New Year’s Eve in Brazil

Back in my office, sitting at my desk but my mind and spirit are still on the Costa da Sul (South Coast) of Rio de Janeiro and the coolest beach, Macumba Beach (future articles).
Meanwhile, back in Sao Paulo the weather is overcast and still wet outside from the rain last night, all night, so this morning I’ve got my big double-wide windows open wide to let in the fresh air and the sounds of the giant city as it prepares for the big party tonight.

Only Carnival or a World Cup Football (soccer) victory is celebrated as much as New Year’s Eve, the cracking of the fireworks will just get more steady and intense as the day progresses. Already I’ve heard plenty of distant “popping” of fire-crackers but it’s only intermittently, however it’s only 10:30am. On a past occasion Paula and I celebrated from the great height of a high-rise apartment perched on the top of a hill in a district of Sao Paulo called Morumbi.
We marveled at the view from way up high, upon millions of dwellings from which emanated the seemingly endless ignition of small explosives, outside the homes of the poorest of the poor, living in the huge slums we could see stretching in the distance, and even from the filthy rich who own 2 story Penthouse apartments (2 entire floors) and clearly visible just beneath our perspective, setting off a few hundred dollars of Roman Candles and other assorted fireworks. Just to entertain the guest on a private rooftop.
This New Year’s Evening will be spent with family at our Villa. We all wear our favorite white clothing, as is the Brazilian custom. We get together rather late, sip on some wine and wait till the count-down to mid-night before congratulating each other with big hugs and kisses, then we serve the feast. Tonight we’ll eat the best food, collected or prepared just for the occasion. A huge assortment of cheeses, surrounded by big ripe grapes, eaten with fresh bread and enjoyed with Argentine and Chilean wine. Then, the quiches and tortes will be presented and platters of roasted meats, finely cut, plus several side dishes made with fresh vegetables to accompany a variety of salads. Usually the fruits are served with the desserts and include peaches and pears that have have been sitting in Cognac, honey and cinnamon, just for the occasion.
Having celebrated one New Year’s Eve, ten years ago, in Rio De Janeiro I can honestly say it’s bettor to be back home, in a nice safe and relatively quiet place. Perhaps I’ve gotten too old and boring? or maybe just enjoyed too many wild New Year’s Eve Party’s over the years.
Top 5 List:
– Waikiki, Honolulu
– Whistler, British Columbia
– Sydney Harbor, Australia
– Key West, Florida
– Rio de Janeiro
It’s the day after that I fear, and although a scorching hot day on the beach is probably the best remedy for a hang-over, but if you have to leave or travel on that day to return to work the following, it’s just too aggravating being stuck in the thick, rowdy crowds.
Where ever you are, and where ever you go in 2007, may the sun and sea rise up to greet you.
Happy New Year!

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