Mexican Firework Castles (Castillos)
Have you ever seen a five-story, hand-assembled pyrotechnic castle exploding just a few meters in front of you? If not, you’ve probably never been to Mexico. But if you have, you might be asking, “Why don’t I recall seeing something like that at Señor Frog’s?”
Well, first off: get out of the resort towns. Those are good for nothing except sitting on the beach and buying overpriced marijuana (or coke, rock, tequila, or pornography, but always in this order) from the taxi drivers who wait for passing tourists on street corners along the boardwalk. (A few years ago, during my second, and last, time in Puerto Vallarta, I got 18 offers in 36 hours.)
Next, try getting to one of Mexico’s pueblos, where the traditions still run deep. Then you’ve got to stay up late, maybe 10:30 p.m. minimum, before a crowd gathers in the plaza for part of what’s called the fiestas patronales, or the celebrations for a town’s patron saint or virgin.
After which, stand back, ’cause when this 50-foot high (or taller) castillo gets lit up, the thing starts shrieking with a high-pitched whistle and the parts start rotating, sending sparks and smoke and shrapnel onto the crowd below.