Welcome to Raicilla Dreams, please make yourself comfy....you will find many photos, anecdotes and tales of Yelapa told by amigos that lived there before electricity and before it was totally discovered by the tourist world. I welcome your own memories and photos.

Start at the very bottom with archives and work your way up if you want to follow the order I posted. Otherwise, just feel free to skip around and read what suits your fancy...faye

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stories From the Baile

In the 70's in Yelapa there was virtually zero "night life", in fact, I think most people were asleep by about 9 or 10pm at the latest on a regular basis.  Occasionally there was a "dance" at the local "meeting hall" on Sunday evenings.  I think it was mostly for the kids and it definitely was primarily the Yelapa locals, but it being an "unusual" event, most of the ex-pats would show up and were welcomed.  There was an old style "box" record player like you had when you were a kid, and there was a generator running somewhere out back because there was electricity, lights and music, etc.
The local kids would ask a girl to dance and it was all very Jr. High School in tone, but the kids seemed to be having fun.  The kids would be dancing and then something always happened that took me a while to figure out what was going on.... the grandmother (usually) of the girl that was dancing would walk up to the boy and tap him on the shoulder and the boy would stop dancing and the girl would look mildly uncomfortable... the boy would dig in his pockets and hand the grandmother something and she would go away and the kids would start dancing again.  This happened on every dance and with every local couple and I was not sure of what was going on, but I would watch this take place with fascination until I couldn't stand it any longer.
I got up from where I was sitting and asked one of the local men I knew ( I don't remember whom), what was going on.  He explained to me that the grandmother was getting a peso or three from the boy for the privilege of dancing with the girl.  They called it a tostone or as I later learned, that is the slang word for tip in Spanish.  How about that... Taxi Dancers in Yelapa!  These dances took place according to what schedule I never did figure out, but everyone in the village always seemed to know when one was going occur. The majority of the town would be there with lots of Raicilla and beer to be had for all!
Leaving this event and walking home on Shit Trail at night was always an exciting time as well.  You never knew what you were going to run into along the trail from the giant pig we called Big Ugly to local men lying in the dirt very, very drunk.  It was on this night that one of the strangest things I have ever seen came into my view.  There was a place on the trail after you left town where there was a big rock that was on the side of the trail and leaning up against this rock was a very drunk Yelapan with a small burro backed up against him... both of them were making a lot of noise and it took me a minute to focus and realize what I thought was going on was really going on!  Incredible!  It totally gave me a new appreciation for the relationship between the locals and their burros. Obviously it impressed me as I still remember it very vividly 35 or so years later!...Tony Collins

Monday, June 3, 2013

And the Winner Is....

...a short Raicilla story for you:
My business partner Graham G. from Toronto and I had been hanging out at Casa de Alacron for quite a while and we had gotten into a rut.  We would go to Juan Cruz's store almost daily and buy a jar of Aladin Crema de Cacahuate and one of the homemade Pan Mangere (SP?) loafs and get a couple of bottles of Eliadoro's Raicilla... in those days you had to bring your own bottles to get them filled from his gas cans that he had carried down the mountain from Chacala; you didn't want to lose your bottles!  This would be our dinner, we had gotten too lazy to cook, too lazy to fish, and otherwise too lazy to leave our hammocks for very long. We wouldn't even both go to the store and it was usually me because my Spanish was better.

So after eating our peanut butter and bread we would proceed to drink our bottles of Raicilla, as these were liter bottles, this would take around 3 to 4 hours to finish the bottle and you needed the peanut butter and the bread to help absorb the liquor. As the bottle was finished, it became a ritual that we would rub the bottles vigorously until they were hot and then torch the top of the bottle off with a lighter. If the Raicilla was good that week (it was often better or worse from week to week and I am pretty sure that Eliadoro would "cut" it for both profit and safety's sake.)...you would get a flame like a blow torch jumping out of the top of the bottle and a WHOOMP noise that was just great. 
The point of this exercise was of course, to determine whom would get the biggest flame and WHOOMP. In order to even qualify for the competition, your flame had to jump at least 6 inches out of the bottle or you were disqualified.  A winning flame would be 10 inches or better...There would be much debate as to whom was able to get the most spectacular flame and WHOOMP and thus, we had to bring in 3rd party judges to declare the winner. As there were generally from 4 to 8 people staying with us at the house, there were no shortages of judges, until the judges would try to become contestants. That did not happen often... you had to be able to finish your bottle in one evening, a feat, that not just anybody could do.

I was generally but not always the winner of this endurance contest and I guess that makes me THE BIGGEST LOSER! to use the parlance of the day. Thankfully my liver still functions and we only did this for a couple of months straight before we decided that we were overindulging in the Raicilla just a bit......Tony Collins