Monday, April 30, 2007

Email from a friend


My flight was being served by an obviously gay flight attendant, who seemed to put everyone in a good mood as he served us food and drinks. As the plane prepared to descend, he came swishing down the aisle and told us that Captain Marvey has asked me to announce that he'll be landing the big scary plane shortly, so lovely people, if you could just put your trays up, that would be super. On his trip back up the aisle, he noticed this well-dressed and rather Arabic looking woman hadn't moved a muscle. Perhaps you didn't hear me over those big brute engines but I asked you to raise your trazy-poo, so the main man can pitty-pat us on the ground. She calmly turned her head and said, "In my country, I am called a Princess and I take orders from no one", to which (I swear) the flight attendant replied, without missing a beat, "Well, sweet- cheeks, in my country I'm called a Queen, so I outrank you. Tray-up, Bitch."
The Fiesta post will take a few days to organize...Been a helluva ride. More later.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ain’t Gonna Rest-a Until After Fiesta

At 9:00 am today, the 116th Fiesta San Antonio officially began. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about Fiesta Week lasts 10 days, draws a crowd of 3.5 million, and has an estimated economic impact of nearly $260 million. (Info from the Fiesta San Antonio website.) It is a city-wide festival in remembrance of the Battles, victories, and sacrifices of the Texas Revolution. It brings together the best of Texas Cultures, and celebrates the unique and magnificent heritage that is San Antonio.
Anyone who has seen any of my Fiesta posts from the past couple of years knows that Fiesta time is my favorite time of year. It‘s like Christmas, New Years, The Fourth of July, Spring Break, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one. It is one serious party and, as such, requires serious preparation.
For the last few days I have been getting ready. This is not one night of debauchery or a few days of decadence. Fiesta is 10 days of progressive partying. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Here then, for your edification and amusement, is my Fiesta checklist:
A) Comfortable Shoes: I do a lot of walking during Fiesta because, even if I choose only one event for the day, it’s probably going to be spread out over a very large area. While the dilettante may wear a pair of new cowboy boots or some fashionable shoes, the Fiesta Pro knows that the party neither starts nor stops in one place. Comfort is rule one.
B) Hat: The Fiesta Hat is more than just to keep the Texas sun out of your face, it shows that you are aware of the past that Fiesta commemorates and that you appreciate the legacy that Fiesta has become. Men and ladies wore hats until the early 1960’s. It wasn’t just fashionable; your hat was part of your status. Consider your Fiesta Hat a similar symbol. It’s going to reflect your experience, your affability, and your levity. Mine is a slouchy Mexican Sahuayo palm straw hat, not too fancy, and distinctive enough.
C) Beads: Fiesta beads are very much like Mardi Gras beads. They come in every kind imaginable. Perhaps Fiesta beads use different iconography, (the Chili Pepper, armadillos. the Texas Flag, Beer…) but in essence they serve the same purpose: to show ones likes, turn-ons, interests, and attitudes. This can play an important part in meeting people during Fiesta because it gives you something visual to go on while drunk. The experienced Fiesta vet knows that a few small, shiny, boring, Mardi Gras throw beads in your collection can add a little flair, and they also allow you to give a few away. Also, it is important to remember that one should only wear what one can carry. The beads I wear I have had to hunt down. I wear one with Texas Flags, one with Confederate Jacks, a Jolly Roger one, and a functional plastic shot glass on a string with a removable flashing lime wedge inside it. Flashing body parts and other such outrageous behavior to earn beads is neither necessary nor encouraged. Just ask a drunk for some of their beads, or better yet, start a collection of your own, there are vendors all over the streets, and buy the ones that strike you.
D) Medals: I know there must be an interesting story as to why some people wear medals during Fiesta. I know that, much like other Spring Time Carnivals, we elect a collection of mock royalty and parade them through the streets (and along the river) to the amusement and delight of the drunken masses. I know that this is different that other Spring Time festivals in other places because this one is also the celebration the (no other word for it) Fiesta that was had by all when Texas won our unlikely Independence from the tyrannical rule of the magnificent Mexican Generalissimo Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (Santa Ana). These days, the medals take on a much less martial meaning. Companies, corporations, and the City hand them out to employees and customers. Pretty much anyone can make a Fiesta Medal. It’s not so much what’s on the medal as how many you have, and how you wear them. In other words, go ahead and award one to yourself, it’s Fiesta!
E) Collapsible/Disposable ice chest: Above all, the one thing that makes a good Fiesta is drinking. During Fiesta drinking, being moderately drunk, carrying beer. It meana that, if you are so inclined, you can wear a 70 oz. Camelback hydration system on their backs full of Daiquiri, if you so choose. (True story.) It means you can sit on the bed of a Dodge pick up, right downtown, and have a drunken conversation with an on duty San Antonio police officer. It’s always good to carry your own beer because you can offer one to the officer and, chances are, he'll take it for after shift. Most places downtown allow you to take your own ice chest, a very few do not. Most places forbid glass containers, some prefer you do not drink out of a beer container, (can or plastic bottle). In some cases, though, plastic cups are available. (I once recieved a plastic glass from another on dudty SAPD officer, in front of the San Fernando Cathedral, because I had a can of cold beer in a Koozie...Again, true story.) There is no special Fiesta time drink. Beer is what most people drink, carry, share, spill, throw, drop, buy, and sell, during Fiesta, and most people like to take a few cans, at least, of their own cold beer with them. Oh, sure there is such a thing as a Fiesta Margarita but those are usually watered down, frozen concoctions, that are more sugar water than tequila, and are served in novelty glasses and they are roundly regarded as a rookie mistake. No, the Fiesta vet knows that beer is always the way to go. No, the Fiesta vet knows that beer is always the way to go. Some carry large pull behind icechest, usually parade going families who are lugging soft drinks, a picnic lunch, and of course beer. Others carry one-time use styrofoam things they pick up when they bought the case of beer and the bag of ice. I like to tote my beer around in a little collapsible Igloo container. It holds exactly what I need, has room for a snack, and when it’s empty, you just throw out the watery ice, and it'll fit into a backpack or, if you roll it up, into a large pocket or in a strap.
F) Toilet paper/hand sanitizer: As every drinker knows, we don’t so much buy our buzz as rent it. Try as one might to delay it, one must, sooner or later, answer natures call. The City of San Antonio provides an abundance of Port-O-Johns for this very reason. They very word, Port-O-John, though, is enough to strike terror into the heart of the Amateur Fiesta go-er. But take heart. The ladies police their own stalls for a modicum of cleanliness, and the men, well, we make do when we must and allow for bad aim as we don’t ever sit down in one. In every case, no matter the condition of the outhouse or the pressure on the bladder, these two items will always come in handy.
Now, I shall go kick off my Fiesta Week. I’m heading to a downtown Cantina to drink some beer and listen to some music. I will keep notes and take pictures this week, and try to check in when I can. It is important to remember that such things as work, school, or relationships might try to get in the way of a True Fiesta Experience. I try not to let them. One can always find another job, there’s always next semester, and if you’re significant other doesn’t Fiesta with you then they are against Fiesta altogether. Que Viva Fiesta!