|THIS LITTLE PIGGY...|
WALKED FOR MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS ON COLD COBBLESTONES.
The sun had not yet risen, and I was disappointed to realize I was going to have more shots in the dark. I took a couple of quick photos of the unbelievably long line of penitents and then decided to head downstairs (the streets hadn't yet filled) to get a different point of view.
|6:30 A.M. SO MUCH FOR MY BEAUTY SLEEP.|
Down on the street, I could get some close-up shots and use my flash. As news spread, the neighborhood again filled with people. The café, El Sanedrín, had stayed open all night and closed after the procession passed. I saw two men drinking large "gin-tonics" at 6:30 a.m. (and, boy, did they look good — the drinks, not the men).
|AT FIRST, EXTREMELY EERIE AT STREET LEVEL.|
Once I was on the side street, I was within inches of the black-hooded "penitents." It was very unsettling; like being surrounded by executioners. The procession was silent and solemn. When passersby spoke above a whisper, you would hear gentle "shhhhhs" from all directions. The lines of penitents, again two-by-two, stretched as far as the eye could see, with rarely a break for acolytes who carried some special item — a gold crucifix, a sterling silver bible, an embroidered banner.
|JUST A LITTLE SPLASH OF COLOR.|
I've learned that the men who carry the floats are called costaleros. Since it's such back-breaking work, they have multiple shifts. Our plaza is a good place for the teams to switch. Unfortunately, I wasn't on the plaza — where I might have gotten some great shots of each float as it sat motionless for the few minutes it took to accomplish the well-practiced shift change. I was further up the street awaiting their arrival. The new team had an awful lot of energy and passed me at breakneck speed before adjusting their pace.
|JESÚS AND THE CHERUBS. ALL A BLUR AS THE COSTALEROS VERY NEARLY TROT BY.|
After the float carrying Jesus passed, there were yet more penitents. Jerry (who watched from upstairs) and I guessed there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 participants in this particular procession.
|STILL MOVING AT QUITE A CLIP.|
It took more than an hour for the entire procession to pass my position. The float carrying Jesus required 35 costaleros. Further along came the canopied float carrying María Santísima del Mayor Dolor (Holy Mary of the Great Sorrow), which used 30 costaleros.
|HOLY MARY OF THE GREAT SORROW, ACCOMPANIED BY ST. JOHN.|
|THEY REFUSED TO STOP FOR ME TO TAKE PICTURES.|
|THE DOWAGER DUCHESS WOULD, AT MINIMUM, APPRECIATE THE AMAZING NEEDLEWORK.|
There was another procession, two blocks away, and that one was less somber; I could hear the band playing. Many people quickly ran in the direction of the music. I, on the other hand, headed upstairs and went back to bed.