We arrived in Puerto Vallarta last year the afternoon of Halloween. Getting settled, our somewhat inconvenient location, and an onslaught of illness prevented us from taking in and enjoying November. Now we are living in the thick of things and at least ambulatory, if not reasonably healthy.
Admittedly, the first half of November was still unseasonably
warm hot here, but that didn’t stop the various festivals and celebrations.
Mexicans do celebrate Halloween. I’m not sure if they always did, but the adorable kids have figured out the gringos love to hand out candy on the Malecon as they pose in their creative costumes.
Dia de los muertos is not to be confused with Halloween, however. Dia de los muertos is the two-day festival honoring the dead with beautiful altars adorned with pictures, ornaments, flowers and more. Of course, music, food, and other festivities fill the town as well. The film, “The Book of Life” was also shown. The movie has done a great job of teaching American children about the festival as I was reminded by my granddaughter Stella when I recently began explaining Dia de los muertos to her, “I already know all about Dia de los muertos, Nana.”
Besides all the Dia de los muertos activities there was a fabulous Chalk Art Festival in Hidalgo Park near Iglesia Guadalupe. There were some fantastic offerings and also fun to see the kids seriously working on their projects. And, we still have the upcoming International Food Festival and Thanksgiving coming up.
As some of you may have heard, we are moving back to the U.S. to address health issues and fight fascism in April. Hopefully, we will still spend a significant amount of time in Puerto Vallarta in the winter. Stick with us, though; there are still more posts to come, and if anyone promises to buy it, I will also turn it into a book.
If you’ve been following us and paying attention, you’ll recall that I tend to be dismissive of holidays in general. Not so, of course, for my wife. Give her a parade, a public concert, or a fireworks display and she’s off like a nine-year-old…
So, the setting: It’s 7 PM and she is trying to coax me out to partake in Day of the Dead festivities. I had just gotten my pirate internet box reprogramed (a $17 house call) and was determined to stay home and watch a movie. No quarrel, she accepted my anti-social, couch-potato pig-headedness and simply went out on her own, saying she’d be listening to free music two blocks away. Perfect!
I settle in and fiddle my way through the reorganized and simplified options on the box, selecting the film “Spotlight.” My hearing has recently diminished; I am sitting two feet from the TV wearing cheap little headphones (to you perhaps the very picture of pitiable senior sadness, to me one of deep media contentment). The movie is going great, especially augmented by a bowl of peanuts and a Dr. Pepper.
Holidays are for fools, I’m rockin it here at home! Then, the picture freezes…the stream is gone and after trying for fifteen minutes and failing to get back to its exciting conclusion, I give up. After processing a little anger/frustration, I figure I’ll just go out and rescue my sweet wife from the dark unknown of the Mexican night.
Down the hill two blocks, take a left, and BOOM, the hood is hoppin’. A band on stage, folding chairs for maybe a hundred music lovers…and on the periphery many more people standing, sitting on walls, guys from Blondies, (the gay bar at the corner) body painted as skeletons, working the crowd with trays full of drinks in plastic cups. I’m guessing mostly rum and tequila.
It is hot. It is crowded and noisy. I look for Marcia and finally see her on a chair three rows back from the band. The seat next to her on her right is empty, as I approach I see tiny beads of sweat glistening on her neck. Past the giant illuminated skulls, the balloons and banners, the odd Trump piñata, I slide in beside her, silently.
Her head is cocked ever so slightly to the left as she clutches her glass of sangria, giving her full attention to what I consider the mariachi nightmare. She does not turn to acknowledge my presence and at first I am concerned that she may be angry at me. But she is not angry, she is oblivious. Her chair is three inches from mine; I move my bare left knee forward as far as possible. She knows this knee, but nothing. I place my left hand with its (matching) wedding band upon my left knee. Still, nothing. One of the high points of my marriage and my Mexican adventure comes from the fact that I actually sat next to her for 25 minutes before she saw me. When we finally made contact, I told her that I felt honored to be in a committed relationship with the World’s Least Watchful Person. We laughed and sweated through the next act, an Elvis impersonator, and then walked slowly up the hill back to our apartment.
The next day, I was able to stream the last part of my movie.