Have you laid in supplies for the coming holiday? This is the time of year when lakesiders do emergency shopping, just like Californians restocking their earthquake kit, Floridians in the path of a hurricane and Northerners waiting for a forecast ice storm or blizzard.
What’s the big deal? Mexicans have three preferred vacation times each year: August, Christmas and the week before and the week after Easter.
This weekend is the beginning of Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week before Easter. Schools, factories, businesses and government offices shut down in the city and those city families who haven’t planned trips to the beach come to Lake Chapala for a couple of weeks, a weekend or a day. This weekend traffic will be heavy and then it will slack off until midweek.
If you don’t have enough coffee, wine or ice, ear plugs (or the items on your emergency shopping list) by next Friday, April 3 – Good Friday – forget it, Just close the door, batten the hatches and like they taught us in grade school, sit under your desk and duck and cover.
Seriously, the best times, with the least traffic, for a flying trip to the store will be bright and early on any of those mornings. Plan to leave the house around 8 a.m. and return around 10 a.m. You can probably stay out a little later if you don’t plan to cross the highway and don’t want to go to the area vaguely called “West Ajijic.”
There’s a seemingly strange phenomenon on Easter Sunday. Because there is a widely attended, huge Saturday evening service, the Easter Vigil, which declares Christ is risen somewhere between 10 or 11 p.m., Mexicans celebrate the rest of the night, and very few are up and ready to attend morning Masses.
As a friend once said, “You could roll cannon balls on the streets of Ajijic on Easter morning and never hit anyone but a gringo.” Not only is that true, it means it’s a great time to be out and run errands without traffic. Don’t worry, most stores will be open.