A Happy New Year to you! I hope whatever you did and wherever you did it, you had a joyful time.
We ushered in the New Year in style. We spent it at Anne's house with our wonderful Games group, with whom we meet monthly to play charades, boggle, 500, tabu, categories &&&. Last night, after banqueting, to mark the occasion and to help keep us awake until midnight, we re-watched the hilarious Keating
. And at the witching hour we waved sparklers and toasted each other with French champagne afloat with sugared hibiscus flowers, exactly like tiny red octopi. We certainly weren't alone in letting it rip, as I discovered on my regular early morning walk.
|The 'morning after' in the Edinburgh Gardens|
Under the stately historic elms and ringing the rotunda of the beautiful Edinburgh Gardens, as far as the eye could see the grass was strewn with bottles, cans and plastic of every description. Being a fortunate country with a rich infrastructure, there was already a team of council workers busily cleaning up the mess - hopefully earning triple time on this public holiday. But is was still shocking to see.
|John cleaning up after others|
John seemed resigned as he collected the trash and loaded it into his council truck. His main gripe is with the revellers who obviously wake up early dismayed to realise they have lost their phone or watch. They rush back, tousled-haired and bleary-eyed, to look for them, kicking rubbish around as they do so and making the job harder for council workers.
I can't understand why in this iconic public celebration venue, on predictable nights like a balmy N Y's Eve, the council doesn't simply pepper the park with skips. Locals are generally compliant people and I'm sure it would improve the situation. Or that's what I'm going to say to council officers when I ring with my suggestion tomorrow. But this is all a far cry from the new era celebration conducted in South America a couple of weeks ago.
21 December, as many people know and lots had feared, was the end of the Mayan long-count calendar. Instead of heeding predictions of an apocalypse, Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indigenous President and an activist, saw this moment as the start of a new era. 'It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and the beginning of truth.' In the Bolivian government's view, the time has arrived for community and collectivity to finally replace capitalism and individuality.
Symbolically ushering in this new age of harmony between humankind and mother earth, Morales sailed across glorious Lake Titicaca in a totora reed boat, a replica of those plied for millennia in Titicaca's waters.
I just hope Morales is right. That 2013 is the start of a new era, as he puts it, vivir bien, to live well.
And I also hope we left Anne's house looking more like serene Lake Titicaca than today's Edinburgh Gardens.