I Live in Mexico and This is My New Years Eve 2007

When You Retire in Mexico You Probably Won’t Be Eating Out on New Year’s Eve but You May be Wearing Red Underwear

I have red underwear on. No, I don’t usually tell my readers about my underwear, but today this is a culturally significant detail. On New Year’s Eve many Mexicans wear colored underwear to bring them luck in the upcoming year. Red is for more love in the next year (I’m hoping that one pair of underwear per couple is enough because my spouse opted out of the underwear thing this year!), yellow for more money, and white is for something that I’ve forgotten. The underwear is supposed to be new according to one of my neighbors, but mine is “just like new” because I haven’t worn them since last December 31st (Now you know what color my underwear is not on any given day throughout the year.) so I figure that 99% of the luck is still in them.

We will go to our neighbor’s house after his daughter arrives from mass which was given at 9 p.m. in my neighborhood, but is at midnight at many churches. She has grapes so that we can pop 12 grapes, one for each month of the upcoming year, into our mouths making wishes as fast as we can. My suitcase is out and ready to go. Right after we pop the grapes into our mouths we will take our suitcases to the end of the street and back so that we can travel a lot in 2008. Other neighbors will be out doing the same thing and this will be our chance to tell them Happy New Year and even give them their New Year’s hugs.

We saw on the news that in some places people make a stuffed person – – kind of like a scarecrow, and burn him to represent the year that is gone. My husband remembered this tradition from his childhood but no one that we know in Cuernavaca is doing it. I guess we can imagine why.

We’ve had one big adventure this evening in which we could not buy a pizza, nor fried chicken, but did get some expensive sweet bread. At 8:15ish we went out to get a delicious pizza from Costco (hey, we are in Mexico, that’s where it’s good) and found it locked up tight. We saw lots of cars parked in the nearby Mega grocery store, owned by the same franchise and went to see if they were still open. One of our neighbors had told us as we were leaving that we were probably too late because the grocery stores were going to close at 8:00 p.m. We sat in the truck and watched two young men saunter side by side to the automatic sliding glass doors. Would they get in? Would they get in? …NOPE! They stopped short, noses near the unmoving glass panels. They looked around, looked forlornly inside the store and were forced to turn around. Soon after, another man hurried up to the door, almost banging into it when it didn’t open. He did the universal Mexican downward arm gesture for “¡Chin!” (which loosely translates as Darn!) and stomped off. We rolled out of the parking lot amid a stream of unsuspecting shoppers who were also arriving too late.

We thought maybe Dominos. It’s not our favorite pizza here in Cuernavaca, but we had to have something to take with us to the neighbors! Closed. In fact, the only place that was open on the usually busy street we drove up was Kentucky Fried Chicken. That seemed like an appropriate thing to bring to a get together so we pulled in. The line almost stretched out the door. The parking lot attendant told us that he was full and helped us find a place to wait for a spot to open up. There were families hanging out in the parking lot. We got out of the truck and went inside but we only saw people coming in. No one was going out.

I remembered that the fancy sweet bread store, Globo, had been open on Christmas Day when other places were closed so we went there and at long last had something to bring with us when we go tonight!

What’s the lesson in this? When you retire in Mexico, make sure you have all of your New Year’s Eve supplies well in advance.

Happy New Year!

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