How the Key Found Me: Pantheon de Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Merriam Webster Pantheon - Noun

a building serving as the burial place of

or containing memorials to the famous dead of a nation.

I've been trying to get into the place for 7 years. It's locked up and there are only a few keys. And nobody knows who has one.

Seven years I past the spot at random times, never really knowing where it was and sometimes looking in from behind the bars. I even checked the lock.

I've written about 100 Profiles from Puerto Escondido and not until I worked with the Pioneers of Surf did I meet a Key Holder. Or even someone who knew a key holder.

His sister told me (the Matriarch, a Don in her own right), "Oh Ernesto has one." And although I know Ernesto, I don't know his last name and I don't know where he lives or his phone number. I see him when I see him. Mostly at Pioneer meetings.

But his sister said it was Ok. And she runs the show. Ernesto is a Pioneer of surf. And his sister and he are two of the 13 his mother bore here in Puerto. A founder.

So I got the OK from her and I have pictures of Ernesto to prove something. That I know him. And that his picture will somehow open the gate that has been closed for 7 years.

I realize now that I could have called Gina who does the Walking Tours of Puerto Escondido. She gives tours, she has a key and she also has a key to the Museum that is behind the cemetery walls.

But I wanted an invite. I didn't want a tour. I somehow wanted to earn my entrance fee. I let it go, year after year and waited for the key to find me.

I got the call of Delia at DMC SUP. She's the Stand Up Paddle leader of Puerto Escondido. She was having a SUP Event on Saturday morn and asked me to come.

It's about a mile from my house so I ran, with water camera in hand and fins and I planned on swimming a few ocean miles with the paddle boarders.

I blew past a bunch of runners in flash kit and when I arrived to Playa Marinero I found a Triathlon Event. People of all ages and sizes were lycra-ed up and doing their thing (that's why they were running so slow).

I past the Fishing Contest with the big stage and families eating, swimming and some getting their drink on.

I missed the paddle boarders, they went up the coast.

I left my fins with the 94.1 Radio people and went to see if there were any pictures to be taken.

Rolling in a Judas Priest t-shirt offers a wide range of conversation with a spectrum of interesting folk who would just never talk to you otherwise.

See Judas Priest article coming soon.

From the contest I ran along the sea walk hoping to get a glimpse of the paddle boarders. I was prepared to dive in the water anywhere along the coast.

With no paddle boarders in sight I wound my way my way through the oldest neighborhood of Puerto Escondido where they kept the shade trees. Shady streets. Lovely. I found myself in front of the Cemetery. El Bosque.

So I sat down on the steps. I figured I'd wait for someone to come with a key.

Charley Chaplin said 80% of life is just showing up. I believe that to be true... at least for parenting, and auditions and finding keys to iron cemetery gates.

I only sat for a minute or two when I saw an old dude in a peach colored shirt rolling up the hill carrying a plate of food.

Did I want to bother the guy on his lunch break? I had plenty of time to think because there was no urgency in his step.

I told him who I was, showed him the pic and he said he'd be back in a little while with the key.

And here are some pictures I took. The History of Puerto Escondido is written on the walls.

En las palabras de mi padre...Ladies First...