Happy New Year, and welcome to OnVallartaTime!
Today’s post is appropriate for the new year, and I hope will be visually interesting. But first, a bit about what we have been doing. It has only been a little over a week since the last issue, but we’ve been busy, as might be expected over the Holidays.
We went out for a very nice dinner with friends on Christmas Eve at Daiquiri Dick’s, for what is becoming an annual tradition. A great time was had by all, including lighting sparklers on the beach! We also went out for dinner with other friends on New Year’s Eve before stopping in for a drink at Twisted Palms Rooftop Bar, a regular hangout. Puerto Vallarta puts on a terrific New Year’s Eve celebration every year, with street dancing on Calle Olas Altas followed by a huge fireworks display on the beach.
We skipped those crowded activities this year, opting for a quiet night and wanting to watch what we could see of the fireworks from our terrace. But when we got home, we found a traditional Mexican family New Year’s Eve fiesta in full swing at our landlord’s apartment downstairs. A table was set up in the street for the party, which was going on both inside and outside the house. We were invited to join in, and we had a great time! The pozole was fabulous, the company was very welcoming and happy, and the tequila flowed freely. We actually “rang in” the new year as the church bells rang twelve times at midnight, with the traditional twelve personal wishes for the coming year as we ate twelve grapes. There were lots of toasts to the new year, hearty abrazos all around, and the kids set off some fireworks in the street in front of the house.
Here we are at Twisted Palms on New Year’s Eve with our friends and neighbors Pat and Vic Goodwin.
The New Year’s Eve pozole, traditional Mexican stew, made with mild chile-flavored meat broth and hominy, fragrant with herbs and spices. To serve, the pozole went into the bowl, followed by the previously-prepared meat, either pork or chicken. Accompaniments are added at the table.
The accompaniments: lime juice, radishes, onions, cabbage, and a very spicy salsa.
Our hosts, Rosario and Bernardo Peña Aceves.
Last week we had a couple of days of rain, which curtailed our activities a little but also let us get off the beach and get some things done, like food shopping. We make short jaunts every few days for fresh necessities, like eggs, veggies and fruit, but every so often we have to mount a more serious expedition to a major supermarket to stock up on items that aren’t as readily available in the neighborhood. And, they usually have everything we need at the supermarket all in one place, unlike the small neighborhood stores. I always feel a little sorry for the tourists, both Mexican nationals and foreign, when it rains for that week between Christmas and the New Year. But for those of us longer-term residents, it’s a blessing, bringing cooler and less humid weather and leaving everything fresh and clean.
Now to the subject of this post — doors. I have been collecting pictures of doors for some time. Here in Mexico, there are many different types. Some are elaborate, some are humble. Almost all are made with security in mind. Since traditional Mexican architecture often hides beautiful courtyards and houses behind very plain doors, they can be surprising. As you will see, I’m a sucker for the carved wooden ones, but all of them are somehow exotic.
I find these doors interesting, mysterious even. If they are closed, what’s behind them? If they are open, maybe there’s a glimpse into others’ lives, something very different from our own. In fact, open doors often bring about more questions than answers.
We are all familiar with the quote from Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another door opens; but we look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” That, to me, is the real philosophical significance of doors, and what makes them so apropos for the New Year holiday.
The New Year celebration is a time of doors. The old year closes, the new year opens. What will it bring? At my age, I am very aware of how fortunate I am to see 2016. So many of the ones whom I have loved most in my life are no longer on this journey with us, and will never see this new year. But all of us who are still here have the ability to see the door of this year opening.
The quote above means to me that every door, open or closed, is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for endings, new beginnings, and new adventures and experiences to savor and enjoy. It is up to each and every one of us to make of it what we will.
I hope you enjoy these pictures of doors. Some are open, some are closed, just like real life!
The carved wooden doorway to an artisanal clothing shop.
The open door of a house . Kitchens are often at the front; there is a courtyard in the back.
The rest of these photos I will add without captions. It’s pretty obvious what they are…
And finally, the door to our own apartment, up the steps that welcome us home in the evening. The gate is closed, but the door is open!
Well, that’s it for this post. As always, I enjoy your comments and questions, and I try to answer each one. See you back here next time on OnVallartaTime!
As a parting shot, here is something from the “Only in Mexico” file — a pickup load of lifeguards! They get dropped off in the mornings at their stations along the beach.