A loud, piercing noise awoke me. As I lay in bed waiting for another sound to determine the exactness of what had startled me awake, I concluded it must have been a gunshot. My first thought, 'I hope Bob and Kathy didn't hear that'. Nobody wants gunshots going off by their house when their in-laws are visiting. Several minutes later, my gunshot theory was debunked; The Fiestas Patronales de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle had begun. For the next eight days beginning at 5:40 a.m bottle rockets will jolt the town awake; indicating it is time to go to church. The cacophony lasts anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Repeating itself at 7:30 in the evening. Yep, double days of church for the believers.
We walked the dusty dirt road into the town square on Friday night. Wandering through the plaza, admiring the half dozen or so games: fooseball, ring toss, bottle breaking and the balloon pop. All with incredible prizes; money, beer or your choice of a framed picture; Jesus with inspirational bible quote or porn star Jenna Jameson, for the lucky winner who pops a balloon. We decided the most valuable prize to be a cold beer and made a second loop around the plaza to try our hand at breaking bottles by throwing rocks.
Thirty pesos supplied me with three rocks. I picked up my first river rock, pulled my arm back and blindly fired. No exact target intended. A loud crack and flying glass; I had won myself a beer! The carny was slightly nervous watching Sam pick up his second rock. We had already won a beer each, after our first throws. He breathed a visible sigh of relief; probably muttered lucky bastards under his breath, silently chuckling at our next four failed attempts. In the end, everyone was happy- we released some childlike adrenaline by throwing rocks at beer bottles and the carny came out on top with our pesos and little glass to sweep up off the ground.
Launch the Rocket; It's Time for Church is my introduction to Mexico's infatuation with bottle rockets & an explanation of the celebrations of the Patron Saint of Santa Cruz.