Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Ear!

My favorite New Year's celebration was in Punta del Este.

It was 1989, going to 1990. We had been in Punta del Este for nearly a month, staying at a hotel affectionately called 'The Waffle Tower' because every day, at tea time, it served home-made waffles. The waffles were incredible. They were made with old-fasioned, cast-iron waffle irons heated over a huge fire. The tables were all set with white linen and silverware, and the dining room looked out over a garden full of lavender and roses. During the day, we went to the beach, or to a huge park in the middle of a eucalyptus forest. The park was filled with fanciful, fantastic wooden figures, cars, boats and trains all painted in bright colors, all for children to climb upon and play with. There was also a double-humped bridge, that we called 'the up-and-down bridge'. Everyone loved to go over it as fast as possible, so there was always a long line of cars in front of the bridge waiting their turn to zoom over it. The ocean in Punta del Este is dark, ultramarine blue, and the sand is naples yellow. Huge, black sea lions swim in the waves, and inland, past the dunes, the pine forest, and the eucalyptus groves, are huge plains where shaggy, long-legged emus run. We were there for a polo tournament. Every evening we would watch the games as the sun went down, and the dust rose and made everything gold and shadows.

That New Year's eve, we went to a pizzaria with the twins, who were 3 years old, and with two young polo players from France. We had a great time, and when midnight came, everyone stood up and cried 'Happy New Year!' The twins looked at me, and Sebi said, "Who got the new ear?"

They thought we'd been celebrating someone's new ear.

What was your favorite New Year's eve?


Madeline Hill said...

What a lovely memory-- I wonder.. in Europe, people are used to taking extended periods of time off, aren't they.. ( a month!) not like us crazy Type A americans..I like that.

My favorite new year was a long time ago,maybe 1979!! when we were still back east in the U.S. and all my friends and me, too, had small going OUT was not an option. (We had no money either, for babysitters or fancy partying!)

My friend Diana made homemade bread,Leslie made the salad, I made lasagna, we had a feast, and all the little children and babies were scattered about-- underfoot, hither and yon-- we sang, danced till midnight, everyone fell asleep on the floor , on the couches, and in whatever beds they could find, and we arose in the morning to strong coffee, kids, dogs, cats..leftover lasagna!

Wow--those simple times were the BEST!

Cheyenne McCray said...

What a wonderful New Year's memory! Gosh, we are such homebodies when it comes to New Years. The one that most stands out in my mind was when my dh and I were dating. I won't go into detail. *WEG*

Wynn Bexton said...

I've had some wonderful New Years eves but also some 'lonely' ones where I've just chosen to stay home on my own and wait to see what happened. (Usually a few surprises!) One of my most memorable ones though, was the first time ever I was away from kith and kin and living in Athens. My room-mate and I, Connie an African-American girl, decided to go to the posh Intercontinental Hotel for the evening. First though, we were going for pizza at a local pizzaria. Well, first I almost walked through the glass door and got a standing ovation from the gang of merry Quantas Airlines crew where were celebrating there. They then invited us to join them and what ensued was an evening of high entertainment and rowdy fun (Aussie style). It was also the night I met a very hunky crew member who happened to be on regular runs into Athens, so for the next few months I spent a lot of time at the Intercontinental, courtesy of Quantas. Hummm...wouldn't it be nice to return to those days????? Well, there's always the delicious memories.

Sam said...

Here in France, the New Year is an important party date - and it's the day when all family memebers call each other (far-flung cousins and such) to wish each other a happy new year and catch up on news. So there are often big parties organized (which I hate, lol)
In Europe there is a lot more vacation time for workers - so people do take lots of vacations. We were in Punta del Este for my husband's work - he was playing polo then and buying horses, so it wasn't vacation for him, but I feel like my life has been one big vacation with him!

Ann Jacobs said...

Your favorite New Year's Eve sounds *so* exciting. My favorite? Hard to say. My husband and I are pretty much homebodies, but there's this tradition of ringing in the New Year with champagne and... well, just guess!