Should auld acquaintance be forgot – 31 December

Sigh, New Year’s Eve here in Bucerias.  Quieter than we all expected, actually.  We walked down to the town square at about 22h30.  There were more people out and about than other nights, but not that many.  A few of the bars and restaurants had music coming from them, but only a few had live bands.  The streets and houses themselves were very quiet.  Certainly quieter than on Thursday night, when that bar or whatever a block away was pounding out the tunes until 03h30!

Joe Crow’s and Yoyo Mo’s (two blocks past square) were happening places with live bands.  Well, that corner has four different open-air bars, each with its own live band.  We should have stopped at Joe Crow’s for a drink – the music actually sounded pretty good.

But oy, the firecrackers and cherry bombs!  The kids around here are devilish!  And with the little safety regulation, there are folks lighting little fireworks and tossing them about.  On the corner between Yoyo Mo’s and The Twisted Rose and La Pachanga, there were two young guys, buying fireworks from a twelve year old, lighting them, and tossing them straight up.  They laughed hysterically when the fireworks went off, spraying sparks everywhere, including on nearby cars (yikes).  With all the jumble of overhead wires at that corner, they were hitting the wires once in a while, and the fireworks would go unexpected directions, and of course more hysterics.  The young men were accompanied by several young ladies and one older fellow (their father?  I doubt it, but wonder at what his role in all this was) who were also giggling incessantly, then they all went back into Yoyo Mo’s, presumably for more beer!

Down on the beach, restaurants were setting up their tables for an influx of folks around midnight, to see the fireworks across the water.  We wandered back to the condo to spin out an hour, then down to the beach with our lawn chairs to see the festivities.

There was a nearby resort which had about fifty people out on the beach with sparklers, making patterns and swirls in the dark.

At midnight, there was an explosion of colour out to our far right (La Cruz) and to our far left (Puerto Vallarta) with huge bursts of fireworks that went on and on and on.  On the La Cruz side, it went for about ten minutes or so, with occasional colourful bursts every two to five minutes after that.  Over in Puerto Vallarta, the fireworks on the shore went on for at least twenty minutes nonstop, then more started downtown.  There were smaller displays at some of the resorts along the water; then there was also a few back a few blocks and to our left.  Overall, the fireworks must have lasted about a half an hour.

There were about a half dozen kids behind us, along the grass line, who started shooting “whizzers” over our heads into the water – Dayna and Barrie didn’t quite react as strongly as Helen and Dean – who cowered in their chairs, hoping that they didn’t get hit with errant sparks!  [ Eric, ever the cool one, sat on the end, snickering ]

Then the most interesting thing happened – something none of us had ever seen.  We saw what looked like a kite on fire drift up from somewhere down the beach to our right, and drift on the wind out over the ocean.  Then, all of the sudden, there was a second one.  We realized that from the group just to our right, they were launching them.  They were actually little hot air balloons, with a small candle or burner or something like that generating flame in the bottom.  The balloon itself is either a cotton material or something else translucent, so you can see the flame inside the balloon.  The entire thing looks like a kernel of corn, and it’s about the size of a large man’s torso.  They carefully light the flame, take it to the shore, hold it up skyward, and let it go.  Often it drifts back and forth as it rises up, then floats out to sea on the prevailing wind.

Soon we spotted more floating out from La Cruz to our far right.  Eventually there were dozens, all drifting out to the ocean, quite beautiful, really.

Of course, me being who I am (pathological “thing” about fire – don’t get me wrong, I was into burning garbage in my youth, and know how quickly it can get out of control), made a crack about it being a way to get back at your neighbours – hoping it lands on their thatched palapas roof and not yours!   But it really was nice.

Eric wandered off, but on his way back to the condo, he cut through at the resort where they were launching the balloons, and he saw one that went up and got hung up in a tree.  Apparently, nobody worried about it, it just burned itself out after ten minutes or so, and then they lowered it down, reloaded the candle or whatever was inside, lit it and let it off out onto the ocean.

We called it a night fairly early.  On our way back to the condo, there were a couple of kids along the street, tossing fireworks onto the road and the sidewalk, scaring the daylights out of us.  And their dad encouraging them!  Oh well, as I’ve said, it looks like here in Mexico, anything not explicitly regulated is openly allowed, and there are no regulations!

As I said, it was pretty quiet.  But, very interesting too.

And not a single refrain of “Auld Lang Syne” was heard – in spite of the many, many Canadians and Americans around here.  Hmm.  No doubt though, it is the new year now!

Here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011 for all of us.  Salut!

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