We love Carnával, and it’s widely acknowledged to be the third largest in the world. I would posit it the best, as it’s so accessible to everyone, involves the entire community, and is HUGE.
About ten years ago, CULTURA started to put up papier-mâché statues on the malecón. The very first year, at least to my memory, these statues were egg-shaped. While the originals were a meter or so high, over the years, they have grown in size and they now tower over our fair city. One year they were soldiers from around the world—warriors, humongous guardians of Mazatlán. In 2013 they were movie stars, from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis, Cantinflas and Pedro Infante. The monigotes, or giant statues, are made by Jorge González Neri and his artists in their taller. I love taking a peek every year just to see what’s coming up.
Well, it’s obvious that you love the monigotes, too! The first couple of years, my photos got a few “likes” on Facebook. Those likes have steadily grown, and as of tonight you have shared my monigotes 2017 album over 3000 times! Some of the individual photos have themselves been shared over 500 times! It gives me such joy to read how you think this one is a Pokemon, that you live in that block and it’s “your” monigote, or that one is your favorite. Kudos to CULTURA and to González’ taller; they only get better. Now we hope the carrozas or floats do as well, because we still miss Maestro Rigo Lewis in that regard….
There are 11 giant statues this year, unless you count the two in the Plaza República. Those two went up first, and tantalized us for well over a week while we waited for the others. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow. I’d like to give a MAJOR shout-out to Greg, who accompanies me and makes sure I don’t get hit by a car or bike or something else while I’m peeking into my camera! Often times he finds the best shots, too.
I like to take photos as soon as I’m able to after the monigotes are up. Thus, most of the photos don’t have the titles yet; CULTURA puts those in white lettering on the black stand of each of the statues. Sometimes they also make changes or additions. For example, the awesome-looking snail below had a papier maché rider added to it the day the queen was crowned. It’s in front of Valentino’s/Fiesta Land and was one of the first to be made; Greg and I saw it in the workshop, finished and waiting. Then by chance we were able to come upon it as the CULTURA workers hand-pulled it all the way from Playa Sur to its home at the north end of the malecón. It’s called Carrera del Tiempo or “Time’s Race.”
Coming south, the next monigote is where Insurgentes intersects Avenida del Mar. It’s pretty scary looking, if you ask me, and is called Dragón Polinesio or “Polynesian Dragon.” Of course, the theme of Carnavál this year is “Alebrijes y Dragones.” Alebrijes are those hand-carved wooden animals from Oaxaca with all the little pieces, and dragons are, well, they fly and look fierce. The giant statue at the top of Insurgentes is a dragon alebrije. I waited for a pulmonía to come by, just at sunset, so we get a bit of Abbey Road al Mazatleco action going on:
Next up is the one in front of Las Gavias. It looks very much like a Carnavál clown, and is called Carnavál en Babuchas. “Babuchas” is a word for those Oriental or Arabic-looking slippers with the long curly toes.
Just south of that one, in front of SECTUR—or La Botana, or Franki Oh’s, depending on your preference— is a really cool dragon with a person on top. It’s one of my favorites. It’s called Elegancia Alada, or “Winged Elegance.” The monigotes of course look good during the daytime, with our bay as a backdrop, and they are lit up at night, so gorgeous then, too. I’m confident that shortly CULTURA will add a title to each and every one.
Where Avenida de los Deportes meets Avenida del Mar—the Aquarium street, where the liquor store/Cava del Duero is, we can see a monigote that is just the reverse of the last one. This one is a person with the dragon on top. Night lighting is not yet working on this monigote. The name of it is Pio Cabeza Madame, or “Pious Head Madame.”
You know that Mazatlán is “land of the deer” in Nahuatl, and on the malecón facing the Lola Beltrán statue (The Vue condos) is a monigote with a deer on top. It’s called Carnavál del Sol, or “Carnaval of the Sun”:
Continuing our journey south you’ll see a giant ostrich, on the malecón in front of Hotel Aquamarino, on the corner with Banjército, beside the pulmonía monument. She is called Una Diva con Patas Largas, or “Long-Legged Diva.”
At the Fishermen’s Monument you’ll find a Viking-looking guy riding a pogo-stick dragon, and it’s appropriately called Cabalgata Vikinga or “Viking Horseback Ride.” It’s creative, even if it’s connection to the Carnavál theme isn’t exactly self-evident.
Next comes another favorite of mine, Pio Cabeza Gato, or Pious Head Cat. People tell me this one seems to be based on the Pokemon character “Meowth.” Personally, he looks straight out of “Where the Wild Things Are”/”Donde Viven los Monstruos.” I love where this monigote is located, as you get the pangas/fishing boats and a good shot of the bay in the photo. It’s where Belisario Dominguez intersects Paseo Claussen.
From here you can take a detour into town and see the really cool alebrije statue in the Plazuela Machado. I love that in the past few years CULTURA puts a monigote here, as it’s where the original Carnavales were held in Mazatlán, and it’s a gorgeous spot for partying. I tried to photograph the giant statue with landmarks in the background: Casa Machado and our original hotel. The name of this gorgeous monigote is Equilibrio Frágil, or “Fragile Equilibrium.”
Ok, I’ve left the BEST FOR LAST!!!!! The southernmost monigote is in front of my BELOVED and screaming for restoration Casa del Marino. And is it every whimsical! I call it “fish cycle,” but CULTURA calls it Un Alebrije de Oriente or “An Alebrije from the East”:
Not that we need an excuse to walk, roller skate, jog or bike the malecón, but now is most definitely the time! Oh… don’t forget your camera or cell phone!