Friday, June 29, 2007

Rainy season advisory and event

When I landed at BJX this time after a long day in air-conditioned airports and planes, rain was pouring down. Luckily, I could pull out a brimmed cloth hat from my shoulder bag that kept me mostly dry. Late afternoon or evening rains like this one are common in June and July.

For the people of Guanajuanto, rain is a blessed event. The first week in July every rainy year guanajuatenses congregate near the dam at the reservoir known as Presa de la Olla. This year Monday, July 2, there will be speeches, band music including "Over the Waves," vendors, crowds, merriment, and, most importantly, the gush of water. Starts at either noon or one, you'll have to check or start looking to see when people throng up Paseo de la Presa toward the reservoir.

One hundred two years ago at this time, to be exact, July 1, 1905, Guanajuato suffered its worst flooding perhaps since the city began. You can see how high the river rose by looking at the little plaque well over the taxi in the modern photo Doyle Phillips is sharing. Thanks, Doyle!

Sometime after that disaster, someone had the bright idea of containing the Guanajuato River in a humungous pipe so it would run under the city instead of flooding it. Nowadays, when you go through the subteraneo, the tunnel cars and buses use from Embajadoras to past the nercado, you are riding over the tamed river.

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