Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015 in Panajachel, Guatemala

Yay, Halloween! It was such a crazy day and night. Mostly happy with some downer moments. Here it is in photos!
The picture you've been waiting for! Me as the Queen of Hearts, la Reina de los Corazones
Bert's amazing face paint. He did it himself. I came home to find him like this!
Hand painted skeleton costume! Amazing work, Bert!
An entire pumpkin pie made for me by Dolce Vita. It was delicious!
My mini-bar station at Gringos Locos, on the patio. Jello shots to the left, baby head to the right! HA!
(Plus part of a pumpkin face behind my crown. Looks weird!)
That's the back of me going into Gringos Locos through our monster mouth doorway!
I made pumpkin faces for all the globe lights in the bar but we decided just to put up this one. Looks so great, doesn't it?
Cassidy, the bar owner and our good friend, wants to keep it up year-round.
(By the way, these globes are almost 3 feet across.)
The gruesome torso in a place of honour on the fireplace mantle. That's Cassidy's disembodied head on the bottom right! :)
Another shot of the patio. The table in the foreground shows the candles (that we never lit), bowls of candy, and an ayote painted orange! I'm entering on the right with more jello shots!
Close up of my candy display. The special drink menu is on the table too.
Another shot of me... I was outside so the people walking by on the street stared a lot! When I was bored, I'd go out and stand at the railing and wave.  :D
Bert helped me so much with the decorating! He put up the balloons on the window grates, and hung my origami bats all over the patio. We had black garbage bags cut into ribbons and hanging from the patio rafters, blowing in the wind, and a big white garbage bag spider web. Plus our dead baby heads, plastic spiders, gruesome torso, and skeleton garland. It all looked so cool!
My buddy and all-around awesome great guy. Oso Perezoso! I made that tag as a costume for whoever needed it. He got some good laughs with it!

Some friends came without costumes so they improvised and drew some using paper and markers. So hilarious!
The lovely Jo-Lori with the mask she bought in Antigua on our trip! 
So I was all set up and ready to party at 6pm... which we discovered was WAY too early. The real partying didn't begin until probably 11, which is actually kinda late for this town.

But it turned out that it was great we were set up early because, SURPRISE, we got actual trick-or-treaters!! I was so freaking thrilled!! Little Guatemalan kids came by in costume, which sometimes was just something made of paper or garbage bags, holding up their plastic grocery bags and saying, "Dulce or truco!"

Bert and I were so pumped to hand out candy! Good thing I had bought some for the party, but even then, we had to run out for extras twice. Most of the kids were super grateful and shy and adorable, although there were several young boys who tried to trick us by offering the bags up more than once. (Just like back home! HA!) A few kids even asked for a jello shot, but we told them there was alcohol in them.  :)
We gave out candy to kids passing by too, costume or not! Candy for everyone!! A friend also brought his two children by the bar and the two bowls of candy at the table they were sitting at were suddenly empty and they were walking around with bulging pockets. Hee hee!
Bert and I both commented that our faces were hurting from smiling so much. It was truly awesome. Bert says it was his favourite part and that next year we need to focus more on candy and less on booze. Not a bad idea! :D

Pretty soon the kids stopped coming, and the adults started imbibing. The Jello shots were very popular. They don't sell them around here, although I may have started a trend! There was one Guatemalan man who asked to try one because he had "seen it in the movies." He said it was pretty good! My amazing friends all came by to support my mini-bar and buy shots from me. Thanks, guys!

A rare photo of Bert and me. Aren't we fabulous?
(This is later in the night so drinks have been drunk by both of us! I'm holding a bottle of cherries, don't remember why.)
Bert trying some intestines as a snack, and Edwin, who once taught Bert Spanish. 
Our wonderful friend, L, who showed up better-late-than-never!

I wish I had taken more pictures at Gringos Locos but I was having too much fun! I was slightly sad that more people didn't show up, like strangers and stuff, but I was happy my friends were there. We played some cool old 80s songs and drank and talked and laughed! Gringos Locos is such a cool bar cuz it feels like partying in someone's basement or cottage. Such a relaxed atmosphere and such easy-going peeps most of the time. Anyone can basically go up and put on music, we've all taken a turn at bartending, and Cassidy, the owner, was cool enough to let me decorate the place and put up with me insisting that NO pink or baby blue balloons were blown up on Halloween!  :D

Bert had gone out for a walk to get candy earlier on in the night and got soooooo many looks and comments, so I decided to go see what was happening in town too. We left the mini-bar in Oso's capable hands (paws?) and strolled off down the road.

Palapa Bar. I loved how many awesome balloons they had! A band was tearing down and another started soon after. Palapa is such a fun place to hang out!

I dragged Bert into Atlantis to see this awesome band playing! No one was really there yet so I just danced a bit -- they rocked! -- and they we left. I think we might go back there more often. It's a pretty cool bar, plus they have good pizza!

A blow-up carriage with skeletons in the new Moka Bar. Totally cool bar. I will definitely be going back there!
Umbrellas above the bar at Moka.

Bert looking for a light at Moka bar.
Pana Rock! I've never been in. They're always super busy though.
Sorry for the blurry. I'd eaten (drunk?) a lot of jello at this point. :)
We dropped into La Cueva (the Cave) but it was dead. They had the best decorations, in my opinion. I felt bad for them because they had worked so hard to have a great Halloween party but it was empty all night. I think they fell victim to the "no one is here so I'm not staying" syndrome of bars. Do you know what I mean?
We had a lot of fun walking the main streets. Many people waved and stared at us, and a few people asked to get their picture taken with us! Total strangers taking our picture! So weird.

I still feel Pana is a lot like Niagara Falls at night. It's very garishly lit, the smell of street food and car exhaust is everywhere, there's music blasting from five different bars, and it's all in a very concentrated area of partying and lights and crowds. Some people find it offputting, but if you're in the mood to party, it's the place to be!

There were a lot more adults dressed up later in the night, some of them quite creatively! Many people commented that Bert's costume could wins a prize, which made him very happy. Several people commented in Spanish about Dia de los Muertos and calavera (skull). I think people were a bit more mystified as to what I actually was but they liked the fancy dress and crown!

We made our way back to Gringos Locos and partied some more with our friends. At some point later in the night, a fellow showed up in a skull mask and wouldn't tell us who he was. Here he is in a picture with Cassidy, who was Thing 2! (Although his cheap Guatemalan blue hair paint never stuck to his hair... only melted and ran down his neck!)
Mystery man hanging off the patio.
Well, Mystery Man in the mask turned out to be involved in how our fun party turned sour. I didn't see what happened and I've heard mixed stories, but somehow Mystery Man pissed someone off and got stabbed in the chest with a broken beer bottle. Chaos ensued! Oso, L, and a few other friends bolted off to Palapa, and Bert went with them, not knowing what was truly happening. I stayed at my mini-bar and tried to distract our friend's two children from the yelling bleeding man who had come out to the street to call the cops. I think at least eight policemen showed up at our little bar and filled the room with their big guns. (They don't carry handguns, they carry large guns that look to me like shotguns, but it's possible they're M16s. I don't know guns too well.)

At first I was relieved that the cops were there, but there were still far too many macho guys crowding around and things didn't seem to be getting better. It was strange because it seemed the cops had no control over the situation. They didn't clear the room, they didn't ask someone to turn off the music (I was the one who asked the bartender to turn it down), they didn't keep people from walking in off the street. They just seemed to be standing there in a big group of black cloth and leather, listening to people yell out their stories.

Bert came racing back from Palapa when our friends told him about the guy's reputation, and that they didn't want the guy to come back with friends and guns. Bert was like, "I left my girlfriend there!!" So he comes blazing in like my hero, and I'm refusing to go because there are KIDS in the bar and no one was taking care of them. But Bert was frantic to leave, so I grabbed our stuff and dumped it in the kitchen, left the kids with the bartender, and took off.

We ended up at Palapa and talked with our friends about what really happened. No one was sure, so we just shrugged it off. I ended up going home cuz I was so tired, and Bert stayed out to party. He got to go to some neat bars we hadn't been in before, although he wasn't too impressed.

So that was our crazy Halloween in Panajachel 2015! We had a blast, no one died, and we ate tons of candy. That's a success in my books!  :)

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