Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Highway Shrines

(We scheduled this post to appear on our blog before we left in case you wonder how it got here while we were supposed to be without internet; now you know)

You’ve all seen the crosses along some U.S. highway marking the spot where someone has died in a traffic accident. Well here in Baja they have a tradition that goes quite a bit beyond that. Families of the victims build shrines in their honor at the location of the traffic accident. Many of these shrines are tended to regularly, cleaned, painted, and with fresh flowers. They range, as you will see in the photos, from quite modest to very elaborate, presumably based on the relative wealth of the families that place them. Many include photos and statements about the people they’re remembering, although most folks just drive by them and never see these details. It appears that they are held in fairly high regard. If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll see one that was left isolated on a pile of dirt as a result of the excavation that had taken place during a highway improvement project. It reminds me of those old pictures of houses on the top of the remnants of Denny Hill, north of downtown, as the regarding was underway.

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