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...
Workers of the Stevedores Union
Coffee and Cotton.
On the good ship Sinaloa,
on she did they come.
It's a garden.
Where is the Pantheon?
I always thought that figure was Yosemite Sam or a pirate or an octopus with a menguante moon or at least a big Mexican Zapata mustache.
Now that I look at it again.
I see the surfer but then I don't get the white half moon,
I see the Big Nose Sea Captain with large mustache.
Anyway, that's where the Pantheon is.
It took me 7 years until a key found me.
You however, can call Gina and go on a Walking Tour: 954 559 5518 or check out her little tourist Kiosk on the Adoquin in the elbow of the bay, in front of restaurant Junto al Mar. (Ask anyone on the Adoquin.)
Mil Gracias a la communidad de Puerto Escondido
Me ha dado tanto!
Y gracias a Delia Montserrath of DMC SUP.
And Ernesto y la Familia...