BootsnAll Travel Network

Phat Tuesday Revisted

So here are finally those pics from the Fat Tuesday Carnival celebration here in Xela, I think back at the end of February.  It is a pretty big deal here; Mitzi, Kathy and I checked it out in the early afternoon while it was still tame and peaceful.  When we returned, we had no idea what we were in store for…



The carnival features games, food and snack vendors, craftspeople, and rides–most of the rides are people-powered, like this merry-go-round that the ride operators push without any electricity.



Even this little ferris wheel is pushed by hand to make the ride go!!!


The event took place during the week, but the big night was Tuesday.  Covering an large area near the cemetery, there is one primary walking path where both sides are filled with vendors and stalls selling handmade crafts, candies, woven goods, dried fish, fried foods and more.  Another area contains the games (skill games, games of chance, foosball, videogames), while one end features those hand-cranked rides for the kids, and at the other end are the big rides for adults powered with electricity.

So on that Tuesday night, at 8pm it was Mitzi, Yuh Wen, Jennifer, Markus, Pablito and myself.  Joker and Martin found us a bit later and joined in the “fun.”  The big thing to do is to throw confetti at and on complete strangers within the Carnival.  Simple enough, you can purchase little plastic bags filled with shredded paper.  Or you can go a step further, and buy decorated egg shells that are filled with the paper.  In this scenario, you take the egg, sneak up behind someone, and SMASH it over their head!  We were game. 



Just confetti….



Yuh Wen contemplates buying more little egg shells to arm herself against the invading teens.


Harmless fun, right?  And it started that way.  Little kids would try to get us.  Pablito stands over 6 foot 5, so he was an ideal target.  We stuck together as a group, watching our backs because before we knew it, our whole group was targeted.  Easy reason too, we were the gringos. 

We made it past the food area, mostly intact.  But once we got to the main path of the vendors, things changed.  The egg shells of confetti changed.  Now, all of a sudden we had little kids and rambunctious teenagers throwing flour at us.  And then it was these same kids with dabs of silver paint on their hands, smothering our faces with the color.  This we were not aware of and didn’t sign up for, but yet here we were under attack!



Yuh Wen, Jennifer and Pablito have a moment to breathe.




Yuh Wen demonstrates how you are supposed to smash eggshell confetti on people’s heads, while I show off the little egg grenades.



The attacks increase, and Mitzi and Yuh Wen wisen up and flip their sweater hoods over their heads.


Our group was able to walk to the other end where the adult rides were.  Pablito and Jenny decided to ride the big ferris wheel, and Yuh Wen and I followed with some hesitation.  The ride was freakin’ scary!  Oh man, was it ever!!!  As you did the revolutions, you can hear this squeeking sound and you can see smoke coming from the mechanical generator or whatever engine is powering the ride.  And instead of a nice, relaxing ride, it is more like a thrill ride to see how fast it can go.  Was this thing going to break?  That’s not duct tape I see?  And what is up with the frayed cable wiring that secures our seat?  How strong, really, is the little pin that keeps the door closed shut?  We begin to slow down.  Thank goodness!  But wait….we are now moving slowly the opposite direction.  We go backwards!  And as fast as it can go.  I so hope this rickety ride holds up until we can get off of it!!!



Finally, we get off the ride.  Back on the ground.  Scary, but we made it.  We hear screams behind us.  And find the swinging boat ride in full swing.  We watch as the ride ends, and our eyes follow one girl that looks ghostly sick and is holding her hand to her mouth, obviously about to puke.  This was a ride that we had to go on!

Pablito and Jenny buy their ticket.  Martin is game too, with his broken foot in a soft cast and all.  I buy my ticket.  Yuh Wen and Mitzi decide to join the fun too.  Martin and I get the upper seat, and a little girl joins us.  Once the ride is loaded, we begin our swings.  Exhilirating!  Because it is sooo scary once again!  The ride operator has decided that the swing should go all the way around, even though it is not designed to do that!  So away we swing, harder, faster….the little girl next to me is screaming, “Por Favor, por favor”, I look over and her eyes are shut.  And her tiny legs are tightly wrapped around mine, as she clings for her life.  Once again I think to myself…is this ride going to break?  how much higher can this guy take it?  The ride lasts for many minutes, surely longer than what you would find at the Portland Rose Festival Fun Center.  I’m having a good time, partly out of fear, and partly because of the thrill of it all.  Mercifully it ends.  And we are all once again safely on the ground.



After the ride, with new victims on the swinging boat…


We decide to walk back through the vendor zone, and we come under attack once again.  This time there are less people wandering around, so we can tell who is and who isn’t scheming against us.  We make it to the food area, where Jenny and Mitzi get pizza, and I am craving my churros…



Churros are basically a big, fat, long doughy fried donut, sprinkled with sugar and served in a little bag.



If only I had some hot chocolate to dip this in!!


While we are stationary and eating, however, we see a big group of 12-15 teens nearby.  They are obviously all waiting for us.  With their eggs, their paint, their flour.  Suddenly, they run towards us.  A big wave of them, surrounding us and pelting us.  Half of our group runs the other way, including poor Martin in his soft foot cast.  I am on the receiving end as well, but not as bad as some of the others…could it be that maybe, just maybe I look a little Central American with my black hair and dark skin?

More chasing ensues, and things get a little out of hand.  Jenny is fighting mad, as she says that some guy stuck his tongue in her ear.  Yuh Wen, unfortunately, gets a real egg cracked over her head, and the egg whites and yolk run down her hair and face.  Things are now more physical, and these kids are bigger, faster, and more menacing because of the gang mentality…there are just too many of them, all in groups, all lying in wait, all targeting us.

Time to go.  We hightail it out of the Carnival area, and assess our damage…



Group shot, we survived!



Pablito takes off his jacket and shakes off the flour as the dust coats the air…


Moral of the story….when in Central America, if you find yourself at Carnival during Fat Tuesday, AND you are with a bunch of gringos….dress appropriately and know that you WILL need to take a shower later on.


One response to “Phat Tuesday Revisted”

  1. Mike Jones says:


    Dang, the South American Cocaine Parties are just how I thought they would be!

    You guys are are so coked up, it looks like you have been swiming in the native product!

    Now thats a party!

    Fat Tuesday back home will never be the same for you after this.

  2. Mike Jones says:

    Now tell me that these guys dont Love the “STUFF”


  3. Mike Jones says:


    This guy better enroll into a “program” when he gets back home.

    His storys will be enough to get all the rehab patients to burn the wagon and move to this forbidden Coca Heaven.

  4. Mike Jones says:

    This pic is disturbing.

    Way too coked up, and having the munchies.

    Damn dude, you are losing weight, have bugged out eyes, and need an intervention to your sickness. You better not be planting your seed in the local women down there thinking you are the Latin Shawn Kemp.

    Wake up dude!! Go to a church and wash your sins.

    Ill call Dan’s people. They will help you.

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