The rough-hewn stone steps to the whitewashed Church of Santo Thomás were covered with stacks of pottery, wood carvings, towering piles of richly-colored textiles, and perfect flowers. Graceful calla lilies, gladiolas, flame-colored feathery ornamentals and exquisite roses in tight-budded bunches perfumed the warm morning air.
At the top of the steps incense billowed from low pots, filling the air with a resiny scent and smoky haze. Across the square, a bonfire blurred the stairs of its companion church, El Calvario. The two edifices appeared poised in a stony face-off, adding to the surrealism of the scene.