Posts Tagged With: fireworks

New Years in New Orleans

Preservation Hall looked like an abandoned, derelict building from the outside: no windows, clapboard siding, rusted wrought-iron door. We were attending the New Year’s Eve party at this storied New Orleans Jazz Club. In the heart of the French Quarter,  Preservation Hall has been entertaining whiskey swilling patrons since 1961. We were looking for a New Orleans-style New Year’s and this seemed perfect.


















Once through the door, there is a long hallway with old wooden theater seats on one side, on the opposite side, an open doorway. We walked through it, into a dimly lit room with a few old posters hung crooked on the stained wooden-panel walls. There were a few tables up-front and a small drum kit and piano in the corner. So this is where the band plays? It looked more suited for homeless squatters.


So Glamorous.

The hallway spilled out into a traditional creole open-air courtyard, with huge palm trees and tropical foliage. Best of all, the open bar was located at the end of this garden oasis. However worst of all, there was a cold snap in New Orleans this week, the coldest in twenty years; lower thirties and raining. We had packed shorts and t-shirts; turns out it’s actually ten degrees warmer in Seattle; we got screwed.

The music started and we crowded into the small room, not twenty feet away from the band. It was an interesting crew on stage with two tubas, drum-set, piano, trombone and musicians joining in with all forms of instruments and rhythm. As you can imagine, they kicked ass. Everyone was moving, jiving, dancing; including the band. The tuba players were in constant motion, swinging their instruments around without missing a beat; blasting out bass notes you could hear in your chest. With a sazarac in hand and cigarette smoke in the air; we were definitely in New Orleans. It has a timeless feel; this exact scene has been played out in this dilapidated room for decades.



We ran outside to Jackson Square, just in time to see the fireworks explode over the Mississippi at the stoke of midnight.  Celebrating with the friendly citizens of New Orleans, the damp weather was not dampening anyone’s mood.  Afterwards, we headed back in to see the band’s final set, before a short walk to our hotel, dodging the inebriated revelers celebrating the arrival of 2014.



Categories: New Orleans, LA - January 2014 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Toro de Fuego

It was ten o’clock at night and Pamplona was in full swing. We were off to Plaza de Santiago to see the Toro de Fuego; The flaming bull. We ended up in a tiny plaza filled with mostly families: small children, strollers. The flaming bull was being prepared at one end, Basically a man underneath a four-foot fake bull that rested on his shoulders leaving only his legs exposed. Atop of the bull’s back was an array of short firework tubes; pinwheels  and rockets.










































We were on the benches as the man stood up and the bull on his shoulders rose above the crowd. The Toro exploded and he started to run through the plaza shooting sparks high into the air. I covered my eyes as he passed, sparks raining down stinging my skin. We joined a group of children and dad’s with toddlers on their shoulders and chased after Toro de Fuego.  Suddenly, there was a loud explosion and flash from the bull’s back as he spun around and started running down the extremely narrow street towards us. The children squealed and scattered, as did we. The pinwheel on his back lit and started to spin rapidly, firing sparks in every direction followed by another loud explosion lighting the length of the street. We looked at each other in disbelief, shaking our heads; did that really just happen. This town is nuts.


Pamplona casualty #2

Good thing this dude switched to water (water bottle enclosed in his left hand ). Too bad he passed out before he could open it!

Categories: Europe, Spain - July 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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