José Arrue, 1885-1977, “La Romeria basque”, 1921, musée des Beaux-Arts de Bilbao..

Oh, qué será, qué será que vive en las ideas de esos amantes, que cantan los poetas más delirantes, que juran los profetas emborrachados, está en la romería de los mutilados, está en la fantasía de los infelices, está en el día a día de las meretrices, en todos los bandidos y desvalidos, En todos sus sentidos, será qué será, que no tiene decencia y nunca tendrá, que no tiene censura y nunca tendrá, y le falta sentido.
—  Willie Colón

America and Romano love sitting in libraries together and reading. It surprised Romano when he saw how much America enjoyed reading, and how calm he could be. (Although America mainly reads comics).


LA CARA OCULTA DEL ROCIO QUE NO SALE EN TELEVISION: 17 caballos llevan muertos hasta ahora.

Se celebra la romería del Rocío este fin de semana. Un acontecimiento en la que los caballos son maltratados hasta, incluso, la muerte… 17 exactamente hasta este momento muertos a consecuencia del agotamiento y las condiciones en que llegan ya a la Romería. Seguimos asesinando animales sin piedad y exclusivamente para nuestro egoísta beneficio.

Después a rezar todos a la virgencita, como Dios manda. Malditos cobardes, asesinos.

Cada año la virgen de Zapopan es paseada por la gran mayoría de los templos de la ciudad de Guadalajara y durante estos traslados existe una romería de gente acompañándola y las calles son adornadas a su paso.

Each year the Virgin of Zapopan is paraded by the vast majority of temples in the city of Guadalajara, and during these transfers there is a procession of people accompanying her and the streets are adorned in their wake.

Romano taught America Latin at one point, and they’ll send each other “secret” messages in Latin.


Yesterday (July 1st), the Virgin of the Guide’s festivities were celebrated in Portugalete. It’s the first one of the summer season. With a marine origin, it turns out particularly close for Portugalete’s people, as can be seen in the pics. The festival is held in the Old Town, mainly in Coscojales street.

It begins in the first hours of the day with a loud bang (chupinazo) and the traditional hoisting of the Dominguines, two large rag dolls that hang from a rope, whose ends are tied to the ledges of two balconies in Coscojales Street. At the same time, the offering of flowers to the Virgin, whose image is at the beginning of the street in a niche placed in front of the Market Place.

From this moment, txistularis, fanfarrias, cabezudos and trikitrixas warm the environment and make everyone feel on holiday: games, dances, contests, parades, sokatira, dance songs in charge of the Municipal Band of Music and much more await in Portugalete!


August 2nd is Virgen de los Angeles Day; a Costa Rican holiday celebrated every year in honor of the Virgin of Los Angeles, also known as La Negrita (the black virgin). 

The story of La Negrita:

She is described as being a less than 1 meter tall black statuette–an interpretation of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus as an infant. According to the story, a woman found the statuette perched on a rock (on August 2, 1635) and tried to take it with her. The statuette then magically reappeared in the very spot from which it had been swiped, twice.  Following these events, a shrine was built around the statuette. After being officially declared the Patron Saint of Costa Rica, la Negrita has been housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels located in Cartago, Costa Rica. A note from Wiki, “During the construction, the church was destroyed by earthquakes so many times, it was finally decided to move it to the location where the statue was found and they were able to finish construction. Many people (one being Andrea Meszaros, a local expert on religious affairs) think that the earthquakes were signs that the Lady of Los Ángeles wanted the basilica built there.”

On the anniversary of these miraculous events, Costa Ricans (and beyond) complete a pilgrimage to the Basilica–usually 22 kilometers on foot (from San Jose to Cartago); many choose to complete the last hundred feet (or from what I saw, from the entrance of the church to the altar) on their knees. This event is called la Romería (in English: religious pilgrimage).

This past Saturday, August 2nd 2014 I traveled to San Jose. I caught the bus at 430 AM–Camila walked to the stop and waited with me. I arrived in San Jose around 830 AM and hurried to the Correo to meet up with a few fellow PCVs. We set off at 900 AM and met up with a few more PCVS on the way; in total we were a group of 8. We barely began and it started to downpour–I was very grateful for my waterproof jacket, chacos, and timbuk2 bag in that moment; never in my life have I worn or carried such sensible items. After an hour or so it cleared up a bit, and we trudged onward. It’s a pretty uphill route (one section was coined “the hill of death”)–albeit it is gradual for the most part , which was appreciated. We were just walking along roads and highways, our clothes damp with sweat and rain; passing and being passed by powerwalkers, joggers, and walkers; families with backpacks and snacks, some with strollers or holding children’s hands. Throughout the whole route there were vendors selling bags of fruit or cold beverages; offering the use of their restrooms; I even saw a hose looped over a fence, trickling water for anyone who needed to refill a water bottle. Some people were just giving things away; a few mamonchinos here, bags of snacks, bagged beverages–there was even a hug and prayer station (that I skipped, but it was nice nonetheless). We stopped for a few snacks and to rest our feet; it took us 6-7 hours to get to Cartago. The last stretch was tough; we were all a bit ready to be there, a bit cranky, a bit sore. Cartago looked like a beach town to me; wide tiled sidewalks that paralleled the train tracks, reminding me of the boardwalk; with the streets lined with people in tennis shoes and baseball caps for the sun; everyone tired but heading in the same direction; all with the same purpose. In reality Cartago is nestled up in the mountains, in the Cartago Province, East of San Jose. It was certainly a surreal experience all around, to integrate ourselves into this revered tradition.

We rounded a bend and finally saw the Basilica. I hadn’t thought much about what it would look like; I wasn’t even sure if I’d seen a picture of it before, but it didn’t disappoint. We had arrived a bit later than other Romeros (because we started at 900 AM) but there was still a large crowd, and lines to enter the church to pray to the Virgin. Myself and 2 other PCVs headed to the lines and waited to enter the Basilica together. Next to us was a separate line of people waiting to enter on their knees. The Basilica was beautiful. While I do not often find myself in churches, I still appreciate the ringing silence and echoes within historic and grand places of worship– and to be surrounded by people who had just completed the same journey, it made the aches in my knees and ankles worth the walk, all 22 km.

While I had driven through Cartago a few weeks ago, the first time I went to Cartago, I walked there.