Fireworks go BOOM!

If I’m completely honest, I’m rather impartial to fireworks. Mostly because a) I’m not a child and b) the vast majority of fireworks shows I’ve seen as an adult have never terribly impressed me. Sydney New Year fireworks being the one notable exception. Lets face it, after the first three or four, they all start to look a bit the same and after 10 minutes of looking skywards you end up with a sore neck. So a fireworks show would have to be something special for me to even mention it.

The Christmas Eve fireworks display in Antigua, Guatemala, was exactly that. A and I arrived the day before and had heard that the locals liked to usher in Christmas in style. We were told there would be celebrations and fireworks at midnight, but nobody really told us much more than that.

So late that night we perched ourselves on the roof of our hostel, looking out over the city, warming our hands over a fire burning in a 40 gallon drum and sipping hot chocolate laced with a generous dash of crema de menthe. As we waited for the show to start, I admit I was sceptical.

A few early starters began to set their fireworks off before midnight, but once the clock struck twelve, the show began in earnest.

The sky lit up with pinks and greens and golds as hundreds and hundreds of fireworks were launched from rooftops all over the city. Crackles and bangs and booms rang out from near and far, some so loud and low that they set off car alarms in the streets. Up on the roof we were able to turn a full 360 degrees and see fireworks in every direction – some as far away as the hill-side suburbs on the outskirts of town, others as close as the house across the street. Soon the show was even closer when some others staying at the hostel launched our own. For more than half an hour glittering fireworks exploded and dazzled one after another after another after another. We laughed, we pointed, we cheered, we ooh and we aaahed and we ducked when one stray firework came closer to our lookout than we would have liked.

After the celebrations had subsided, we headed downstairs to bed, ears ringing loudly and utterly reeking of smoke and sulfur. But we also went to bed with huge smiles on our faces. Santa didn’t really need to bring me a present after that.



The worst Christmas Song ever???

So it’s a few weeks out from Christmas. A and I are cosying up in a little hotel in San Ignacio – it’s off the main street so hopefully traffic noise will be at a minimum. But – whatever – we have earplugs for that.

We slept just fine except we were rudely awoken at the ungodly hour of 7am. Yes – 7am is ungodly to us travellers. I say rudely because it wasn’t roosters or traffic or even people talking in the hallways – all of which I could have coped with. No it was the record store across the road blaring out Christmas Carols. At 7am in the morning. Call me a grinch but that’s a level of Christmas cheer I don’t need. And it went on all day.

What really got my attention was the calibre of Christmas Carols on rotation. Apart from the traditional carols there were the country carols. Now I know that country music has a reputation for sometimes being morose, but these were something else. There were two in particular that somewhat floored me.

First up was this classic by – I’ve since learned – John Denver. Titled “Daddy please don’t get drunk this Christmas”. Really. I couldn’t help myself. I looked up the lyrics:

Just last year when I was only seven
And now I’m almost eight as you can see
You came home at a quarter past eleven
Fell down underneath our Christmas tree

Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry

Mumma smiled and looked outside the window
She told me son, you better go upstairs
Then you laughed and hollered Merry Christmas
I turned around and saw my Mumma’s tears

Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry
No, I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry

And then there was this equally sad one “Daddy won’t be home again this Christmas”. Again, I couldn’t help myself:

Daddy won’t be home again for Christmas
But I’m hoping that this little cheque will fit
Daddy won’t be home again for Christmas
Maybe this will serve to let you know I don’t forget.

The Christmas tree where I’ll be won’t be lighted
But the rain and cold will let us know December’s here
Forgive me for the letters I don’t answer
 I keep thinking I’ll be home again each year.

But daddy won’t be home again for Christmas,
Here’s hoping that this little cheque will fit;
Daddy won’t be home again for Christmas,
Maybe this will serve to let you know I don’t forget.

I know Santa Claus won’t bring you all the things you need,
But maybe he’ll be kinder if he knows,
That I won’t be home again this year to play his role,
Besides I’m much too thin to wear his clothes.

Aren’t they just the cheeriest Christmas songs you’ve ever heard! They are quite sad when you read the words but when they were played straight after Deck the Halls, it did sound quite funny and left me with the giggles. Anyway – I’m now interested to know if anyone else has ever heard bad Christmas songs? What are they – let me know!