Hightailing it from Carnival chaos

I LIVED 18 YEARS in New Orleans, so I know Mardi Gras.

Now I’ve lived 18 years on my Mexican mountaintop, on the hardscrabble outskirts of town. My new paisanos do Mardi Gras too. And of all the neighborhoods, mine embraces Carnival the most. It goes bat-shit crazy.

Carnival is best if you’re a drinking man, which I was during most of my time in New Orleans. Some events are best enjoyed while sloshed.

I embraced the bottle for almost precisely 25 years, from age 26 to age 51. Not coincidentally, that quarter century, which should have been my best and most productive, was precisely the opposite, and booze did it.

I’m going to list the pros and cons of boozing. First the pros:

  1. You feel real good for the first hour.
  2. There is no No. 2.

Let’s move on to the cons:

  1. Your life lacks focus.
  2. Your relationships suffer.
  3. Your job suffers.
  4. You lack concentration.
  5. It’s expensive.
  6. It’s dangerous.

There are others I could put on the cons. Going on the wagon was my best decision ever. My life changed overnight, literally.

New ImageBut being sober, I don’t enjoy Carnival anymore, especially how it’s done where I live now. We try to get out of town, and we’ll be hightailing it tomorrow to a suite hotel in the boondocks between San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo. The place is called the Grand Las Nubes by Inmense. La-dee-dah.

So while the neighborhood plaza at home roars with nightly concerts, we’ll be in the boonies sleeping blissfully with the only sounds being the occasional coyote singing in the moonlight.

And there will be no morning hangovers.

17 thoughts on “Hightailing it from Carnival chaos

  1. When I was a kid we lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Traditional for a wedding there was three nights of partying and dancing in the street to really loud amplified music, basically right outside the window. Which was usually left open because it was hot. Moving would have been a good option…


    1. Creigh: That sounds about like what happens here at the Hacienda now and then, but not for weddings. It’s always other things, usually religious. Mexicans know God likes lots of racket, and they give it to him, full-blast.

      Alexandria, eh? Never ran into Lawrence Durrell, did you?


      1. Before my time, but the Alexandria Quartet made me ashamed of my relative illiteracy for a while. Reading things like “Kisses so amateurish they resembled an early form of printing” will do that.


  2. Las Nubes looks like a great get-away place!! Drinking is way over-rated in my experiences. Enjoy your respite from the festivities.


    1. Peggy: I found the hotel online. Never been there. There’s a nearby restaurant/hotel called Nirvana. We had some coffee at Nirvana’s restaurant once, didn’t eat. That hotel costs way more than Las Nubes, which is why we’re not staying at Nirvana.

      As for drinking, people have different opinions on the matter, of course. As for its being over-rated, I wouldn’t agree for that first hour. Later, yes.


  3. I am reading this while sitting in the bleachers across from Gallier Hall waiting for the Krewe of Iris to roll on by. Throw me something, Mister! (Or Sister)


    1. Gene: Well, this is a small world, ain’t it? I wouldn’t mind being there with you at this moment. I haven’t seen a N.O. Mardi Gras since, I believe, 1983. It was always quite fun but, of course, I was always half-looped, so it would have been fun. Have a good time, and thanks for the feedback.


  4. I was in Mexico for one carnival and that was enough. Even drinking didn’t make it bearable. Loud chaotic scenes just aren’t my thing.


  5. Carnival, really loud, tending to louder. I have not experienced the N.O. version; however, I have seen my share in less-known venues. I am with you. Just too much noise and flamboyance for this old gringo. Don’t mind a snort now and then, but at this point in life, cannot imbibe enough to want a carnival experience. Saludos Señor.


    1. Ricardo: One of my wife’s sisters returned recently after living in Brazil for a while. She said the famous Rio carnival actually takes place in a relatively small part of town, which surprised me. The New Orleans Mardi Gras is immense, the sort of thing any other U.S. city would call out the National Guard to quell. It’s quite an experience. I’d like to attend that one again, but I cannot imagine I ever will.


  6. We have a lot of extremely loud events in my little part of Mexico. We call it the weekend. Carnaval passes by with barely a notice. And less so this year. The local authorities have pared back the parade to bare bones.


    1. Señor Cotton: It appears that Carnival festivities vary widely, depending on where you are in Mexico. In my neighborhood, alas, they go nuts. We just returned from our escape to the boonies between San Miguel and Dolores Hidalgo. It was tranquil in the boonies but, aside from some leftover stuff on the floor of the central plaza Tuesday afternoon, we saw no sign of it in San Miguel either.


  7. Good stuff. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, unless you count Baton Rouge’s. I don’t (count it, that is. Pretty pitiful).

    I can only comment on your reason(s) for drinking from my personal experience. It has never made me feel good, even for an hour. It just makes me feel “less bad.” A subtle distinction, but one nonetheless.


    1. Ray: Baton Rouge and you didn’t drive the 70 or so miles down to New Orleans? Boy, did you make a mistake. It’s an experience of a lifetime. I recommend it. Maybe one day.

      As for your reaction to booze, I’m not sure what to make of it. Less bad? Well, this is depressing. I hope you do not always feel bad. It did make me feel good, quite good. But once you start, you’re facing two options, or at least it’s how it affected me.

      1. Keep drinking, which leads to things getting messy.
      2. Stop, which provides a headache.

      Best not to do it all. That’s what I say.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Felipe,
        Alas we were too poor when I was in Baton Rouge. Graduate student stipends barely kept the lights on.

        The Redhead and I made two attempts to go to New Orleans back then. The first was a successful trip to a Saints game. Tickets were free. The second attempt resulted in a broke-down car about half way there, which resulted in a long, hot, miserable ride back to Baton Rouge in a tow truck.

        We’ve been back a couple of times since those good ol’ days, but never at Mardi Gras. Maybe one day.


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