I had these clocks that stopped working, one from Akumal and one from the kitchen here in Merida. They weren’t expensive, pretty cheap actually, but I liked them. Things can be fixed here, it’s another of the cool things about Mexico, you don’t just throw something away when it quits.
I took them to the watch and clock repair man in Santiago. His shop is very small and so is he. He studies what you bring in very carefully, using a loupe, and he has all sorts of clever tools many of which I think he made himself.
I sometimes revert to an impatient gringa and I wanted to just drop them off and come back later. No, he first had to inspect them and decide what to do. He’s very precise which, now that I think about it, is a good trait for someone who works on tiny things that move. Anyway, he slowly took one of the clocks apart and began studying it carefully. I was restless, pacing the small area in his shop.
Suddenly rockets began to go off very close and I peeked out the door. There was a group of the faithful with satin banners on poles preceded by men setting off rockets going down the middle of the street.
I had been hearing rockets in the neighborhood for a few days, it is August and this is the month that the parishes on two sides of us, Santiago and San Sebastian, have their feast days. I believe what I was seeing was the gremio from San Sebastian taking their Virgin for a walk-about to visit the church at Santiago. I couldn’t see the Virgin from where I was but I could tell they were carrying something besides the banners.
A gremio as near as I can describe it is a group from a church that organizes the feast days and takes care of the sanctuary. Other than the fact that there are also men involved I would describe it in English as the ‘church ladies’ who put on the suppers and raise money to fix things in the church. A powerful group in any small community no matter the language or culture.
It was the lunch time rush hour and they were calmly walking down the middle of these busy streets, setting off an enormous number of very loud rockets. No one honked!!
They stopped briefly in front of the Santiago church and then proceeded back into the middle of the street and returned towards San Sebastian. It was loud and serious and solemn but also happy and fun. It reminded me where I was and I relaxed and enjoyed watching my clock being carefully repaired and cleaned.