Sunday, January 13, 2013

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Feliz Año Nuevo from La Paz
Richard and I decided to head out for dinner on New Year's Eve with our friend Ron from s/v Mar de Luz.  The malécon was blocked off to vehicular traffic as they were preparing the area for the festivities that would take place later in the evening.  We found a restaurant that was open on the malécon and got a table upstairs overlooking the street.  Numerous Mexican bands were playing as we ate and a crowd was beginning to gather.  After dinner, we went back to the boat and Ron decided to go check on a friend who was providing the entertainment at the New Year's Eve party at The Shack

Booze galore on the malécon.
I will admit that it has been a while since Richard and I have actually stayed up to midnight on a New Year's Eve.  Once back at the boat, we decided to "rest" until it was closer to the stroke of midnight.  So at 11:15 pm, we headed out towards the bandstand to check out the festivities.  The crowd was gathering and the countdown could be seen on the "jumbo-tron" off to the left of the stage.  There were tents selling giant beers, mixed drinks, cups of 12 grapes (a Mexican New Year's tradition), tacos, snacks and of course, tequila shots.  While we skipped on the party favors, we were certainly not prepared for the final seconds of 2012.

I need to perfect the "arm shot"...our friends on
Bella Star would be disappointed.
As the stroke of midnight neared, the entertainers on stage revved the crowd up with must have been patriotic Mexican speeches as the crowd roared every now and again.  The jumbo-tron now showed only 1 minute to midnight and the crowd was getting ready; noisemakers in hand, confetti poppers poised, people started showing up with bottles of champagne and plastic cups.  The countdown began at 12, 11, 10...of course in Spanish and it wasn't until we got down to 10 that I was able to count out loud...cinco, quatro, tres, dos, uno!  Feliz Año Nuevo!

Even Skeleton Santa got into the
New Year's spirit.
Then it began.  The band started playing some traditional Mexican New year's song and the crowd was dancing in the street.  Picture the scene...the beachfront boulevard closed off to traffic, a bandstand set up on a pier jutting out over the bay, hundreds of people dancing in the streets and then fireworks were set off.  The greatest thing about that was that we were standing pretty much directly underneath them as they were set off and sent soaring above our heads; exploding with a bang and hundreds of tiny colored flames raining down.  All the while, palm trees were silhouetted against the sky by the dazzling fireworks.  And let’s not forget the fireworks guys!  The fireworks were set up in large cans in the street and on the beach.  Then, guys with cigarettes would run up to a can and light a single fuse from the can, watch it sizzle, then run to the next can in the line, avoiding the blast from the previous can as the rocket took off and keeping the whole show moving along at a steady pace.  When his cigarette was finished, someone would hand him another one so he could continue lighting fuses.  That's what I call team work.

Post-celebration in La Paz.
After the fireworks display, the entertainment started up again and the crowd continued to dance.  The smell of gunpowder lingered in the air and the spent shells of the fireworks, along with confetti, streamers, party hats and empty cups, littered the street as little Mexican children played with balloons and noisemakers.  On our way back to the boat, we stopped by the restaurant that had the Skeleton Santa and noted that he had changed outfits and now sported a festive New Year's Eve hat.  It seems everyone here gets into the spirit of the holiday and we are so glad that we decided to stay up and watch the celebration unfold here in La Paz.

Feliz Año Nuevo!

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