American Holidays, Taking over Foreign Countries

Thursday July 4, 2013

Mario's Marina, Rio Dulce

So I know it’s kind of common for countries to steal another country’s holiday, it happens all over and we’re definitely guilty of it in the States.  St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo.  They have nothing to do with us, yet we like to party for them like they were our own.  But I do have to say, I was slightly surprised when on the net, we kept hearing promotions for a 4th of July party at one of the marinas.  Yes, I get the fact that of the 15 or so marinas in the area, few to none are going to be housing boats of native Guatemalans.  What did surprise me, is that we haven’t found a lot of Americans in this area either.  I know that Americans bring their boats here, but they’re usually the first one to jump ship (no pun intended) and get back home to the States for the summer, or do any other kind of land travel.  In fact, of the 40 boats currently in our marina, only 5 have people staying with them.  Everyone else is gone.  Then, inside our little buddy group we’ve formed, we’re the only Americans.  So then why would a marina cater an American holiday to all the Canadians, Europeans, and others in the area?  Because We’re #1!  No, I’m kidding.  It’s probably just an excuse to get everyone together and drink.  If we’ve learned one thing about the cruising crowd, it’s that they love their drinking.

Calling in a last minute reservation for the five of us just the other morning, and snagging the last available seats I’m pretty sure, we made plans to have Luis shuttle us over in his lancha around 4 in the afternoon.  We’d heard that last year they’d run out of food for late arrivals, and we were not about to let that happen to us.  We did end up being some of the first to arrive, and picked a table in the back, I think the only one that had some kind of breeze forming over it.  Some cold drinks were purchased from the bar, and Luis and Elmarie were served margaritas that were just as big as our daiquiris in Honduras, but opposite of those, were full of liquor and little of much else.  Still being new to the area, we didn’t see too many familiar faces, but did have a nice chat with some other Americans from our marina (ok, so I guess there are a few), from Jasdip and Unplugged, the same people that joined us at Denny’s Beach.  Dinner was served shortly after, and although Matt and I were a little wary of having any local fare again, it didn’t take us long to dig into the fire roasted pig.  The potato salad however, was pushed to the side this time.

crowds at Mario's Marina

This place filled up fast, I’m glad we got seats.

margarita at Mario's

I’m pretty sure this thing could have knocked two grown men on their asses.

view from Mario's Marina

I don’t think I could ever get sick of these views.



It wouldn’t be a party without games, and while the dinner plates were still being cleared from our tables, they were ready to get into full swing.  It started out pretty innocent, and for the first few minutes, I didn’t even know what was going on.  A woman got on the microphone and asked who in the crowd liked rum or tequila.  That’s a silly question, of course I like rum and tequila.  My hand went right in the air.  At that point I was asked to come up front, along with about seven other men that had also risen their hands.  Wait, that question was leading to something?  I thought it was just a survey among cruisers.  I expected everyone’s hand to be up.  Tentatively I walked up with the other men and found that the question was going to lead to a spirited game of musical chairs.  Yes, that game which is normally reserved for small children and birthday parties.  Then the alcohol question began to make more sense.  ‘Oh’, I thought to myself, ‘When you end up without a chair, they must make you take a shot for losing, and send you back on your way.  Thank god you only have to do that once.’

The music began and we all kind of nervously giggled as we paraded around the chairs, feeling a little silly playing games online to make money that were meant for people 20 years our junior.  Or 50 in the case of most of my rivals.  But, as soon as that music stopped, it turned into a real competition.  We all sprinted and dove for any empty seat, and while I had tunnel vision and could not account for exactly what the others were doing, all I know is I landed in and empty chair.  ‘Ha!’, I thought.  ‘Too bad for that poor sucker that lost and is going to have to take a shot.’  I was still smirking when a shot glass was placed in my hand and I was asked “Rum or tequila?”.  Thoroughly shocked, I sputtered, “But I didn’t lose?!”.  “Oh no”, the woman laughed, “You take a shot each time you advance to the next round”.  It seemed like a cruel punishment for achieving, but I mumbled, “Either is fine”, and forced myself to choke down the straight liquor through three attempts.

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to ‘advance’ any further, but my competitive side got the better of me and I was determined to go to the end if I could.  The music began to play again, and all of us who remained started to relax a little, hopping, skipping, and making our jolly way around the chairs.  Twice more I dove into an empty seat when the music ended, and twice more I choked down shots of straight rum.  Which must have been going straight to my head, because on the fourth round my brain was distantly away as silence rang out and I was left without a chair.  I wouldn’t say I was quite upset about it.

drinking a tequila shot

This is the face of winning.

musical chairs

‘Round and ’round we go, where we stop, nobody knows..

losing at musical chairs

What?  I lost?  That’s it, I’m taking my beer and I’m going home.


I didn’t go far though.  I wanted to see how this turned out, so grabbing my camera from Matt, I stood front and center to catch the rest of the action.  Maybe the guys had just been playing nice when I was around, or now that there was one more chair out, they realized how serious this competition was getting.  The next time the music started to play, the remaining guys got a little….nonsensical.  Desperate to keep ‘their’ chair, they would do everything from keep one foot on it, to pick it up and continue in the circle with it, or in one guys case, start running around with it up in the air.  The women helping to run this game were not very happy, but it was all they could do to keep themselves from laughing as they tried to tell these gentleman with a serious face that they needed to play by the rules.  Two rounds and one remaining chair later, I started to worry, wondering what kind of antics might come out for the win, but it was the same as you’d get in any elementary school classroom.  Slowly shuffle your feet when you’re in front of the chair, and then race around the back to get front and center again.  When the music finally stopped, there was a little tug of war with the chair, but one guy was able to firmly plant his ass in it as the other tried to tip him over or drag him off.  Ahhh, kids.

nearing end of musical chairs

“This one’s mine!  I call dibs!”

dive for last chair

Silly boys.


There were a couple more games to follow, but none of them involved alcohol.  I sure know how to pick ’em, huh?  We stayed long enough for me to get dragged out on the floor one more time, a big dance circle for all the women attending while we sang along to ‘We are Family’ by Sister Sledge, and enjoyed another fireworks display.  Thousands of miles from home and anything resembling the good ‘ol US of A, I have to say, I’m glad they decided to steal borrow this holiday from us.   We may not have sat around listening to the national anthem or thinking of the day’s original meaning,  but bringing all of us cruisers together for one great night, I think it served it’s purpose.

One nation, of cruisers, indivisible                                                                                    With fair winds and rum drinks for all

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