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Vacation Journal
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My Post Modern Abstract Expressionistic Cut And Paste Recollections of New Years Eve: Isla Mujeres, Q. Roo, MX 12-31-2007

By: whozat
Date: 1/15/2008

My Post Modern Abstract Expressionistic Cut And Paste Recollections of New Years Eve: Isla Mujeres, Q. Roo, MX 12-31-2007

I do solemnly swear that the following statement is my best recollection of events as I experienced them this last New Years Eve, more or less: so help me Chac Mool and Ixchel on a stack of Microdyn, Hawaiian Tropic SPF Dark Tanning Oil and a three day old copy of "Por Esto"...

New Year's Eve day started innocently enough for me...I did a "regular beach day"...hit Playa Sol about 9am to get the best choice of umbrella and beach chair, read the Miami Herald (kind of like a campus newspaper only more time share ads), Coctel de Camaron and lots of Crystal water and only a little rum-and-pineapple for lunch, nothing extreme...

Something out-of-the-usual happened late in the afternoon, there was a really sweet wedding on the beach at Playa Sol...the Good Rev Sabina presiding, Capitan Tony photographing, nothing too extraordinary and a lovely sunset ceremony, the bride was handsome and the groom was lovely (or something like that)

As is my usual New Years Eve strategy, I headed back to the apartment shortly after sunset at 5:20, to get a shower and a siesta before the festivities in El Centro...so far so good...

About 10:30pm I caught a taxi to El Centro to begin my New Year's Eve...I walked around the Zocalo, stopped at Miguel's Moonlight to say "hi" and headed up Hidalgo to check out the scene...I went to Taqueria Medina for a couple of tacos al pastor and some frijoles a la charra especial, a good sturdy dinner to guard me for my night ahead...at this point, I had studiously avoided any alcohol intake, for it is always my intention to survive and remain totally ambulatory all night long...I've done this before, this was my fifth New Years Eve on Isla Mujeres...

About 11:45, I made my way towards the Zocalo for the Big Countdown...I noticed a lot of really wasted turistas everywhere...apparently not everybody has the same strategy as me...

On the Zocalo, the gathered crowd hummed with excitement as the clock on the Palacio Municipal ticked closer and closer to midnight...finally the big moment came, and someone on the stage started the countdown..."DIEZ...NUEVE...OCHO" the crowd chanted..."QUATRO...TRES...DOS...UNO...FELIZ ANO NUEVO!!!" and everybody screamed and made a lot of noise, a lot of hugging and kissing all around and a lot of beverages being hoisted aloft...

The salsa band started...I found my friends who had reserved a table and a spot for me...I hugged those I needed to hug and shook hands with those whose hands I needed to shake...

I listened to the opening number by the band...I ran into a small crowd of friends and we all decided to go have a celebratory beverage at Miguel's Moonlight...Miguel's Moonlight was in full swing...for that matter, Miguel himself was in full swing...



There were a lot of people at Miguel's...I ordered up a full tray of tequila shots for our little group, only to find that half the group was not about to even think about doing a tequila shot...I was not about to start the New Year by wasting tequila, so I promptly did about three of those tequila shots in rapid order...ooooooh boy...

The big attraction at Miguel's Moonlight was the slow and inevitable destruction of an otherwise innocent pinata...



This was a major amusement...there was a rope stretched from the balcony of the store across the street to the top of Miguel's...on the rope was a small pulley...the rope to the pinata ran through the pulley...various jokers were working the pinata rope...they would intice people walking down Hidalgo to take a few whacks at the pinata...many of the pinata whackers seemed to be very attractive young women in various states of inebriation...perhaps it was coincidental that these inebriated young women were wearing short-ish skirts...perhaps it was coincidental, perhaps not...regardless of gender or attire or relative inebriation, the whole thing was vastly amusing...from my distance...and the tequila was taking hold...



Miguel (the musician) and his partner set up under the awning across the street from Miguel's Moonlight, they provided the musical backdrop for the destruction of the pinata...I remember they played the song "Tequila" and on the famous breaks in the music I screamed "PI—ATA" instead of "TEQUILA"...eventually, the results of whacking on that pinata ended up as surprisingly the same as the results of tequila on my brain...



By this time, I was laughing my ass off...Miguel (the bar owner, not the musician) made me the second or third (who was counting?) of many large Margaritas en rocas in a large flourescent green plastic "go cup" and I got ambulatory...back to the Zocalo...time to dig the band...



The music was loud-ish, the beat throbbing...



The singers were frantic, the crowd was dynamic...



The musicians were working it, the dancers were dancing it...



Hundreds and hundreds of people were in the Zocalo...the date/time stamps on these photos from my camera show 2:45am on January 1, 2008...



I tried to work my way through the dancers, tried to get some decent photos of the action on the stage...



The drums were drummy and the horns were horny...



Nobody cared how late it was, time didn't matter...



I stumbled out of the Zocalo area and wandered back the half block up the street back to Miguel's Moonlight for another large Margarita in a glow-in-the-dark "go cup"...I somewhat foolishly decided that this very moment was the time for me to try my very first shot of La Pinta pomogranate tequila...



Whoa! this stuff was like cough syrup, only funkier...the date/time stamp on this photo was 3:45am 01/01/08...and the party was getting hotter and hotter...

Somebody from somewhere liked the first pinata so much, they went and got another one...



Pinatas everywhere eventually meet the same fate...in with the old and out with the new...this second pinata was whacked at even more frantically than the first one earlier...I was laughing even harder by this time...and still working those large Margaritas in the day-glo go cups...



At this point, I was still ambulatory, still in better shape than the late pinatas...at least temporarily...

Green go cup in hand, I ambulated up Higalgo, to check out the residual damage to the party population...it looked semi brutal...different bars and establishments were in various states...the deesco were going full blast, the bars were winding down, Taqueria Medina was packed with taco eaters...

About 4 or 4:30 am, as I was heading back to Miguel's Moonlight, I was stopped by the sight and sound of a trumpet player, playing a solo rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" in front of the now closed Angelo's...he finished, I applauded wildly and ran up to him...

"That was GREAT!"
"Thanks, man"
"Are you American?"
"Um, actually, I'm Canadian"
"Wow, are you a professional?"
"Yeah, I play with the Vancouver Symphony"

I stopped for half a second and thought...

"Howdja like to make a quick 20 bucks American?"
"What?"
"Yeah. I'll pay you 20 bucks American if you come do this again in front of my friend's bar down the street"
"I'll do it, but I don't want your money, man"
"NO! I insist! You are a professional, and I insist on paying you as a professional to play "Auld Lang Syne" in front of Miguel's Moonlight for the crowd there"
"OK let's go!" he said, and we shook on it and headed to Miguel's...

I was doing pretty good myself by this time, it was about 4:30am or so...

This photo is a fairly accurate representation of my state of mind and the state of Miguel's Moonlight at this time...



I rushed into Miguel's ahead of the trumpeter, screaming at Miguel..."TURN OFF THE MUSIC!!! TURN OFF THE MUSIC" Miguel looked at me funny, but I have been a good enough customer for a long enough time for him to know I meant business...I told him..."I got some music for you!!!"

Miguel turned off the stereo and the trumpet player from Vancouver stood across the street, planted his feet, and blasted "Auld Lang Syne" high and clear, ringing off the building, sound cascading over the crowd remaining at Miguel's. A little stunned and surprised at first, one by one we all started singing along with the trumpet...finishing up "Annnnd daaaaays of Aullllld Lannnng Synnnnne", everyone screamed, Miguel rushed out with a shot of tequila and a beer for the musician, I gave him a crisp clean US $20 bill and then Miguel gave me a big hug and insisted I have another shot of Hornitos, on the house, for my moment of inspiration and decision...

By this point, it was getting late and I was getting pretty seriously impared in one way or another, but I ordered up one last Margarita and asked Miguel for my tab...seeing as how I had been walking in and out of Miguel's all night, and buying myself and a lot of other people drinks and shots and beers, I knew I was in for a little potential sticker shock, but my tab was not that painful, all things considered, about 1200 pesos for the whole thing...I thought for half a second what the same tab might have been in New Orleans or New York City or Las Vegas for the same night of New Year's Eve fun, and paid that tab gladly, with a enormous tip for Miguel and his crew and his family...

I sat, drinking my Margarita in the green glow in the dark go cup, wondering what I should do next...it was almost 5am, the party on the Zocalo was winding down, there were only a handful of hardcore partiers left at Miguel's Moonlight...I wondered if there was a sober soul left anywhere, a voice of reason, a spark of guidance...



"Psst...ey vato!!! Go home, man...you've had enough fun for one night...go home and get some sleep, dude..." At least that's what I thought he was saying to me...

So somehow I wandered away, over to the Sitio de Taxis...I managed to get in a taxi and head back to Colonia La Gloria...everywhere, there were people staggering, doing the same as me or even heading to another party somewhere on the island...it was about 5:30am by the time I got home and there were party fires burning still...but it was time for me to say...

"Happy New Year...let's do it again next year"


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