Sunday, 4 January 2009

New Year celebrations in Miraflores

At the best of times I am not really New Year person – my parents always seemed to value the importance of being in contact at the ultimate moment of the year but maybe this is a gene I failed to inherit. Notwithstanding, I think it must be the first time I have been away from hearth and home at this time of year. In consequence I was somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of being alone. I needn't of worried as Peruvian hospitality made it a pleasurable transition to 2009, albeit 5 hours later than in UK.

Earlier in the day, after some logistical problems of connecting my PC to a power supply, I finally got it working and was able to have a skype face to face with my wife and daughter. Jennie had a Mac for Christmas and I am happy to comment that its integral camera and sound system works well and without all the gubbins of a camera and headphones. We had a nice chat and Jennie entertained us by pulling faces up close to the camera.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon uploading my blog in Starbucks. Later I ventured out of my hostal around 10.30, heading for the centre of Miraflores, Kennedy park and where I expected celebrations to be happening. To be honest it just seemed like an ordinary evening with lots of people fast fooding and a decidedly family atmosphere. I was struck that there seemed to be absolutely no drunkenness. Venturing down to the beach area the restaurants seemed to be full with people queuing and some discotheque/bars were beginning to fill.

I had a chat with some English people and found my way back to the park where I joined a small group of Peruvians – we chatted amiably about this and that and at the turn of the hour exchanged polite and warm greetings. There were a few fireworks but not spectacular - all was good natured and genial. Somebody shared their cava with me and after a while we parted and I headed back and to the hostal and replied to happy new year emails of which their were a few.

The next morning around 6 am I was awoken by more fireworks and after breakfast had a Spanish lesson with Melanie my teacher for 8 hours over the next 4 days. I was glad that I had had a fairly restrained new year's eve and Melanie's teaching style was friendly and condident.

In the afternoon I bought El Comercio, the Lima newspaper which interestingly reprised 2009 from a local perspective. Heading for the beautiful Parque de los Olivos. set in a classy and well policed zone of Miraflores a few people wished me happy new year. So I sat on a bench to read my paper.

Noticing a small group of young people some way off, I saw that they were taking some special interest in my arrival. After a while a pretty girl of about 15 walked towards me and announced that she would like to wish me a saludos (greeting) for the new year. I happily agreed and with this she surprised me by laughing while she gave me a kiss on the cheek. I asked her if it was a bet and she agreed it was but it was an innocent game and I cannot imagine the same thing happening in London. She rejoined her friends and after a while they left. It was a nice moment. Nothing much happened the rest of the day although it was very pleasant to stroll through the streets with so little traffic.

So here I sit at the end of the first day in 2009, listening to Nelly Furtado and Mano Chau and supping the last of my very agreeable Peruvian red wine, Taberno Gran Tinto, made from Malbec and Merlot varieties. The bottle says it has a brilliant red colour and an intense and agreeable perfume, both dry and smooth. It tastes good too!

Happy new year and if you read this feel free to leave a nice comment.


Jennie said...

Hi dad! Up early and it's snowed over night....Mum came and woke me to show me!!!! Hope you are ok. Love Jen xxxx

Magali Estela said...

Hola Alan,
How I envy the fact that you're in mi querido Peru. I don't know when I'll get the chance to head back to visit la familia, and of course introduce them to my new familia who they still haven't met... maybe some time in the near future if we save enough we too can enjoy a lovely stroll on the beach and visit the sites.
Have a safe journey, y Feliz A~o Nuevo!
Magali Estela

snoopdoug said...

Hey Alan. Beautifully written simply joyous piece. I love the kiss bet and the bottle of wine, great!