same parties I do, and they were at the tope. In fact, Carolina's family had prepared food for sale inside the vivero, but I ate before I left the house. Susan, Yalile, some other acquaintances and I stood in front of the vivero, watching the parade of horses and riders.
What was different for me about this tope was that I knew about 12-15 of the riders. Thanks to Susan, and her friend (and now mine) Yalile, I have met many ticos in this city. I tried to take pictures of everyone I knew, but the horses didn't always cooperate.
After two and a half hours of standing and watching the horses and admiring the hot-looking guys, Susan and I walked down to one of our favorite haunts, El Coco, for a little refreshment. Then we drove up to Dos Oy, a big stable where the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) hosted a big party with food and music.
Oscar on his horse
Boys on Horseback
Susan, me, Yalile and Victor
Frank on his horse