05 January, 2013

Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year's - Just Too Exhausting

Ok. I'm glad the holiday season is done.

I don't think I would have been able to keep up the celebrating for much longer. First there was Christmas Day dinner at Elsie's place.
Elsie and Christina
We were greeted by Elsie and her friend Christina, who stayed over the holidays. Although it's a two bedroom apartment, Elsie's place seems huge, well, big enough to comfortably put on this Christmas dinner. Alan, Elsie's SO, was absent. He'll be coming down from Canada just around New Year's.
Photogs At Work
Just before the final preparations began, it seemed everyone wanted to snap some shots of the proceedings. So, there was a lot of pictures being taken of other folks taking pictures.

Shortly after we got there, Dianna got busy fixing the gravy. Here she is being all chef-like early on.
Dianna Making Gravy
There was time, even as the cooking was proceeding to stop and smell the roses, as it were. Here's Denis and Vivien enjoying some refreshments before things really got going.
Denis and Vivien
And then, when it got serious, everyone thinks they're Chef Boyardee (who was a real person). It worked out fine however, because the meal was perfectamundo.
Something About Too Many Cooks?
Just before we sat down to eat, I caught Craig putting out the salads. He and Mae made them and with the veggies, fruit, and nuts, it was yummers.
Craig Placing the Yummy Salads
Then, when the turkey bird was ready, I snapped this photo just before it began to get ripped apart by the hungry hordes.
Meal, Ready To Eat...
Even though I held myself to one helping (of everything) I got stuffed. That was pretty much it for Christmas Day.

Then there was Boxing Day. For you non-Brits or other colonials who have gotten lax on the proper celebrations, this is the day after Christmas day, where the lords of the manor gave the 'staff' either the boxes stuff came in or the stuff they didn't want or something like that. I'm not real sure. Anyway, we celebrated that event at Maria and Ed's place.
Dave and Denis Hard at Work
Again, everyone worked really hard getting ready. I know it looks like we're all just hanging out (which we're really good at), there was a huge amount of work that went into getting ready for each of these parties.
Relaxing at Ed and Maria's
Christmas In Belize
This is one of the few photos I have of anyone actually working. Here it's Ed carving up a scrumptious Christmas ham.
Ed Carving the Ham
Twyla and Maria
This originally was billed as snacks and some byob-type drinks. Oh no. It blossomed (as these things do) to a full-blown Christmas ham with all the trimmings afair. You know, potatoes of two or three different types, a couple of different salads, rolls and butter, mustard, a veggie tray, many different deserts, and so on.

Before I forget, this was preceded by horses duvers.... hors d'overs..., Hors d'oeuvres..., appetizers, whatever. There were enough of those were enough to feed half the town of Corozal.

Then we move up to New Year's. I have to say, I think the economy of Belize is improving vastly. The reason? Well, for Christmas, which used to be the real biggy as far as fireworks, let's just say the fireworks were the usual displays. Not bad. But, about after a half hour or so, the noise from the star shells and other explosives, managed to work itself down to one every now and then, and finally petered out. A fairly normal display.

For New Year's Eve, wow! I couldn't believe it. Horizon to horizon, noise and more noise. And it went on and on for several hours. And, not just the fireworks - at least I think they were fireworks, Ok, with maybe some other explosives mixed in for effect, but I think that every other neighborhood in Corozal and Ranchito had a band or a humungous sound system - maybe both. All night long.

We must be becoming Belizean. The music blasting all night has even begun to sound like normal activity to us - either that or we're simply becoming slightly deaf. Dare I say, that we even look forward to it now?

In fact, the next morning, when I walked the dogs, there were still parties going on. I walked near one in Ranchito. They were still setting off fireworks, playing music and it sounded like there was a yard full of people still whooping it up. Even when I was young, I would have been hard pressed to keep up with these folks. That was around 6:30 in the morning. But they weren't the hard core party goers.

No sir. Not by a long shot. Around 8:00 or so that morning, there was still the sounds of parties going strong from virtually every direction in Corozal. Approaching noon, things finally began to settle down and get quiet, of course with sporadic outbursts of fireworks and some sound system here and there being momentarily cranked.

There had to have been a fortune spent on fireworks alone, not to mention the bands, sound systems (I'm sure some of those were rented), food, drink, rented tables and chairs, and party tents (all big business year-round here).

If you're worried about putting rice and beans on the table for the family, you're not going to spend near as much on the trappings necessary for a great bashment for your family and friends, so that is my rationale for saying things have improved markedly.

Out of the almost six years that we've been here, this was by far the biggest, loudest, most long-lasting celebration of the new year that we have witnessed. At least I hope it is a sign that the economy here is improving. It will only help if it is.

Well, since we're on New Year's as the topic, things just didn't wind down, they kept going. Earl and Gail had their traditional New Year's Day Brunch, which we made it to for the first time in a couple of years.
Quite a Feast
This always attracts a large crowd of folks. There were people we haven't seen in a long time. There were also people we hadn't ever seen before. It was all fun. And just a ton of food to eat. Earl too, had a great ham to wolf down.
Everyone Getting Comfy
Gail and Earl's back yard is big enough that they could spread tables and chairs out for everyone to enjoy. That is, until it decided to dump bucketfulls of rain all over. Earl literally worked up a sweat getting all the tables and chairs under cover before the guests all arrived. That goodness their back veranda or patio is easily large enough to handle the crowd.
Nice Covered Patios
Lots of Folks Outside
Not only were there lots of folks outside, but in the dining area inside, there was no shortage of people either. And there too, there was no sense of being crowded.
Even More Inside
Looking the Other Direction
Not everyone is so easily impressed. Young Thomas, Ed and Maria's boy, ignored the goings-on and concentrated on his Lily-Pad..., Leap-Pad..., (something like that) interactive computer learning toy/thing.
Some Are Not Impressed With the Festivities
Just about the time we left Earl and Gail's, the rain slacked off and the sun began to appear.
Which was fortuitous, since we had our own event to get back to. We hosted the second annual Corozal Men's Group Polar Bear Swim.
Our Intrepid Polar Bears
With water temps barely able to reach 83°(f) on the thermometer, it's only brave souls strong enough to jump into the pool.
Braving the New Year's Day Chill
Complete with pot luck snacks, a tee shirt, specially printed for the event, and, I wouldn't have believed it possible with the rain earlier, but glorious sunshine as the hardy swimmers braved the icy chill of our swimming pool to earn their tee shirts.
Showing Off
One of the Men's Group members, Doug, was called back to Canada on short notice. I outfitted him with a tee shirt on the promise that he would provide documentation of his completing an appropriate swim to earn his shirt.
Doug In Canada
He sent down a photo of himself and some friends fulfilling his obligation on New Year's Day no less. He said it was -4°(f), the hot tub was 102°(f) and the beer somewhere in between. I wonder, what is that white stuff all around them?

So, after the polar bear swim festivities and ceremonies, we were finally able to relax. My God. I don't remember a holiday season here in Corozal that was as all-encompassing and as all-exhausting as this one. It's going to take the rest of the year to recouperate and prepare for next year.


Richard Lawry said...

Looks like you have been very busy. Happy New Year!

An Arkies Musings

Dave Rider said...

Hi Richies,

It's been quite a while since we've heard from you. Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year.

We did, and we're keeping busy - but not too busy.