May 10, 2017

What a wild, wonderful,  and wacky weekend we had.

Friday the 5th of May (duh) was Cinco de Mayo.

You do know that there is a reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo other than eating Mexican food and drinking, right?  In 1861 Mexico declared a temporary stop on the repayment of foreign debts, so English, Spanish, and French troops invaded the country. By April 1862 the English and Spanish had withdrawn, but the French remained in an attempt to establish a monarchy, and to restrain U.S. power in in North America. On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped  army under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops at the Battle of Puebla.

Although the fighting continued and the French were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. The city, which was later renamed Puebla de Zaragoza, still celebrates, but not so much in most of the rest of the country. In the mid-20th-century, the U.S.  celebration of Cinco de Mayo became a way for Mexican immigrants to encourage pride in their  heritage.  For the rest of us, it’s  a bacchanal.

So, we gotta’ celebrate, right? Here in AC, there are lots of venues to choose from.  But we decided on Veracruz a new Mexican restaurant that opened at Harrah’s Casino about two months ago. We chose it because of the enticing advertising.  Not one, but two, Happy Hours – Patron Girls giving away gifts – and Margaritas made from scratch. Feast your eyes on this – maybe one of the most delicious Margaritas I’ve ever had – ever!

And Guacamole with Blue Crab Chunks – can you hear the angels singing ???  We met lots of fun people, and had a really good time. If you’re in AC- get going.  There were 5 other bars on my list to visit, but after a few drinks at Veracruz, home was the only place that really sounded good.

Saturday was the Kentucky Derby.  But before we settled in to watch the race, we saw the opera, Samson and Delilah, by Camille Saint-Saens, Op. 47,  a grand opera in three acts and four scenes  to a French libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire.


Here is one of the actors who played, and of course sang, as Abimelch, satrap of Gaza.   By the way, a satrap  is a local ruler.

By now you should know it wasn’t just an opera in a theater.  Oh no, this opera was held in a beautiful private home in the Venice Park section of Atlantic City.

We were told to bring our own seats, as it was always very crowded.  Guess what?  There were only four of us in the audience, and they performed anyway.  How delightful is that?  They even had champagne and snacks – all gratis.  And by the way, admission is also free, with a free -will-donation.

If you are interested, they will be performing Otello on Saturday, June 17, and Rigoletto on August 5th.  Both will be held at 8pm, at the Community Presbyterian Church in Brigantine, NJ.

After the opera, we made a beeline for the Hi-Point Pub.  Although many venues were showing the derby, we were cutting it pretty close, and didn’t want to miss anything.  We took a seat at the bar.  The didn’t have the makings for a Mint Julep, so we settled Maker’s Mark on the rocks.

We bet on Patch, a blind- in- one- eye horse, Tapwrit– because Tim heard he was good in the mud, an Fast and Accurate, because I love grey horses.  Look at this horse – a thing of beauty.

If you watched the race, you know we were big losers.  Always Dreaming was the winner.  Did I mention that we used to own a horse?  Yep, her name was Nightmare.  We kept her in an open lot next to our home when we lived in St. Thomas.  When we moved back to the states, we had to sell her, but it was fun while it lasted.  I think that’s why we try to stay on top of the derby – that and the mint juleps – it’s all about tradition !

Look at this magnificent creature…Always Dreaming.

After the race, we headed home to just sit and relax.  It was a very busy weekend, and we loved every minute of it.

By the way, we’ve started a list of necessities for our next road trip.  I can’t tell you the exact date – but stay tuned for the ride – it won’t be long.

One thought on “SQUEEZE IT ALL IN

  1. Patty

    Ah, the life of Reilly continues! I taught the background of Cinco de Mayo for years. A part you didn’t mention is that while the US was busy with the Civil War France saw it as the perfect time to invade. Yeah, the “locals” kicked ass, especially the women with their pots of boiling water. But in truth, the French came back in greater number and conquered Mexico. Then when our Civil War ended, we gave them leftover arms and military support. That was the last attempt by a foreign power to try to take over Mexico. Too bad Trump. YOU are the bad hombre!


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