It was the best party – by far – that I have ever been to and I as a general rule don’t much care for parties anymore. But this one was spectacular. And as hard as it is might seem to believe, this party beat Rio’s Carnival hands down. Maybe because it was less hedonistic and more personal and then there was just so much of everything going on; kids and families everywhere. Two of the most enthusiastic supporters were 2 little girls, 3 doors down, whom I watched out of the corner of my eye because they were so positively delightful. If they weren’t laughing and shouting and clapping their hands to the music, they were dancing or they were dashing into the street to throw confetti on the giant masked dancers. They did this for 2 straight hours. But then I left to go down the street so for all I know they were out there all night like a lot of other kids I saw all night wide-eyed and having a great time.

Imagine people in giant (up to 6’ tall and 4’ wide) handmade masks dancing down the street (my street) for 8 solid hours. We’re talking 89 different groups – meaning different masks and headdresses – with on average of 20 people per group. Dancing, cavorting, jumping, and twirling.

From 5 pm until 1 am there was literally a river of people pouring down Calle Victoria ; 8 straight hours of music and dancing.

All my neighbors were serving punch (pronounced pun-che) and botanas (snacks). The punch were all variations of water, sugar, diced up apples, chopped nuts, chocolate, and a little alcohol. Delicious.

I stood in front of my house holding an umbrella sipping on punch and eating small plates of botanas that my neighbors kept bringing to me. Everyone was sitting out in lawnchairs either holding umbrellas, sitting in doorways, or standing under erected tent like structures. It wasn’t just the neighbors; it was their families and out of town friends. Thousands and thousands of people. People from all over Mexico were there for the fiesta; some Mexicans came from as far away as Los Angeles. There was a light rain falling but it certainly didn’t detract from the good time everyone was having.

One of the busted down old cowboys I see from time to time walking on Victoria either to or from plaza or the Mercado stopped and accepted some of my tequila. We chatted a little as we watched the parade of people. He understood me and I mostly understood him; I like plain talk, brevity, and big chunks of silence in between. I like this old man like I do some of the other old guys who live arriba; that’s up and over the hill from me. And I want to be like this guy when I am 75; lean as a greyhound, skin the color of dark roasted coffee, and cheekbones sharp as knives. He probably doesn’t have 10 pesos to rub together; but regardless of which he’s a true gentleman possessing the dignity that some men get after fighting the good fight; not winning but not exactly losing either.

I walked a block and a half down and sat with my friend, Jose and his bunch of people. He too had an unlimited source of punch which we’d mix with a little tequila. The carpenter next door had his shop doors open and we’d pop over there from time to time to shoot the breeze and swap tequila for cold beer. Every couple of blocks there was a fresh source of loud dance music to keep all dancers fired up as they moved down the hill like one gigantic gyrating snake. The whirling men (and women) in their huge headdresses covered with shiny sequins caught the street lights and reflected back every color in the rainbow. I got home at 1:30 am and was still sober enough to check the news and look at my email before I washed up and went to bed.

What a great evening.

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