The entire island and the Caribbean Sea was on fire. Explosions were going off on every side of us. We were in the middle of a quiet neighborhoods residential street hemmed up. We had to remain still or risk walking through someone’s personal firestorm. It was beautiful. It was violence. It was immense in its volume, everyone was a participant. It was a culture of festival we hadn’t experienced. It was family. It was awesome 🙂
Travel Tip: meet and greet locals. Be discerning but engage by all means. It generally leads to an inside track of enjoyment.
We wanted to party like and with the locals and not the tourists. The advertisements playing on the radio were about these mega parties being thrown in the Hotel Zone and they did not sound like what we were searching for. As the night played out we walked our agreed upon route through a randomly chosen neighborhood we saw droves of people emerging from homes. Some were in costumes, some were dressed to the nines, some wore party hats. The common denominator was familiarity. Family and friends, like in the States but different. It was a family celebration like Christmas and it was festival-like.
At 12 midnight all of the party games stopped and the pyrotechs began their craft. We were in the middle of a random block between violence and awe when we finally appreciated where we were at that moment in time. In love, in a foreign land, in our own way.
You would hear distant rumblings throughout the day. Like a Tommy gun with an extended clip boasting about its staying power. Curious but we didn’t question it. We noticed long lines at makeshift venders in the heart-of-the-hood areas. Meanwhile we’re still looking for the party.
We copped a $20 bottle of $7 wine (the tourist effect) to toast at midnight and went in search of a fireworks display on the ocean front. We were late leaving our apartment and decided to walk through the middle of a neighborhood to get to our oceanfront destination…