Category Archives: Happy New Year images

More Raised Voices of the New Year, 2020

At 6 .m. the continuing noises of the party across the street awakened me. By 7:30 they seemed to have quietened, but then a new raised voice took their place. Yesterday, someone put their cow in my spare lot beside my house and after a brief period of silence last night, it has once again begun its cries of distress. I’ve called the guard house to ask if someone could check to make sure it is okay. At first they said no, but then I repeated that this is my lot but not my cow. They have said they’ll send a security car.

Ten minutes later, I myself went down to check on the cow. It seemed to be okay. The rope was not tied around its neck and its horns were not entangled in any tree or bush. It was just bawling. And bawling. And bawling. As I took this photo, the security car pulled up and a very large man got out. Was this his cow, I called down from over the wall, as my house is higher up on the mountain than my spare lot. He answered yes, and then I asked if it was okay. He said yes, that it just missed its calf. Could he not take it up the mountain to be with its calf, I asked? No, because it was eating the grass on my lot, he said. Could he not bring the calf down to its mother? How we resolved the matter I do not know, but the noise has stopped and the cow is gone. I do not at all mind if farmers graze their animals on my lot, but the separation of mother and baby ate at my conscience, not to mention being quite an annoyance as the cow brayed night and day.

Now, after a hearty breakfast,  my house guests have all departed for La Manzanilla and as I see them off, I hear that the party at the house next to the one that partied all night has started up. These are the sort of problems we face in Mexico. Noisy neighbors and overzealous cows. Happy New Year one and all! I said it once before and will say it again. In Mexico, there is always music!!!


Raised Voices of the New Year


Raised Voices of the New Year

The party across the street is still going on full-tllt at 7:00 in the morning! People are screaming and singing in loud voices, albeit off-key. Is this an honest declaration of joy at the coming of the new year and the renewal of the resolutions unaccomplished in the old one, or simply drunken joy at the first rays of sun that will soon conquer the somewhat frigid air to start out the new year? Will our vision be clearer in this year labeled 2020? Will our choices be nobler and less self-serving? Will we make an honest effort to bring the world along with us in our quest for prosperity?

I roll over to seek a few more hours sleep. The party has gone dormant—perhaps to open a new bottle or to put the children to bed at last. I lie suspended in the suspense of when it will flare forth again. How can something that percussive be stilled so quickly? I count off the seconds until the next shouted expression of life. And I am not disappointed. A single maestro of tequila-augmented song lifts his voice if not his baton and the crowd roars to life again. They have renewed the drums!

“I’ll sleep tomorrow,” I vow as i pull a pillow over each ear and belie the statement already, striving for a few more hours sleep. Happy 2020!!! May both our vision and our actions be clearer and finer in the air of this unblemished new year. 

Word prompts today are frigid, honest, renewal, declaration and first.

Sand in My Sangria (Happy New Year 2015)


                                                                 Sand in My Sangria

Last night on New Year’s Eve, there were hundreds of globos (small hot-air balloons) launched from the four-mile stretch of beach that extends from cliff face to cliff face along the oceanfront of La Manzanilla. Graceful paper forms with wire assemblies at the bottom that hold sterno cans or other purveyors of flame, they were lifted by the hot air currents growing within to sail up and gradually southwards—either out to sea or up and over the stone mountain that ends our beach and extends in a small archipelago offshore.
DSC01921                                                                A successful liftoff.

Very few fell to the ocean within our sight, and thanks to a calm night with little wind, none that I saw tipped to burn up during the launch. The sometimes dozens of balloons visible at the same time seemed to be either embers fallen from the near-full moon above or lost souls lifting to join one larger soul above.

Just before midnight, at least 50 globos were released to the air in a string that eventually grew into a freeform circle before spreading to fill most of the sky over Boca de Iguana, 3 miles away at the end of the curve of our part of the bay. Yes. It was magical. And with the exception of the 50+ balloons released in a solid string, most of the night seemed unplanned, or perhaps just one hundred smaller plans joined with no prior agenda.

Parties raged up and down the beach, each with its own bonfire. Gathered to experience together this last special night of the old year were people in beachfront houses with their friends and family, citizens and snowbirds and tourists and vacationers grouped outside of restaurants, campers under beachfront palapas or grouped closer to their fires.

DSC02005DSC02008DSC01999DSC02002Young boys and very old boys set off Roman Candles and Cherry Bombs, firecrackers, flying saucers and other messages to the gods of the night, the old year and the new. Fireworks shot sideways into crowds of other kids or adults. Amazingly, not a palapa roof caught fire. Towards midnight, more spectacular fireworks of a grander scale shot farther up into the pitch black sky.


Music swelled from each of dozens of groups up and down the beach to form one big symphony, as did the shouts, cries and conversations. Gossip mixed with the whispered blessings launched with each paper balloon. Profanity mixed with prayers. Raucous laughter mixed with the sibilant suggestion of conversations farther down the beach.

It was a very special New Year’s Eve. I mixed a big jug of Sangria that none of the tequila drinkers wanted, so I did my best to appreciate it on my own. I went with two friends for the weekly spaghetti feed at Guacamole’s (a beach restaurant). We were seated at the kids’ table, every other table being taken. The seven cousins, brothers and sisters at our table, age 12 to 3, all introduced themselves politely and asked our names. Remarkable little diplomats, they all spoke English and some were from Chapala, near where I live. Everywhere I’ve gone during this visit to La Manzanilla, it has been the same. Mexican children addressing me, saying they like my earrings, asking my name or where I’m from, explaining their family history.

After our spaghetti feast, my two friends departed and I joined Daniel’s raucous group outside the porch of my beach rental. I caused another ½ glass of sangria to vanish before parking my cup on the beach bar to leave the comfort of the tequila sundown club.


That’s my blue cup of Sangria on the “beach bar.” It was still there, icy cold, when I got back. Good cup!

Daniel had built a huge hardwood bonfire that lasted the entire night. I now knew what the big pile of driftwood he’d collected from the beach supply left by the last colossal storm was for. He had thought ahead.


We walked up the beach a mile or two, spying on groups gathered to drink and talk in the New Year. Every group had a bonfire. Almost every group was setting off fireworks and/or globos. It was an acceptable sort of peeping-Tom adventure as I attempted to snap pictures in the darkness.



A foray too close to a man with a fishing net who flicked it just as I snapped my picture had resulted in dozens of little saltwater stains on my lens that only seem to show up when I use the flash at night. Rubbing hasn’t removed them and the tedium of manually removing speck by speck with my editing feature has caused me to just forgo flash photography. This is why pictures are grainy, but you will get the idea, perhaps, of this magical night—my last as a citizen of the year 2014, my first as the very same person, now stretching out to embark upon the rest of her life. Thanks for taking my last walk of the old year with me.
DSC02033My upstairs neighbors tell me the partying went on until 8 a.m. this morning, with one especially loud group (not the one pictured) parked right outside our porch. I had to admit that I was sound asleep by one a.m.. The street outside my bedroom was silent for the first time in the six weeks I’ve been here, with all partiers moved to the beach for their revelries. Since the upstairs renters’ bedroom windows are above the beach, they for once got the full brunt of the noise whereas I had blessed peace for the first time. Thanks, 2015, for this one-night respite from the noise. My first hours in your company were ones of glorious, unbroken sleep.