Let the good times roll!

Well, not so much in this photo, taken early today, but just you wait!

IT’S MARDI GRAS weekend or, as it’s called in my hardscrabble barrio, el Carnaval.

I’m an old hand at Carnival, Mardi Gras, whatever you want to call it, due to living in New Orleans for 18 years. You want Carnival, go to New Orleans. There is nowhere else like it, even in Rio where, I’ve been told by a relative who went there, the hoopla is confined to a few square blocks. In New Orleans, it’s a citywide riot.

I would love to experience a New Orleans Mardi Gras one more time, but I doubt that will happen, so I’m left with drunken memories.

Likely would be less fun sober anyway, eh?

Here on the mountaintop, no neighborhood embraces Carnaval more enthusiastically than my hardscrabble barrio. Lucky me.

The banners over streets went up yesterday. The first bone-rattling concert will take place tonight. Then another tomorrow night. Then another Monday night. Then another Tuesday night. And at least once that I recall there was yet another on Wednesday night, a pure sacrilege.

That’s Ash Wednesday, for crissakes! Get a grip.

But when a Mexican faces a choice between the Virgin Mary, the Vatican and a fiesta, the fiesta will often win out. We do love our parties and the incredible racket that goes with them.

Mardi Gras 1966 in New Orleans with my first wife who was pregnant. I was 21, and she had just turned 20.

Here at the Hacienda we will sleep with silicone earplugs nightly through Tuesday, perhaps even Wednesday if they cannot apply the brakes.

Why don’t we leave town till Wednesday? I stupidly accepted a reservation at our Downtown Casita months ago before realizing the significance of the dates. They arrive Sunday. We’re trapped. I will not make that mistake next year.

Were I still a drinking man, perhaps I would enjoy the festivities, but I’m not, so I don’t. Feel my pain.

The eternal, infernal racket

PERHAPS THE most jarring cultural aspect that hits people in the face and ears on moving to Mexico from a calmer country is the stunning amount of noise.

Mexicans, to a great degree, are like six-year-olds. They are constantly screaming in one fashion or another. It is noise for noise’s sake. You often want to slap their backsides and tell them to shush! Or no dessert.

I found this video that highlights the issue well. It was shot by a vacationing Gringo who rented an upstairs apartment in the State of Jalisco.

Where we live isn’t quite so bad. The Hacienda property extends one block from our hardscrabble barrio’s main street out front to a dead-end street out back. The actual house abuts the back street where traffic is virtually nonexistent.

So the noise-making is usually a block away. However, as I write this just after 7 a.m., I hear the loudspeaker of a propane truck, and someone is blowing into a tuba somewhere. I am not making this up.

For my first few years here, the noise drove me nuts, but I’ve become accustomed to it. When fireworks blast before dawn or a band blares on the nearby plaza, if I wake up, I just turn over and go back to sleep.

Dawn on the Day of Rest


I HAVEN’T put a sunrise shot here in many a moon, unseen or otherwise.

The Gods of Rain blew and huffed last night as we turned out the lights in the bedroom, heading toward dreams, a sweet soundtrack.

And now, just after 7 a.m., it’s 58 degrees in late June, likely a bit better than wherever you are. Mountaintop living is good.

The church bell on the nearby plaza, as I write this, is clanging away for something or other, or maybe just for pleasure. It seems to do that. And there goes an explosion of fireworks. Don’t they sleep in on Sunday? And there’s music coming out of some distant loudspeaker. Get outa bed!

I’m already up and about.

Here’s how it looks in the other direction. Well, a few minutes ago.

Damp and cool on this Day of Rest.